If you apply for a local, state or federal government job that is not military in nature, you are applying to join the ranks of the civil service. A career as a civil servant is merit-based employment, and civil servants are often referred to as public servants. Law enforcement officers, firefighters, state employment service workers, forest rangers, licensing bureau clerks, adoption agency personnel and postal employees are all among the many types of civil servants you encounter every day.
Protect and Serve
The primary goal of civil servants is to protect and to serve the public to the best of their ability. In fact, the goal so important that new hires for all levels of government are generally required to take a solemn oath. For example, the federal employee oath of office includes the following words: ". . . support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God."
Manage Government Resources
Civil servants are responsible for managing government resources responsibly. These resources include man hours, tax dollars, and public property. To this end, federal, state and local laws govern how such resources can be allocated and under what circumstances, and careful documentation of their use is required. This means that as a civil servant, even if your job is not clerical, you will likely spend significant time completing reports, and much of the information in the reports may be available to the general public.
Be the Example
Civil servants must maintain the appearance of impartiality both with the public and in outside activities, such as working second jobs, volunteering, political involvement and accepting gifts. The public wants to know that each person receives the same treatment as the next. Ensuring that this happens requires careful documentation and tight regulations. Additionally, a civil servant must be careful that his outside activities do not conflict with his public work or even appear to be a conflict. For example, if you work for the Internal Revenue Service, you cannot work part-time as a tax preparer to supplement your income because it may appear that you are providing your clients inside information or special treatment.
Strengthen the Service
The world is forever changing, and civil servants must strive to keep up with those changes through technology, amending regulations and seeking innovations. To this end, civil service managers, no matter whether they work for federal, state or local government, must constantly try to upgrade management systems, modernize public service projects and hire fresh faces that can bring new ideas as well as real-life experience. The objective of any civil service unit is to reward excellence and maintain an open mind to new ideas and feedback from the public.