Nothing Compares to NSA Careers
Deputy division chief explains what makes her job ‘awesome and humbling’
May 10, 2022
Contract manager Ani A. joined NSA after five years in the private sector, which gives her the ability to compare NSA to more traditional employers.
For the record, it’s like apples and oranges. Or, in her case, baseball caps and sport socks.
After graduating from Salisbury University with a Bachelor of Science degree in marketing, she began her career in technology sales and then moved on to sports marketing with a major athletic apparel company.
“Both jobs provided zero fulfillment,” she says. “I really didn’t like sales. The things I did weren’t important or meaningful…like shipping socks to colleges.”
A friend of hers who worked at NSA mentioned that the agency was hiring. Not knowing much about the agency, she applied, won the job and was offered a salary that exceeded the low-paying sports marketing job.
“They gave us clothes and shoes, but they paid us peanuts,” she says. “NSA could have offered me less, and I still would have accepted.”
That was nearly 10 years ago, and she hasn’t regretted her decision for a minute.
Now a deputy division chief for Business Management and Acquisition, with a master’s degree paid for by the agency, she says NSA has a more objective approach to career development than the private sector.
“Popular people get promoted in the private sector,” she says. “At NSA, it’s based on performance, with structured processes and procedures for advancement.”
She also appreciates the diversity. NSA’s operating philosophy views diversity as not only a social responsibility but also a critical factor in solving difficult problems.
Ani, who was born in Tehran and moved to the United States as a five-year-old, finds that very appealing.
“It’s a rainbow of people. I even have a friend here who was also born in Tehran. It’s pretty cool to see.”
Yet, for all the perks of the job, it’s the mission that keeps the fire burning. She and a diverse cohort of colleagues work to procure the goods and services that are used to execute NSA’s mission.
“We’re the contracting people, but every role is important,” she says. “I know the tasks I'm working on and the functions I'm performing are protecting our nation and securing our future. Knowing that empowers me to work hard and show up every day and do my best.”
In fewer words, she says it’s “awesome, eye-opening and humbling,” all at once.
“It’s just a good place to stay for the long term. I have never had this level of job satisfaction before, and it's something that I value tremendously!”
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