Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sass Writes! What Do You Love Most About Your Job?

I am writing in response to one of Mama Kat's writing prompts.

My job.  Hmmm.  My job.  

Well, here's what I do, day in and day out, for a living.  I am a Program Specialist for the Community Development Block Grant program for the State of Montana.   It's a HUD program. I read and evaluate grants, work within a team to rank them by priority, need, and benefit to people of low-to-moderate income, and then, once the grants have been awarded to cities, towns, and counties, coordinate with local project administrators, engineers, and architects to get the actual project constructed and to ensure compliance with federal regulation.  The maximum grant is $450,000.  We do a lot of water and wastewater infrastructure, build community facilities, such as food banks and youth centers, as well as do some direct benefit assistance, like first time homebuyer downpayment assistance and housing rehab for low-to-moderate income homeowners.  Sounds complicated, doesn't it?  Well, guess what - it's really complicated! 

We have a staff of three to serve the entire state.  I have about thirty projects going, although, if you've been a reader for a while, you will remember that I set, as one of my New Year's resolutions, the goal to get a bunch of projects closed out.  The federal government kind of implied (yes, I meant that) pressure and made it easier to, in a sense, clear the docket, so that these closeouts could take priority.  And most of my old projects are gone - hurray!  I have a few tricky ones that I am still working on, but I'm getting closer to have a normal project list.

But this question was all about what I like best about my job, and in a way, I've already told you.  I really like complicated work.  I like to be surprised and stimulated by the demands of the job.  I like having to do research and find things out.  I like feeling like I am in on something big.  I like knowing what's shaking.  Whenever there's a big new thing happening - like the Bakken oil field in western North Dakota and eastern Montana, I know that it's a possibility that, at some point, I'll be in the thick of new developments.

Couple of other things:  I have the world's nicest boss. My colleague and peer is a really smart young guy who's a sweetheart, too.  I go to sleep at night, knowing that we're helping to make things better in Montana communities.  

Of course, I have assigned myself this part-time blog as a second job, and I love that too.  Maybe working with the photos and writing are my favorite parts.  

Thanks, Mama Kat, for the exercise in thinking.




  1. I love reading more about the real life of the girl behind the blog. Your job does sound complicated but so rewarding too! Having your dedication on the team is a BIG asset. :)

  2. Sounds like a really rewarding job! I think if anyone can list a bunch of things that they love about their job these day, they're lucky. Not enough people can say that - whether it's because they're unemployed, or they plain have an unfulfilling job. I bet a lot of people must be thankful for the work you do.

  3. When we renovated our Queen Anne it was in the midst of an area of both well cared for homes and blight. There were many elderly in our area. One year I wrote a grant to use some of the very funds you work with to replace several roofs on the homes of elderly in the area. It is one of my proudest accomplishments that with the help of HUD I was able to do something that without a doubt improved the quality of life of these people and allowed them to remain in their own homes. So, I know first hand that your work matters! I am glad for people like you.


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