Author Archive: amitmagdieli

Top 5 Websites to Look for A Government Job

With an estimated three million people working as government employees, serving the American public in all 50 states and around the world, the federal government is clearly the largest employer in the U.S. Representing a little over one percent of the U.S. workforce, this three million doesn’t even factor in military personnel, contractors and those working in the federal courts and legislative branches.

In other words, the government consistently offers a huge potential for college graduates, career professionals, veterans or anyone interested in transitioning careers to find the kind of job they truly want as well as a career that offers the opportunity to serve their country and the American people in a wide variety of fields and functions.

5 Great Reasons to Work for the Federal Government

  1. The federal government is always hiring! With new jobs being created every day to keep up with the changing needs of government and the citizens (in addition to federal workers who are retiring), the government always has positions open and waiting to be filled by qualified individuals.
  2. The federal government will help you pay for higher education degrees. Entry level government jobs frequently come with the option to take courses related to the job so that you can continue advancing in that career. Having highly qualified employees not only benefits the government and the citizens it serves, but also benefits you as one of their employees as well!
  3. Federal government jobs pay very well–probably better than what you imagined they would pay have competitive compensation packages which includes healthcare and retirement benefits. Washington Post article reports that most earn between $50,000 and $100,000 yearly, with a lesser number making $40,000 to $50,000. Non-government, entry level positions typically pay less than $30,000.
  4. Federal government jobs offer flexible work scheduling, paid vacations and benefits to encourage a healthy, life-work balance.
  5. Many federal government jobs have the opportunity for upward mobility where an ambitious and qualified member of the team has the ability to prove themselves and be rewarded with paths for additional responsibilities and leadership roles.

Do you want to investigate or probe new federal government career opportunities but don’t know where to start? Amit Magdieli has assembled five great websites for you to use when searching for job openings in the federal government.

Top 5 Websites to Find Government Jobs

 

  1. USA Jobs – Main government job site (https://www.usajobs.gov/)

At USA Jobs, you can create a password-protected account, search job titles, save results of job searches, upload any documents necessary for applying to certain jobs and view the status of applications. Eligible veterans searching for federal employment at USA Jobs who served on active duty or are disabled are given special consideration when applying for federal civil service positions.

  1. Defense Civilian Careers (http://godefense.cpms.osd.mil/)

Current “hot careers” listed at this Department of Defense job site include dentists, defense contract management and accountants. Just a few of the numerous employee benefits offered by the DOD include medical and family leave, on-site childcare centers, 26 vacations days annually and leave-sharing programs.

  1. Defense Finance Careers (http://www.dfas.mil/careers.html)

Careers available at the DFAS website includes accounting, auditing, human resources, information technology, contracting and mission support. In addition, students of all ages will be interested in exploring the Pathways Programs that provide federal internships for high school, undergraduate and post-graduate students.

  1. Homeland Security Careers (http://www.dhs.gov/careers)

Homeland security jobs, border security, cybercrime specialists, federal emergency managers and working for the Federal Protective Services are just a few of the many job opportunities always open and available at the Department of Homeland Security website. Students can also find information about internships, scholarships and fellowships as well as hiring programs designed to match the skills of job seekers.

  1. Jobs for Veterans in Government

http://www.fedshirevets.gov/

http://www.military.com/veteran-jobs/search/government-jobs

http://explore.va.gov/employment-services?gclid=COHv4bCf18ICFQmNaQodLoUAUw

Veterans can investigate a wide variety of employment opportunities at FedsHireVets website, at the Military Veteran Employment Center and the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs Employment Services web page.

For more information about the benefits of working for the federal government, contact AmitMagdieli Professor of eGovernment, Policy and Government Programs, School of Information Studies at Syracuse University.

 

Why the Government Needs To Learn Lessons from Online Retailers

Amit Magdieli - The Government Should Act Like a Retailer

The United States Government has amazing comprehensive and complimentary services spread across multiple agencies which help Americans every day.  One of the greatest barriers for success of these programs is the ability to connect the services with those who need them the most.  When our citizens search online for services, they often find themselves navigating a maze of different agencies, searching to solve the puzzle of their personal solution, piece by piece.  This often leaves the customer/citizen…. frustrated, confused, and angry.

