Monday, October 12, 2009

Federal Employee Q&A

As part of the UW Making The Difference campaign, one of our goals is to showcase a variety of options, roles, units and professionals within the federal government. 

We shall highlight UW alumni who currently work for federal agencies, and also profile students who have interned with federal agencies.  Below is a question & answer with one of my friends, Roger.  If you have any questions or comments, send me [Patrick] an email ... chidsey [at]  Cheers! 


What is your current job title, agency name, job location [city] and brief description of what you do and what you like about your work?

I am an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA), working for the United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington (located in Seattle). We are one of 93 different districts throughout the United States who work under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Justice. I work in the criminal division and am responsible for investigating and prosecuting those people who commit federal crimes. These offenses can include identity theft, child pornography, drug trafficking, major white-collar fraud, and other interstate crimes. I love the process of investigating major criminal enterprises, trying to determine the truth, and seeking justice for victims. I am fortunate to be able to appear in court often, present cases to juries and ensure that people are fairly held accountable for behavior that hurts the people of the United States. Seeking justice everyday is often an exhausting and difficult task, but one that brings enormous joy and satisfaction.

Where did you get a Bachelors degree & what did you study? Did you go to graduate/professional school, and if so, what did you study & where?

I received my Bachelor’s degree at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. I studied International Affairs (a combination of political science and languages – Russian and Spanish). I attended the University of Washington School of Law where I completed my juris doctorate.

Have you worked for another federal agency or city/county/state agency?

Prior to working for the US Attorney, I worked for 13 years as a county prosecutor, responsible for supervising other deputy prosecutors and prosecuting cases primarily in the sex crimes and domestic violence units.

Advice for students or career changers in conducting a federal job search?

Be honest with yourself about what interests you. Do not seek jobs based on the amount of money you think you will make or the amount of work you will have to do. Seek jobs that thrill you, that make you ache to go to work every day. If you truly enjoy your work, you will do it well. Once you are doing something well, all the financial and other rewards will come your way.

Additional comments about the benefits and/or realities of federal employment?

Those of us in the US Attorney’s Office work hard. Any fantasies about government employees having cushy jobs are quickly put to rest in this office. We hire committed public servants who want to make sure our country remains safe and vibrant. Without the drive to do this kind of work, it can become overwhelming. On the other hand, every time a victim thanks me, or a defendant is held accountable, it is extremely satisfying.

[Seattle Federal Courthouse]