“Why do you want to work in government? It’s too bureaucratic, it’s inefficient, and you could be working somewhere else for more money.” This sentiment is not a new one. I have heard this from countless family members, friends, and even teachers/mentors. My biggest issue with that question and cynical perspective is not that people always present it, it is at times I have found myself almost believing it. Almost. Although I have tentatively responded to this question before, after seeing government in action this summer, I have found my definitive answer.
On my first day as an intern for the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA), the first thing I noticed was the eye catching sculpture in front of the building. The sculpture is made up of four giant slabs of stone arranged in a circle with a poem inscribed on the inside faces. After working with the Agency for a few weeks, it dawned on me that the sculpture was a reflection of CalEPA itself and its relationship with the California government.