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Our Director Director's Blog

Cooking

One of the things I love most about my job as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management is the variety and complexity of the work we do to serve the American people.

I have the opportunity to work with brilliant people every day, teams and individuals tasked with solving some of our country’s greatest challenges. I’ve also learned that the process we use to get results – and the way all the steps in that process fit together just right – can be nearly as rewarding as the results themselves.

Let me explain this in another way. I love to cook, especially when it involves a complex recipe. Mixing many ingredients and flavors together in just the right way to make something new and delicious is incredibly satisfying to me.

Once my dish is cooked, I also love the presentation of the food. It may sound a little odd, but I always watch my guests take their first bite. If they talk through it, I feel like I’ve failed. But when they don’t say anything at all, and I see an expression of enjoyment appear on their faces, that’s when I feel I’ve done my work well.

Success in the workplace and success in the kitchen are a lot alike. Cooking is about the preparation, the presentation, and the first bite. These same steps can apply when we think about our jobs. How do we prepare? How do we present our work? What happens when our customers take their first bite? Is it satisfying? How can we improve the recipe?

Here’s an example of what I mean. At OPM last year, we wanted to give Federal employees more educational opportunities. The process began in the OPM kitchen: We knew employees were craving new training and advancement opportunities. We spent time preparing the recipe: We found a college willing to partner with us that offered a variety of programs and online degree options for Federal employees across the country – the University of Maryland University College. Once the partnership was fully cooked, we presented it to Federal employees, and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. As a result, we are exploring the possibility of additional partnerships like the one with UMUC.

I love seeing my team prepare, present, and learn from the experience. In doing so, together we can serve the American people one great recipe after another.

Director Archuleta in green dress surrounded by high school students in cooking jackets. All in kitchen.


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