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113 Reviews
113 Reviews
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National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis
Jonathan B. Jarvis
44 Ratings

    Good intentions, poor execution

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Biological Science Technician in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Biological Science Technician in Los Angeles, CA

    I worked at National Park Service full-time (more than 3 years)


    )) Close connection to the outdoors
    )) Human-level respect: Good support for time off for tough life events (birth, death, sickness).
    )) Training: There are a variety of online classes (GIS) and software (Rosetta) available to help you. There is also respect for learning, such that you will likely be given time to learn new skills on the job, as needed.


    )) Sad culture: Most people join the NPS out of a desire to be of service. I certainly did. Unfortunately, the combination of constant funding shortages, bureaucratic red-tape, and poor leadership meant that most projects were severely overextended, to the point where success was unlikely. You will have some victories, some things to feel good about, but probably not as many as you expect, and maybe not enough to balance out the relatively low salaries.

    )) Unlikely career path: Budgets have shrunk 1%-10% for the past 10 years. This means that when people retire, their jobs often go with them. To get a permanent or long-term job, you will likely need to spend 2-10 years working seasonal positions with no benefits and (sometimes) frequent relocation. To land a leadership role, you will need lots of luck and determination.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get real. Most projects are severely overextended. Overextended projects generally do not achieve their goals. They are instead a waste of scarce resources, and give support to anti-government folks. You need to do triage. Shelve at least half of the current/ongoing projects, then reallocate those people/resources to the highest-priority projects. Rather than having most projects struggling in mediocrity or failure, and pretending that you are doing real good, reorganize so as to have a small number of honestly successful projects. Use these successful projects to prove the value of the NPS, win back public support for the value of public spaces, and then use that support to expand. Take off the rose-colored glasses, and get real.

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