Not everyone is given an opportunity to serve the public. Anyone can help his friends, neighbors, or even strangers in his own little ways, but this is quiet a small task compared to that of a public manager. With the abounding, distinct works at hand, being a public administrator is more than just a career. A public administrator, as a special individual in the society, must possess specialized skills and well-defined motivations to effectively carry out his responsibilities.
In his article “Reflections of a Public Service Junkie”, Thomas Downs cited several factors that motivated him to stay in public service (cited in Denhardt & Denhardt, 2009). These motivations almost always shape the efficiency and effectiveness of an individual who desires a vocation in public administration. As one who is into this field, I understand the vital significance of having my own list of motivations to push me to a significant level of proficiency and success.
The homeless who live in the hot and cold streets, the hungry who beg for a piece of bread, and the sick who wait for a free medical assistance to be cured are a few pictures of reality in the society. To think that I have a home that shelters me and my family, that I have enough food to eat, that I can call and pay for a doctor’s fee when I get sick are enough motivations to be a humane and responsible public administrator. I share the same belief with Downs that “public service is ultimately based on the view that the human condition can be improved, an optimism which perhaps form the core of the motivation for staying in public service.
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There must be an innate desire to bring valuable Motivation 2 improvement in the lives of the people. Effecting change is not an easy task, but it is indeed very rewarding once it is accomplished. Being an effective public administrator entails genuine commitment to serve the public and demands a humanitarian attitude. People worry all the time, but it is not always that they call for help from the government. To deliver the service to the right people at the right time in the right place is a challenge that needs to be addressed as this solicits trust from the public.
In the same way that some current public administrators find inspiration in winning the public’s trust, I am stirred up to earn the confidence of the masses. Mastering the craft of public administration is another motivating factor. This requires a special skill to understand the people and distinguish their wants and needs. It calls for dedication and hard work to learn the techniques and effective ways of providing service to the people. Even Downs admitted that his skills and abilities learned through long apprenticeship and long years in service were acquired in heavy labor.
Downs is right “to feel an obligation to repay the resources, energy, and interest” that others have invested in teaching us. However, a public administrator sometimes finds himself in conflict over what to choose: gratitude or commitment. This inspires me to become a respected public servant by responding to the call of commitment over settling the debt. “Service from the heart” is what makes a public administrator effective. This is where personal fulfillment and happiness comes in. Motivation 3 Denhardt, R. B. & Denhardt J. V. (2009). Public Administration: An Action Orientation. California: Thomson Wadsworth
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