I first found out about the President’s SAVE Award through an email which was circulated throughout the Social Security Administration (SSA) encouraging employees to submit their ideas for participation in the President's SAVE Award. I felt that there would be so much competition and so many great ideas that would save taxpayers money and allow the Federal Government to function better, that any idea that I could think of would probably be like a needle in a haystack.
I debated as to whether or not I should submit anything.
On the final day (the contest submission deadline), I gathered my courage and jumped into the race. Once I submitted my idea of allowing online scheduling of Social Security appointments, I said to myself, "It’s done and now I can continue with business-as-usual.” Very little did I know that my idea would be selected as one of the four finalists.
Becoming a finalist among more than 38,000 candidates is one of the greatest accomplishments in both my career and my life. I received tremendous support from my family, church, friends and co-workers.
I knew that my family, church and friends would support me but when I received countless congratulations and other positive and motivations emails and recognition, my excitement grew overwhelmingly. Just the opportunity to go from being a regular Federal worker with simple ideas to almost making it to the White House with those ideas was amazing. I received so much positive feedback from co-workers and the general public in regards to the idea that I really do hope it’s taken into consideration to be implemented.
I think that this contest was a great opportunity for government officials and executives to see that the frontline workers can contribute in making the workplace a better environment for the citizens and more cost effective for the taxpayers. Getting ideas for improving the agencies from the workers who actually deal with and go through the processes on a daily basis was ingenious. It's an excellent way to improve government agencies by making the best use of time and money.
Although I may not have made it to the White House, I will always remember the experience of trying to get there and the support that everyone gave to me. I am looking forward to other opportunities like this in the future.
Christie Dickson works for the Social Security Administration in Birmingham, AL