Finding the 'why' in your work

February 11, 2022
DHW Director Dave Jeppesen

It is my honor to serve the people of Idaho.

I became the director of Idaho’s Department of Health and Welfare (DHW) in January 2019. I came to state government from the private sector, and I looked forward to a new challenge. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was committed to do my best to help Idahoans live their best lives by supporting DHW employees as they do the real work.

I didn’t know how much it would actually change my life. Working at DHW has brought me closer to the “why” I work. It has shown me that I want my career to have meaning, that I want to serve, and that I want to make a difference in the lives of Idahoans. DHW has allowed me to do those things.

And, then the pandemic came along and challenged me and all DHW employees to innovate how we serve Idahoans, develop a flexible work environment, and provide information to help all Idahoans make informed decisions and cope with the pandemic in their own ways.

The pandemic fundamentally changed the workplace because it changed the “why” of work for many people. There has been a “great resignation” across the United States as employees search for true fulfilment in their lives and their careers. This once-in-a-lifetime event has caused people to pause and take a fresh look at how they want to spend their time and energy when it comes to their careers.

If you are searching for fulfillment in your career, DHW is a place where you can make an impact in the lives of others and the community where you live. It is a place of empathy and compassion – both for our own employees and those we serve.

That brings me back to the “why” of work. In our 2021 employee engagement survey, 92 percent of our employees indicated that the work they do is personally important to them.

The work of our employees means something to them.

Let me share part of a note we received about one of our employees from an Idahoan he served:

“…He’s as tenacious as they come, intelligent, and has never given up on us in more than a year. He was always available to my daughter and I, which in my world was unheard of. His strength and knowledge is incredible in every way imaginable. When it appeared our prospects where dim, he stepped right up and made sure we were safe.”

Our work means something to the people of Idaho, too.

If your “why” is helping Idahoans live their best lives – by connecting people to social, financial, and behavioral health services, or perhaps supporting children and families in our foster care system, or maybe providing support and information during public health crises – working at DHW is a perfect fit for you.

If you want to help, encourage, and lift up the vulnerable citizens of our state, we are your “why.” If you are interested in a career change that will provide meaning to you, and others, please visit our DHW website careers page and see how you can be of service to your neighbors and communities.

I hope you all safe and healthy weekend.