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Moments like these have drastically transformed my co-op experience into a meaningful lesson on humanity and social responsibility.

So far, working with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO or Department of Fisheries and Oceans) has been a rewarding experience. The DFO not only plays an important role in supporting Canada’s economic, ecological and scientific interests in oceans and waters, but it also preserves its safety and development. 

In this department, my role as a Web Communications Assistant is to work extensively in the constant renewal of content on our website. So far I’ve created content, digital images and new templates that assist in the development of our ever-changing communication plans. Being very hands-on with certain projects has definitely enhanced my technological sense.

Aside from developing my technological skills, there are certainly some unforgettable moments that have really placed the cherry on top of this experience. Without any expectation, I was given the task of documenting and photographing very prominent people in public service, such as the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans himself, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc and the Deputy Minister Catherine Blewett. I also had the opportunity to explore beyond the office and into the Center for Aquaculture and Environmental Research; seeing first-hand, their diligent effort in environmental stewardship and aquatic life preservation.   

Moments like these are the things that have drastically transformed my co-op experience into a meaningful lesson on humanity and social responsibility. From all of this, I have come to valuable realizations that both help and inspire practically anyone wanting to work in the public service. Specifically, these are my three key realizations:

1. Understanding Values of Public Service Also Means Understanding Values of the Public

Although the public service is subject to rules and regulations, these guidelines are ultimately meant to serve public interest and social consensus. With that being said, public interest and motivations are ever-changing, and realizing this as a public servant means you must be willing to adapt and be open to new changes. Behind the endless need for approvals and budgeting, our sole purpose is to cater to the needs of the people. It is with this notion that the changing needs of people can also mean the reliance of adaptability when policies and departmental initiatives are brought down and restructured.

2. Finding Your Desire Also Means Voicing it Out

When working as a public servant in departments such as DFO, you will realize how many ways one can contribute. Any task can be given to you, and you may also find things that interest you the most. However, obtaining a higher responsibility or position to handle a certain task is not simply given to you after years and years of work, but is acquired after repeatedly voicing out your interests. Voicing out your interests means actively taking part in big projects such as Ministerial visits and department-wide events, as well as letting your work mates know of what you are truly interested in. Nonetheless, when voicing out your interests, you must also be prepared to explain how exactly you intend to contribute regardless of its difficulty.  

3. Public Service is the Art of Possibility

During a conversation with the Regional Director, it was stated that “public service is the art of possibility.” In other terms, the public service is the place where one can make things happen, whether it encompasses a social, economic or ecological aspect of the place in which we live. It is the nesting ground of innovation and changing ideas that are heavily important in contributing to public interest. It is also a place where decisions are made with forethought, when bringing forth new policies in an already existing system. I recommend a career in the public service as a way of making things happen.  

Working for DFO has taught me quite a bit these past seven months, but the journey is yet to be finished. I look forward to working with them no longer as a co-op student, but now a term/casual employee in 2017, in continuation of the department’s brand-new initiative on pioneering an innovative digital presence, especially in our Pacific Region. The new adventure’s about to kickoff, and I hope to stay a little while longer in the public service to see it!

SFU Student
Connect with Joseph on LinkedIn.

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