One of the benefits of living in DC is that we get to meet a lot of interesting locals. There is a woman named Rubie that works in our office as a federal contractor, and she has been living in the Greater DC area for most of her life. Rubie’s job is essentially negotiating with private companies that the DOT buys materials from for infrastructure improvements. She is in her 60s right now, and the other days she told us about the path she took to get into the position that she’s in now.
Rubie had a child early in her life, in her 20s, and as a result she thought she should postpone going to school in a higher education facility so that she could be there for her child. Eventually, she returned to school, balancing raising her child and at the same time working as an assistant to a bank manager. She learned how contracting works under her bank manager. She also often worked with government agencies often in her corporate job setting, so she said that when she joined the federal government in her 40s, the transition was seamless. A lot of people I’ve run into often do the opposite: they move from the public sector into the private sector, as it is difficult to do what Rubie did because people often move up in government positions based on seniority. Rubie said that her ability to walk into a room and have everyone aware of her presence is what helped her overcome this obstacle. Her strong leadership was interesting to hear about and revealed that there are so many ways that people get involved with government, there’s not just one path.