So I got on the USAJobs website and searched. Sure enough, the FBI has some hot listings, which are linked to the FBI's own employment application site. OK, but since I had just filled out an extensive profile on USAJobs because it's supposed to be the repository of all things .gov related, I thought it would snap me right into an application!Turns out each government agency has its own criteria for employment applications. The FAA, the CIA, the Interior Department, the IRS ... etc., etc.. Each one requires an hour or so of detailed responses, with various threat levels for not being honest or having a blemish on your "good citizenship" record. Every application is a start from scratch, no efficient sharing of information.
Of course, being a good citizen, I laboriously filled out each one in turn. The FAA is the strangest, with a mix of Homeland Security, geeky high-tech talk, and gee-whiz-kid enthusiasm about how important its work is. All these government agencies sport plenty of puffery about their role in saving the country, it's just a little disconcerting to hear that from the same people who can't get planes on the ground within hours of their allotted time. ... But I digress.
False IT job market picture?
It's probably clear that I'm a job seeker. Every notice about the exciting future of IT makes my heart skip a beat, and when I see a new opening that might be the match that I've been yearning for, I'm all atwitter. So when InfoWorld posted an article quoting the Business Software Alliance (doesn't that organization sue people?) that the next stimulus package will create thousands of IT jobs, my Facebook status went from "Hopeful" to "Encouraged." That's a big jump for me, being the sober fellow that I am.
Are there jobs only in "construction companies and engineering firms overseeing infrastructure upgrade projects ... companies creating alternative-energy systems or modernizing health-care processes ... bioinformatics, information security, or Web software development"? This talk sounds like there is no future in industries like media and entertainment -- don't tell that to Viacom -- or shipping and transportation –but those oil tankers seem pretty busy -- or education, for that matter.
I'm not buying it. The U.S. has jobs that are dynamic, competitive and global. If anything, there will be more and more companies expanding across borders without the need for government oversight or direction, using Internet collaboration in place of travel, and running projects worldwide from all corners of the globe. Sure it's important to build highway bridges, but that's a small chunk of the huge international explosion of IT needed literally everywhere. There's a big future outside the narrow scope of Washington D.C., agency dictates, a future full of accountability, risk and open-ended opportunity. And that is where most of us will find our next job, in my opinion.