Researchers from Rutgers University recently asked if they could interview me for a project about the retention of women and minorities in State Government. I was pleased to be selected and happy to participate based on my experience running a succession planning program, my last full time job.
As the questions about retention near the end of the interview transcended gender and race, one of my replies surprised me. Ever hear yourself say something and realize you've stumbled onto a significant insight about your life?
The interviewers asked me about the impact of the Civil Service system on retention in general. As I began describing the highly motivated folks in my program - people who wanted to make a difference, even though for many of them refusing promotional opportunities meant they could make more money - it dawned on me why I loved working with those folks for seven years. In my years with government, I'd made those same choices, i.e. I accepted promotions to management positions even though the broken Civil Service system frequently made doing so a financial disincentive. My self-description to the interviewers: "I was a happy dummy."