Why Online Shopping Habits Matter To the Government

Unfortunately, our government is still focused primarily on providing citizens with a list of services organized by agencies, not solutions. With 2014 Cyber Monday e-commerce sales hitting $2.04 billion, up 17% compared to a year ago, according to comScore, the government needs to take notice of the online purchase habits of today’s shopper. The quality of services citizens received when buying online from the private sector, such as Amazon.com, is expected from the government at the same level of customer service and experience or beyond.

Here are just a few statistics driving why the government needs to act more like a large online retailer when providing online services:

  • Adults 50 years old and above comprise one-third of the total 195.3 million Internet users in the US
  • Two-thirds of American 50-plus buy from e-retailers online
  • 63% of adult mobile phone owners use their phones to go online according to PewResearch

3 Ways to Improve the Customer Experience

Mobile Friendly: More and more people are accessing their information online through mobile devices. Nothing can ruin a customer experience more than not being able to load, view, and search information on a mobile device. Responsive web design, which allows a single site to render on any device, needs to be utilized to improve government websites that lack this portability.

Solution Based Navigation: Unfortunately our government is still focused primarily on providing citizens with a list of services organized by agencies, not solutions. The government needs to design websites that allow people to easily find a solution to their problem and quickly direct them to the appropriate agency or department. A couple notable improvements are VA’s explore Va.Gov and DoD’s Military One Source. A great standard is the British Government’s GOV.UK.

Track Analytics: It’s great to invest the time and money in designing great websites, but how do we know if the site is living up to its full potential and serving the needs of our citizens? Just as online retailers track abandonment rate, usage rates, and conversation rates, the government needs to do the same to insure continuous improvement and delivery of a high quality “customer experience” for citizens.

Just as President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in one of his famous Great Depression Fireside Chats

The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little”

I believe the government is at a critical crossroads in its ability to connect the services with those who need them the most online, as well as improving efficiency and management of it services.

About Amit Magdieli

Amit MagdieliAmit Magdieli is an expert in government management and efficiency. After successful stints in the private sector with PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM, Amit followed his passion to pursue a public service career. Known as a top-notch problem solver, he has held various management positions within the federal government. He is also an adjunct professor at Syracuse University

Bureaucracy Is Not a Dirty Word

Amit Magdieli on Bureaucracy

The midterm elections have come and gone, leaving a changing political environment. Even when the political landscape changes, the various bureaus of the government remain. Until 40-50 years ago, the bureaucracy was viewed positively. With public initiatives such as The New Deal, the works of various bureaus made the mission clear – serving America to better life for its people. In our system of checks and balances, government was arranged this way to combat political patronage and partisan activities, and to prevent rogue employees within the government from acting independently or inconsistently against the mission and values within the bureau. It was purposely designed to be a system where the rules and regulations were more powerful than any one person in the system.

What Is the Definition of Bureaucracy?

Now however, the definition of bureaucracy has changed. Many people see bureaucracy as a dirty word, as another name for bloat and gridlock.

How did we get here, and what can we do to change that perception for the better? Even as a more conservative Congress prepares to take hold, can we find common ground to allow our agencies to run effectively?

People working in our government are committed to helping their agencies succeed, and are often there because they want to make a difference. From my experience at the Department of Labor and other agencies, most people work within the government because of their commitment to the agency mission to help people, serve this country, and make a positive difference, often turning down higher paying jobs in the private sector. A recent government study shows that government employees make 30% less than their private counterparts, and put in longer hours.

How to Overcome Challenges

The challenge is that in government, you are serving 310 million customers while reporting to multiple stakeholders. Many of these stakeholders have conflicting priorities, whether because of the varied priorities of their customers, their immediate supervisor chain, political appointees, Congress, or special interest groups. Scrutiny and direction can come from all of these directions. These various stakeholders often try to point fingers at different government entities when the agency mission differs from the mindset within this interested party. This finger pointing has left a perceived public image of a bloated and ineffective bureaucracy. Congress can be an asset or a hindrance to the effectiveness and efficiency of our bureaucracy.

So, how do we find that common ground, and make Congress a champion of the Bureaucracy, rather than an opponent? Too often, leaders in both parties have passed or held up nominations for appointments, or have struggled to approve budgets for our government to effectively function. To do this, we need to reimagine the makeup of our Bureaucracy. We can model off of what works well in the business world to help create a more effective model. Each agency needs to be looked at as its own corporation, with the head of the department being a CEO, and Congress as the Board of Directors. While oversight is an important part of their job, just as significant is that Congress takes ownership of the success of the administration in an advisory role, rather than focusing on the “gotcha” moments.

