If you’re in the job market, and especially if you are in the Prince William/D.C. metro area, you know plenty of others who are working in government contracting (GovCon). Depending on what you’ve heard, you might have ruled out GovCon as a career option. And maybe that’s the right choice. Some people are not cut out for the unique experiences a GovCon career offers. If you’re one of those still on the fence, read on for the biggest reasons why some people should avoid a career in GovCon.
- You hate having a mission. Mission is all about having a higher purpose. In his article “It’s Not About the Ping-Pong Table,” Sujey Edward, Chief Technology Officer at Octo says, “There isn’t a mission in the Federal Government that isn’t important. Even the smallest agency has been charged with critical tasks that matter. And for the right person, that makes the difference. When employees focus on the mission, they are vested in something bigger than themselves.” Is a career in GovCon the right fit for you? If you don’t want mission-centric work, the answer is no.
- You don’t want to make an impact. Employees in GovCon know they don’t work in a vacuum. Their work makes a tangible difference in the lives of the public every day. According to Edward, “When Netflix goes down, it’s a bad day. When federal systems go down, tax refunds are not delivered, food isn’t inspected, and lives are at stake. In commercial organizations the technology being built is far removed from the meaningful mission. Those engineers have an important role to play with the technology, but they aren’t solving real problems like we do in intelligence, cancer research, Social Security benefits administration, and other areas that have a direct impact on the well-being of the citizens of our nation.” No matter what your area of expertise, if making an impact on real people isn’t for you, GovCon is not your place.
- You don’t want to work with forward-thinking people. Talented technologists and other professionals fill the GovCon space, and they are natural innovators who require the freedom to discover and develop. According to Edward, these folks crave autonomy to explore, fail, and succeed, and good GovCon companies provide the space to do that. “These knowledge workers don’t want people telling them how to do their work,” he says. “They want to know what problem the organization is trying to solve. If they are handcuffed, they won’t be able to come up with the best solution.” Challenge employees with a problem, give them parameters in which they can operate, and let them leverage their skills and creativity to do their jobs. They will build you amazing things, he says.
Edward also says that experts crave mastery. For example, “Technologists who are told a problem is impossible to overcome will come running to try, especially if it’s tied to a mission they care about.” GovCon is where people accept the challenge to meet and exceed their potential. If you don’t want to work with people like this, best to avoid the industry.
In the end, it takes a special kind of person to work in GovCon, the kind who is mission driven, people-focused and innovative. Are you the right person? If so, consider a job at Octo, where creative IT and other professionals are hired all the time. Check out the careers page at octoconsulting.com.
“Corporate Meets Community” is a column highlighting Octo’s corporate culture and opportunities. Based in Reston, Virginia, Octo solves the Federal Government’s most complex challenges by providing Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Agile DevSecOps, Cloud Engineering, Open Source, Cybersecurity, and Data Science solutions. We continually develop ways to transform IT, producing results vital to national security, intelligence, health care, and more. Our approach is collaborative, and our outcomes are superior. Join our team of innovators. Explore careers with Octo.