Geologist (Female, Age 28) in Washington, DC

This is a REAL-LIFE job profile written by a Female aged 28 who works as a Geologist in Washington, DC. This professional kindly spent a bit of their time to complete our job profile survey so that prospective job seekers like you could read their insights. Please excuse any punctuation or grammatical errors in this profile.

At a Glance

Current Job

Basic data on your current job

Job TitleGeologist
Salary$64,373
Other Compensation None Set
Hours/Week40
Company Size(not answered)
LocationWashington, DC
Years Experience10 months

Career Ratings

Opinions on your CAREER overall (i.e. not just your current job)

Years in Career0
Education(not answered)
Income Rating0 / 10
Interest Rating0 / 10
Work-Life Rating0 / 10
Fulfilment Rating0 / 10

Table of Contents

Current job Q&A

Describe the type of organization you work for.
My organization is an independent federal government agency and employs roughly 2,000 people. The agency regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil and electricity, including hydropower plants.

Describe your job role and responsibilities.
I am the environmental reviewer for natural gas pipeline applications that are submitted for our approval. Natural gas projects need to comply with federal regulations, including environmental standards and our environmental division ensures that the projects will. I work within a team of scientists and engineers, and each member is responsible for reviewing different parts of each application (i.e., cultural resources, biological resources, etc.) so I am responsible for reviewing geological resources and hazards that may be affected or impacted due to the project.

Please list an additional benefits (beyond compensation) that you receive.
retirement plan, annual and sick leave and health insurance

Do you feel you are under/over or well/fairly compensated at your current position?
under

Does your job entail you working with others on a daily basis? Is this something you like/dislike about your job? Please explain.
Yes. This is something I like about my job, because I think team work is important in producing quality work.

Do you work collaboratively with supervisors/managers?
Yes

Do you work collaboratively with your co-workers?
Yes

Describe your work location (e.g., office, home, theatre, in the field) and what you like/dislike about working in it.
I mainly work in the office, which I enjoy because it’s very routine. I used to work at a job that required 50% out in the field, which I enjoyed at the time because I was younger and new to the working life. My current job also requires travel outside the office but not as much. Travel outside the office (for project inspections) are nice too because it breaks up the monotony of office work. I feel like the in-office and out-of-office time is well-balanced.

Please rate each of the following aspects of your current job on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest/best):
Income: 4
Benefits: 3
Hours: 3
Co-Workers: 2
Supervisors: 2
Job Title: 4
Level of Responsibility: 3
The Actual Work: 1

A day in the life of…

Please describe a typical workday for you in your current job:

5am to 6am
6am to 7am
7am to 8amGetting ready for work and commuting into work.
8am to 9amArrive at 8:15am. Check email, mail, messages. Eat breakfast.
9am to 10amChat with co-workers or visit senior employees to ask advice on particular issues on a project that came up late the day before.
10am to 11amReturn phone calls and email messages, usually in response to a request I had for more information regarding details in an application. Or information requested by other team members on a project.
11am to 12pmLunch.
12pm to 1pmStart or continue writing environmental assessment. Or reading a new application that’s come in.
1pm to 2pmWriting or reading/researching.
2pm to 3pmWriting or reading/researching.
3pm to 4pmWriting or reading/researching.
4pm to 5pmStart wrapping up with where I am in writing or reading/researching.
5pm to 6pmEnd of work day.
6pm to 7pm
7pm to 8pm
8pm to 9pm
9pm to 10pm
10pm to 11pm
11pm to 12am

How you got your job

How did you get your current job?
Campus recruitment event

What was the application process?
Submitted a resume online as well as with the recruiter at the job event and then got a call for an interview.

Did you have to interview for your current job? If yes, what did the interview process entail?
Yes. I met with my current supervisor and another senior member of our office and they asked me questions based on my resume. I requested to speak with current employees to get a feel for the work environment and the people who worked there.

If you can remember, what questions were you asked during the interview?
What were your responsibilities as an intern at the EPA? What did you do as a geologist for GZA GeoEnvironmental? What was your masters thesis on? How do you feel about traveling outside of the office? What about our agency interested you to apply for this job?

Do you feel your employer properly prepared you for your job? Explain.
No. As I explained before, there is no official training program implemented by the agency. You learn through your mistakes, unfortunately. Had there been a better training program, a lot of stressful days could have been avoided.

Was there training for your current position? If yes, what did it entail?
I was hired under exceptional appointment, meaning that I need to complete a 2-year training period. So, when I first started, I developed a 2-year career development plan that identified what types of training activities I would need to take part in. Most of the training programs are classes or on-site training.

Do you feel your educational background prepared you for your job? Explain.
Not for the technical skills required for the job, but in terms of organizational skills, and written and verbal skills, yes, I do believe my educational background prepared me for my job.

If applicable, do you feel your internship experience helped you prepare for your job?
Yes, my internship was the first look at the federal government system and I thought it was an excellent introduction to working for the federal government.

If someone wanted to go about getting a job similar to yours, what would you recommend for him or her to do?
Experience is key to any career field you choose. That is the first thing any recruiter looks at, so the earlier you know what you want to do as a career, the sooner you can start gaining experience. I am a huge proponent of internships; they allow you to ‘test the waters’ of a given career path and you can decide early on whether it’s something you should or should not pursue. For a career in the federal government, at minimum, you need a graduate degree.

What skills do you think a person should have if they want to pursue a position like yours?
You need social skills because we interacts with members of the public, local and state government agencies, and the gas companies themselves. Our work products are also a huge team effort, so social skills are very important. You need organization skills because you would be expected to juggle several projects at once–not just as a team member, but also as a project manager (team leader). All projects are on a timeline, so you have to stay on top of the bench marks and final due dates. Writing and verbal skills are also a must, as much of the work is producing federal environmental documents (each application is written up as an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement) and when the project is up for review before the agency commission, you are expected to be present to answer any questions they may have to make a decision on approving or rejecting the application. Presentations are also made at public meetings. You are also expected to be knowledgeable in your field, as a biologist, geologist, civil engineer, etc., to review the environmental issues properly and to make appropriate recommendations.

Do you feel that you need a certain level of education or training to be successful in your job?
Yes.

What advice would you give to someone who was about to start work in your position/ line of work?
Ask a lot of questions because that’s the only way to get information and to learn around here. The work mentality in our office is ‘sink or swim’–they throw you into the water to see if you’ll be able to sink or swim.

Long-term career plans

Is your current employment part of your overall career plan? Why or why not?
Yes. I would like a career in the federal government but not exactly within this agency, long-term.

What are your current career goals?
I would like to eventually work overseas in environmental development work.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your career?

Prior work history

Please list your most recent jobs prior to this current job:

TitleLengthSalaryDescription
Prior Job 1ECO Associate10 months13.75/hr
Prior Job 2Teacher’s Assistant2 yearsStipendTaught lab component of undergraduate and graduate courses. Courses included: Coastal Processes Lab (1 semester), Physical Geology (2 semesters) Lab, Aqueous Geochemistry Recitation (1 semester).

Educational background

Please list your educational background:

High School GPA:3.9

GPASchoolDegree
College (Undergraduate)
or Technical/Vocational
3.2Bryn Mawr CollegeBA in Geology
Graduate or Professional
(Masters or Doctorate)
3.8University of VirginiaMS in Environmental Science

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