The midterm elections are bringing in a more conservative Congress that will recognize the importance of fiscal responsibility. They should assist the various departments by aligning budget committees to interagency initiatives with a goal of reducing duplicative spending practices. Another responsibility of Congress should be to pass a complete and full budget on time. When delays occur, and the government needs to be shutdown because a budget was not approved, the waste of time and monetary resources can have far-ranging effects.

Congress needs to not view themselves from the outside peering in, but as leaders sitting on top of the complex business of government. Both parties campaigned strongly this year on coming to Washington and cleaning it up, eliminating waste, and championing themselves as the “outsiders” who would change things for the better. As of January, those elected “outsiders” officially become insiders. Only taking a responsible leadership role will create the change that any Member of Congress envisions. Instead of trying to eliminate government agencies across the board, focus more on improving how they function and serve the people.   To paraphrase a popular quote on democracy – bureaucracy is not a perfect form of government, but it’s better than many of the alternatives out there.

About Amit Magdieli

AmitwebAmit Magdieli is an expert in government management and efficiency. After successful stints in the private sector with PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM, Amit followed his passion to pursue a public service career. Known as a top-notch problem solver, he has held various management positions within the federal government. He is also an adjunct professor at Syracuse University

What We Should Be Teaching Government Students About Ethics

The current scandals in the headlines, and a general distrust of government, there is a vital need for future government leaders to tap into innovation products/services, and move at the speed of the private sector while recognizing the importance and necessity of ethical behavior and operating in a complex procurement environment.

At Syracuse University, I teach a course entitled eGovernment Concepts and Practices. It is a popular course, in part because navigating the complex government procurement environment while taking advantage of cutting-edge technologies that are often available outside the federal integrator world, are not often talked about in government technology courses. As an experienced government executive myself, I believe one of the most important things we can teach public policy students who are pursuing government leadership positions is how to navigate federal contracting by applying business ethics in this unique work environment.

Private sector solutions are more frequently sought as solutions to problems by government professionals in today’s fast changing landscape. But, simply put, trying to keep-up with private sector while working through a procurement process which is complex, methodical, and sometimes does not keep up with this pace of change, often producing gray areas, ethical business questions and mismanagement issues as we have seen played out in the recent media headlines. This scenario is being played out every day in the media. Even as we try to manage our response to concerns about Ebola, there are private sector solutions being hired to deal with the hazardous waste, and if the wrong solution is applied, it can lead to public outcry, such as the “Cleaning Guys” Hazmat group hired in Texas to handle possible hazardous materials, recently pointed out by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. More seriously, the accusations of graft and corruption involving government contracts being procured in the private sector is increasing at an alarming rate. Often the root cause is good intention and ethical private sector business norms clashing with government procurement and contracting rules.

Amit Magdieli - Government Ethics

 Is Procurement Ethics a Belief System That Can Be Taught?

The issue is not instilling a moral compass or integrity in students and future government professionals – most have this quality prior to an immersion in public service. The challenge is navigating the unique environment of public sector transparency prescribed through federal acquisition laws to ensure that professionals do not inadvertently run afoul of these rules.

How do we adequately redefine work ethics meant to reflect the behaviors, desires, and attitudes of today’s government employees so that a strong standard can be established that stimulates positive views of solving public sector missions with private sector innovation? Confronting this problem head-on in the academic setting will help our future leaders to follow the correct ethical procedures when they begin to reshape our government in the future.

What should we be teaching government students about ethics?

I believe teaching students about government regulations, prioritizing best practices for business ethics and remaining in compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulations are key learning aspects that form the foundation of any public policy curriculum, fostering the development of future government leaders. Moreover, helping students develop skills such as critical reflection, empathy, moral deliberation, and logical reasoning are also vital to instilling a solid ethical belief system.

About Amit Magdieli

AmitwebAmit Magdieli is an expert in government management and efficiency. After successful stints in the private sector with PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM, Amit followed his passion to pursue a public service career. Known as a top-notch problem solver, he has held various management positions within the federal government. He is also an adjunct professor at Syracuse University