According to the U.S. government’s Office of Personnel Management, there are about 2.7 million civilian federal employees. At the same time, rank-and-file employees have faced challenges of operating on continuing resolutions with unknown budgets, sequesters, furloughs, hiring freezes, shutdowns, and denigration of public service as a profession. Public trust in the federal government is at an all-time low and the federal workforce itself is at its lowest morale in years.
This was the impetus for Creative Feds, a documentary project which explores federal employees who are as far from the stereotypical “faceless bureaucrats” as you can get. They are government employees by day who also pursue a creative calling by night and weekend. Whether they consider their creative work a hobby or a second career, they don’t see their federal work as a day job. Instead they bring their creative spirit into their federal work, and are equally dedicated to serving their country and their craft.
We have followed two of these civil servants to find out the ways each contributes to our nation and the important work their creative calling contributes to their own personal and professional fulfillment. The result is a short documentary film currently playing at film festivals and community screenings.
We have also started a supplementary web gallery of others who also balance a federal career with a creative calling on the side.