Government is a system established by a community, city, state, or country to develop laws, policies, and programs that work for the good of its citizens. The failings and strengths of the U.S. government as well as the desire to change things for the better, and the ability of government to enable this change is what attracts people to careers in city, state, and federal offices. The Foreign Service, the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, the political science departments of colleges and universities, and the media all attract thousands of professionals every year who are anxious to be involved in, or to comment upon, the decisions that affect the people of the country.

Local, state, and federal officials, such as governors, state legislators, and U.S. Congress members must be elected to their positions by campaigning and attracting voters. Political candidates running for office typically employ a staff that works for his or her election and presents a candidate's views to the public. The higher the office, the more workers are needed for the candidate to succeed. To fill many of these positions, candidates rely on volunteers whose activities are usually coordinated by a paid, full-time general office staff.

Once elected, government officials must then carry out the work of their office, working together with other elected officials as well as various government branches and departments. Most elected officials maintain a staff. In Washington, D.C., the staff that assists Congress is quite large. Each representative has an administrative assistant to run the office in Washington, and other assistants are hired to work in offices in the congressperson's home state.

Many of those workers involved in government are not elected. Lobbyists are frequently former government employees familiar with the offices and the staff they are lobbying. Think tanks perform research and develop reports on social, technological, business, or othe...