As one of the privileges of being an Oregon Fellow, we are invited to a City of Portland Job Shadow Day. This is a day that starts with an awesome tour of City Council and then you are teamed up with two City of Portland employees to network and basically pick their brains on how to get a job in city government. Because the Office of Management and Finance organizes the event, most of the job shadow mentors are from that office–an office that apparently is a common landing place for new MPA graduates. Not too surprisingly and certainly foreshadowed by my unique StrengthsFinder results within this group, it was clear that the organizers struggled to figure out who to pair me up with.
That said, my first meeting with a woman in the city’s human resources department was quite lovely. Although she has a Master’s in HR and no academic background or trainings in conflict resolution or mediation, she totally got what I was all about and the type of work I aspire to do. I don’t think I want to go into human resources, but if push came to shove, I could see it being a good option–and one I’d probably be decently good at. Most interesting was her encouragement of me to research emotional intelligence–definitely adding it to my list.
Finally, we ended the day with Fred Miller, the Chief Administrator Officer for the City of Portland. A very impressive man with a huge resume across all sectors. He brings to the public sector a desire for the city “to be the employer of choice.” I look forward to the day when government employment is the career of choice not because of a pension plan, but because of a desire to do public service and a belief that it can effectively and efficiently done.