Economics grad answers 9 important questions about working in the public sector


Earlier this week, Industry Canada HR manager Linne Fournier mythbusted five misconceptions about working in the public sector and also explained why students and recent grads should seriously consider working for government organizations.

However, if you didn’t believe her, we get it. It’s her job to say that stuff, right?

Well, we thought some of you might feel this way, so got up close and personal with a recent grad to give you his take on what working for Industry Canada is like.

Khallad Karime graduated from Concordia University‘s economics program in the fall of 2008, and started working as an economist with Industry Canada last February. We asked him nine questions you absolutely need to know the answers to if you’re thinking about working in the public sector.

Q. What drew you to a career in public service?

A. The opportunity to play an important role in the decision making of policies that impact Canadians.

Q. What attributes do you think are important for a career in government?

A. Energy, patience and ability to take initiative.

Q. What stereotypes about working in a government job did you have when you started (if any), and how have they been addressed since then?

A. When I first started in the government, I was afraid I would be doing the same routine job everyday for the rest of my career. Luckily, I was completely wrong. Almost every week, there is something new to learn, a conference to attend and a policy to implement.

Q. How has Industry Canada provided challenging work for you?

A. Industry Canada has given me the opportunity to be part of a team mandated to influence policies improving the competitiveness of industries in the domestic and global market. It has also allowed me to attend management meetings that focus on fostering new innovative projects in collaboration with provincial governments, academics and industry associations.

Q. What’s your favourite aspect of the work that you do on a daily basis?

A. One of my key responsibilities at work is the monitoring of several key industry players in the global market. Using media-monitoring tools, I advise management on pertinent information that relates to our industries and compile a weekly newsletter that is sent to all my colleagues.

Q. How does working for Industry Canada help you maintain a good work-life balance?

A. With the option of flexible scheduling provided by Industry Canada, I can hit the gym during my breaks and pursue a masters degree in economics while still working full-time at the office.

Q. Tell us about the opportunities for growth in your job.

A. Industry Canada has implemented a career progression program for most entry-level recruits to train them in increasing their skills for mid-level positions and future career opportunities in the department or across the government.

Q. What’s the most valuable experience you’ve had in your job with Industry Canada so far?

A. The most valuable experience I’ve had so far was conducting research on the impact of the recession on our industry sectors and presenting the results to senior management.

Q. What advice can you offer to any students or recent grads who are considering a career path similar to your own?

A. A career in the public service is very promising and rewarding if you have the right tools on hand, so don’t be afraid to ask questions, or attend a conference or go on training. Take the initiative to learn from experts and senior officers and leave a good impression on your manager.