- Local government isn’t solely about administration or solely about policy. Both are important and necessary, but what’s more important is understanding each person’s role within an organization and community. If you’re not into policy, that’s totally fine. There’s still a place for you within a local government, if you choose. Alternatively, if you’re all about policy and worried about maintaining the “non-partisan, unbiased” mindset, that’s also fine as long as you’re aware of what you want to achieve.
- Speaking of organizations, organizational culture is critical to the success of an organization. This doesn’t apply simply to leaders or managers, but to each employee, regardless of your place on the totem pole. If you have issues or concerns, it’s not very healthy to mumble about them or to let them fester. Take time to address them so the annoyance doesn’t build up (and explode).
- Be flexible in your work plans. This one is tough for someone that craves structure (…like me), but sometimes having too much structure in what we want to achieve prevents us from adjusting to changes when we need to do so.
- Take time to gain input…from everyone. When I first began working on the fellowship project, my initial thought was to reach out to MPA students. I ended up taking time to speak with county managers and county commissioners as well, and gained quite a bit from their ideas and thoughts. It’s also important to give people a platform to speak. Sometimes my assumption is that people will hear about something and provide unsolicited input. That’s seldom true. We should make sure we’re proactively asking people for their advice and input.
- Ask questions! Not a lot of commentary needed…just do it. Or ask why you shouldn’t 😉
- People are very open to providing advice, support, and resources to students. It’s on us to make sure we take advantage of it. Sometimes, I just assume that people will be busy and unable to help. However, I have been pleasantly surprised by how willing people really are to helping students and young professionals. It’s not that they will necessary give us a job on the spot, but these networks and references are critical to not only our immediate job search, but also our broader professional careers.
I’ve been working on my OCD nature this summer, and as such, I will stop my list at six rather than pushing it to 10 (baby steps!).
Anyways, like I said, this has been a fantastic experience and I’m very appreciative to NCACC for allowing me to partake (and to the MPA program for accepting my lengthy, and often unedited, blog posts). My hope is that the work I did at NCACC makes a lasting mark on MPA students in the years to come. At the very least, I hope that some eyes and ears have been opened to the potential we have pursuing young talent. And yes, I do also hope that someone decides that I’m young talent worth pursuing, as well. 😉
Have a wonderful remainder of the summer!