• Consider launching your career in the public sector: Interview with the SEC’s Jamey McNamara

    April 17, 2018 by

     

    If you looking for an internship or full-time entry-level job, you will find many opportunities within government agencies. A public sector career can feel different from a career in the private sector. To sort out the differences and help you understand whether to pursue a government job, we asked Jamey McNamara, the Deputy Chief Human Capital Officer at U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). McNamara draws his advice here from years of experience developing employees and leaders, in recruitment and retention, performance management, compensation and benefits, and labor relations. 

    How is a career in the public sector different from a corporate career? 

    Jamey McNamara: We are finding more and more job candidates are indicating that “a call to serve” is among the most important factors, especially recent grads. Non-profit and public sector careers appear to be very enticing to young adults as they look for job opportunities and careers that support their personal interests and values. A career with the Federal Government is one of the most powerful avenues for addressing a range of issues impacting the American people – and often the international community, as well.

    SEC professionals carry lots of responsibilityFor example, at the SEC, highly skilled and experienced securities industry professionals carry out the SEC’s mission – to protect investors, maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitate capital formation. The securities markets overseen by the SEC help individuals and families secure their financial futures.  They help companies form and create jobs.  And they help cities and towns provide essentials like schools, hospitals, public parks and clean drinking water.

    That kind of economic activity and job creation has impact on a massive scale. The numbers are impressive and the responsibility is immense. The intrinsic rewards of a career with the SEC, and other government agencies, are immeasurable.

    We often hear that the government’s family-friendly policies are among the top considerations for our new hires.

    It’s also true that working for the Federal Government offers a unique combination of benefits that may be hard to find in a single job in the private sector—competitive pay along with interesting and challenging work coupled with support for work-life balance. We often hear that the government’s family-friendly policies are among the top considerations for our new hires.

    Who has inspired you in your career?

    McNamara: I began my federal career straight out of college at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.  I was a management analyst in the largest litigating division’s Human Resources office.  I credit my first supervisor with both encouraging and facilitating my professional development by ensuring that I experienced different aspects of Government administration – even when it meant losing me as a staff member.  After two years in HR, with my supervisor’s help I moved over to the division’s budget formulation group, where I worked for a number of years before returning to HR later in my career. These experiences were the cornerstone of my Federal career, and I have drawn on them extensively in budget- and HR-specific roles over the years, as well as more generalized roles in operations management. It all comes back to my supervisor’s personal interest in my development and success.  This has really stuck with me throughout my career and is something I try to emulate as a leader.

    My first supervisor ensured that I experienced different aspects of Government administration – even when it meant losing me as a staff member.

    What are the challenges of working in government and how do you overcome them?

    McNamara: One challenge governments face is uncertain budgets. This necessitates creativity in building a meaningful incentive and rewards system.

    The SEC and other government agencies strive to grow its employees by offering a wide array of technical skills enhancement and leadership development programs.

    Managers have a variety of ways to recognize and reward achievements and acknowledge the hard work of their employees. For example, each year the SEC Chairman holds an awards ceremony to provide honorary recognition to SEC staff in creative problem-solving, innovation, efforts to protect investors, and working to ensure we maintain a market environment that is worthy of the public’s trust.

    Corporations are not the only workplaces named as “Best Places to Work.” This survey ranks organizations on 14 categories, including matching employee skills to mission, innovation, and empowerment. (In fact, the SEC is proud of its “Best Places to Work” ranking by the Partnership for Public Service.)

    About Jamey McNamara: Jamey is Deputy Chief Human Capital Officer at U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. He manages programs and policies in areas such as leadership and employee development, recruitment and retention, performance management, compensation and benefits, and labor relations. He has years of experience advising human capital strategy, information technology, risk management, and process improvement initiatives.

    Print Friendly, PDF & Email

    Comments

    comments

    Powered by Facebook Comments