What Do You Like Most About Working at the County?

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One of the things that’s given me great heart in my years at the County is hearing how many of you really enjoy working here.

I want you to like your job, because, for one, I want you to be happy in how you spend your days. And also, if we enjoy what we’re doing, we’ll do a better job for our customers.

I thought I’d dig a little deeper and have a few employees share what they like most about working for the County. I’ll add the favorite parts of my job, but here’s what a few of your colleagues had to say.

 

Sara Agahi, Public Works

I work in the Flood Control group in the Department of Public Works. As an engineer, and also as a mom, I am proud to work on projects that reduce flooding around the County and make our communities safer. Like many departments here, our work can be really challenging, both technically and because of the conflicting interests of multiple stakeholders. But it is very satisfying to come together with all of the parties and find a solution that improves a problem. It would not be possible to do this work, and meet the aggressive deadlines associated with these projects, without such a talented, professional, and committed team.

Sara Agahi, center, with, left to right, Matt Schmid, Anthony Barry, Gitanjali Shinde, Greg Carlton.

Sara Agahi, center, with, left to right, Matt Schmid, Anthony Barry, Gitanjali Shinde, Greg Carlton.

 

Bennett Cummings, Office of Emergency Services

What I like most about working for the County is the opportunity to face a lot of varied and challenging problems, and working with dedicated people as we take them on. Within the Office of Emergency Services and across the many departments we work with, there are great people that get things done every day for the residents of San Diego County. Working with them before, during, and after a disaster to tackle tough problems and find solutions is very rewarding. I’m constantly learning from those around me and am appreciative of the work done by so many, especially those in the background of any big event that help make it all work out. An organization is its people, and I work with the best.

Bennett Cummings, left, during an exercise at the Emergency Operations Center.

Bennett Cummings, left, during an exercise at the Emergency Operations Center.

 

Michele Crichlow, Finance and General Government Group

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Working for the County has been a great pleasure and privilege for me. Of the many things I appreciate about this organization what stands out most is the ability I’ve been afforded to balance my home/work life. When I joined the County 17 years ago, I was a single mom of a 2-year-old and guardian for my older sibling with special needs. My life was a delicate balancing act where most days I felt like a circus juggler. Oftentimes life would come along and interrupt my flow by tossing yet another ball in the air for me to manage. I know that my ability to weather those “life interruptions” while feeling confident that I was considered a valued employee is undoubtedly owed to the great colleagues I’ve worked with over the years. I feel very fortunate to have worked with great teams – they exemplify what being part of the County family means to me.

 

Orquidia Contreras, County Library

The fascinating part about working at the library is that much of what we do is outside of the regular “reading and library” scope, a lot of which we didn’t learn in library school. Most of it is super interesting, fun and challenging. What I love most about my job is the event planning aspect of it. Planning special programs is so much of it, and getting to do fun things with customers with awesome!

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Liki Porotesano, HHSA Office of Strategy & Innovation

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What I like most about the County is working alongside a great team! As an analyst with the Live Well San Diego Support Team, we mobilize, facilitate and communicate Live Well San Diego internally across all 5 County groups and externally to the community, residents, and partners. Although our team is small when compared to other departments, having a small team provides opportunities to leverage each other’s strengths, collaborate on projects, and really have the chance to get to know each other, outside of work. My team members and I share a lot in common, such as getting outdoors, loving our furry pets, and spending quality time with friends and family. This creates an inclusive work environment, which is one of many reasons I enjoy working for the County of San Diego.

 

Athena C. Buensuceso, Air Pollution Control District

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What I love most about the County is the diverse and rewarding experiences it offers. Through it, I’m able to serve my community. I served the homeless population through the homeless count and will be contributing to democracy as a poll worker. With the roles I’ve held, my understanding about housing, homelessness, agriculture, air quality, liens and the retirement system grew. I’ve met smart and talented colleagues who became friends and mentors. Through the County, I participated in the Amazing Race, joined APACE, and immersed myself in planning impactful activities for my fellow employees. The County allows for work-life balance so I may further experience life outside of work. The County cares. It cares about those that it serves and those who serve in it—and does it phenomenally.

Working for the County has touched my life in many different ways, one experience at a time.

 

Sarah Panfil, General Services

I like to help others. Words of wisdom from my parents: “Be happy where you work because life is too short.” In August 2018, I will have worked for the County for eighteen years. That right there should tell you something. I have happily worked in three of the five groups and continue to learn new things and help others. Now in the Community Services Group, we are building a better community – literally, we build and maintain the county facilities. I also like working on the Resource Team for Diversity and Inclusion.

Once upon a time, a customer wrote a poem about how he appreciated my work and how I made him smile when he was having a bad day. I still have that poem after 15 years. I appreciate it as much as the departmental awards. The County gives me opportunities to help people and make the world a better place. I like working here, not for the money or benefits (which are worthy), but because I truly believe in the County’s motto:  The noblest motive is the public good.

Sarah Panfil, left, at ERG tree planting event.

Sarah Panfil, left, at ERG tree planting event.

♥ ♥ ♥

Helen again here.

One theme that runs through many of these is how much people like the challenges of their job. I love that because it’s only by challenging ourselves that we grow. We expand our knowledge and skills, then reach new heights. Those are the kind of people I want to work with. We need to constantly push our organization onward and upward, and we’ll do that with people who have that drive within themselves.  

The other thing that comes up repeatedly is the enjoyment of working on problems collectively. That’s so critical to what we do. We deal with big, complex matters that have to be approached from multiple angles, involving many people. We team up with numerous partners to accomplish more than we could separately. So it’s great to see that working together is exactly what employees like about the job.

And what do I like most? Well, I could go on for pages. But to name a few favorites:

Hearing about individual success stories, people whose lives took a bad turn but got back on track because caring County staff were there to help them. My focus most of the time is on big projects and total numbers. So I really enjoy regular reminders that results happen one life at a time.

I love seeing a workforce that’s embraced HEART and hearing how employees go above and beyond to help our customers. We exist for them, and the evidence of our commitment to keeping them front and center fills me with pride.

I’m constantly impressed by how we work across departments to accomplish goals or respond to challenges. You may take it for granted working here. It’s frankly, and sadly, often not the case in many governments. The unity of purpose that runs through our organization is one of the delights of my career.

Overall, it’s the constant dedication to excellence, the innovation, the concern for others so many of you show in ways great and small that make me so happy to be part of this team. Sure, we’re not perfect. We do so much, not every last thing will go well. But every issue we have is so vastly outweighed by all the positive things you make happen. Thank you so much for making this a great place to work.