Pentagon is America’s largest office building, and if you work in national security there is a good chance you’ll have a chance to work there or interact with those who do. Depending upon your perspective, it may prompt a sort of dread – or delight. As we consider what it means to work in a national security career, it seemed like an appropriate time to do our own homage to America’s best office building. Here are just a few reasons why the Pentagon is a place to work like no other. ClearanceJobs’ Lindy Kyzer and Aileen Xenakis Koslowski give an ode to that Pentagon work life in the latest episode of ClearedCast.
“I just thought it was such a surreal privilege, and I never got over how much history that building held and how much history was in the making while I was in line to get my coffee,” said Xenakis Koslowski.
Here are a few of the key perks:
1. It’s Made for Mission.
It’s supposed to take no more than 7 minutes to get anywhere in the building. That may be the case – but you’d better know where you were going. The building structure may be designed for getting information from one place to another (or one body from one meeting to another), but the amenities tell another story. From a jewelry store and chocolate shop to hair salon and pharmacy, the Pentagon truly has it all.
“I made a game of coming up with what was the necessity that mothered this invention whenever I came up to a new store,” said Xenakis Koslowski, “The jewelry store always made me laugh…you knew that was someone who forgot an anniversary.”
2. The Mission Matters.
The Pentagon can get a bad name for some – the hours and work can be grueling, and it can be a drain on family life (the same mid-level professionals in demand at the Pentagon are the ones with busy family lives outside of the office). The rank structure also flies in the face of what you would find on a typical military installation. But when you get past those issues and drill into the mission and the work, many people find the opportunity is one that won’t necessarily arise again.
3. It’s Full of People Who Show Up When It’s Scary.
The Pentagon wasn’t immune to COVID and the need to shift work schedules and adjust operations when COVID hit. But it was also one of the first office buildings to go back to business as (relatively) usual.
“I think there’s a huge cultural component to that,” said Xenakis Koslowski. “This is building full of people who show up even when it’s scary – and especially when it’s scary. There was a team of people at the Pentagon working on getting us a vaccine more quickly than ever before in history. I think people are back to business. I think there’s a cultural component to this that really values collaboration.”
If the opportunity to work in the Pentagon comes up, you may feel a mixture of excitement and trepidation – that’s pretty common. The main thing is to do your homework, research your role – and remember that it truly is a unique opportunity that many will never experience.
“There’s just no greater privilege than getting to work in that environment, and maybe standing behind somebody in the gym or in line for coffee who is quite literally saving the free world,” said Xenakis Koslowski.