We should all be as happy as this 40-year public servant|
Forty years is a long time to stick to anything, especially in a world where a minute is the gold standard for keeping someone’s attention. But 40 years in one organization and loving it?
“I have one of the sweetest jobs ever!!!!” says LaRhonda Erby-Spriggs, who provides executive support in GSA’s Office of Acquisition Policy. Her exclamation-point enthusiasm showcases her attitude after 40 years of service in the federal government.
“I always was given opportunities to elevate,” she says. “I was provided many training sessions and given the opportunity to work independently, trying my abilities at new opportunities to explore. Also, I always worked with a wonderful staff.” Indeed, GSA’s Office of Government-wide Policy was ranked 16th out of more than 400 teams across government in the recent Best Places to Work results.
Ask many public servants why they choose to work for the government, and you’ll hear different responses, but one thread often underlies all: the mission. Public servants like working where they can use their talents and effort to improve the nation.
Celebrated the first week of May since 1985, Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW) honors workers like Erby-Spriggs who serve the nation as federal, state, county, or local government employees.
She started her career in the federal government at the National Gallery of Art, then moved to the Treasury Department and the Veterans Administration, before she transferred to GSA.
We found Erby-Spriggs at an event last week where she and GSA Administrator Robin Carnahan shared a couple of selfies, and asked her what she loves about her work.
Q: What do you do at GSA?
A: I provide administrative support, research and resolve issues, solve problems, and serve as information specialist. I exercise my multiple talents and knowledge of the systems and operations of the division to support the entire Office of Acquisition Policy (OAP) staff, Office of Government-wide Policy (OGP), the Executive Secretariat, (Office of the Administrator) Associate Divisions, …
And the public.
Q: How has your work helped you grow over 40 years?
A: My work has made me a better person, taught me life lessons, it matured me, made me grow up, taught me how to communicate effectively, accept responsibilities, to listen, understand, most of all respect not just myself but to have respect for others. This evolution turned out to make me the woman I am today - a kind woman.
Q: What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
A: I started out asking questions, and now people ask me questions. I've learned all of our systems. I conduct training for staff and anyone who needs assistance. I have developed extensive knowledge that I can share with others so they can know what I know.
Q: What are some of the changes you’ve seen?
A: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Accessibility (DEIA) has changed the federal workforce and opportunities for a greater number of people from when I started. I respect everyone for who they are. I have worked with people from all walks of life, different backgrounds, identities and abilities. I develop a rapport with everyone and get along with them. Most of all, I take interest in their work ethics: I learn from them as well as share my knowledge.
Q: What keeps you going?
A: I enjoy my work, the staff and the many opportunities. I’ve developed a work family that knows and understands me as well as I understand them. We can laugh and joke with each other.
I’ve learned many personalities and how to communicate with the staff on their level. I know what the staff want sometimes before they speak. I’ve never had a problem, I’ve always received recognition and praise. I thought of going somewhere else … but even though it could have been a promotion, I chose to stay with what I know, and that was working for the General Services Administration.
Q: What do you like about working for the federal government?
A: I like the stability. I started young, and I grew up here. I have health benefits. I bought a house and raised my daughters. Now I am ready to retire and enjoy the rest of my life. I believe if I hadn't made the choice to work in the federal government, only God knows where I would have ended up.
Q: Any suggestions for improvement?
A: Just provide everyone the opportunities that I have had so they can excel to their level of potential.
(Erby-Spriggs’ answers were edited for brevity.)
Want to jumpstart your career? GSA is hiring! Learn more about our job opportunities on the GSA Careers webpage.