NASA has been taking quite a beating lately from professional groups, industry experts, Washington cognoscenti and even some of the same lawmakers who have helped create a muddied agenda for the renowned space and aeronautics agency. You might think that with so much atmospheric hand-wringing, NASA's employees are as unhappy as foot soldiers in a WWI trench. Right?
Apparently, NASA workers didn't get the memo.
According to the latest Partnership for Public Service rankings, NASA is rated by its own employees as the best, large federal agency at which to work. Moreover, according to quotes in a Washington Post article, it's because NASA's workers generally feel they have more clarity over their mission now than before.
“Our future was not as clear when people said goodbye to the shuttle,’’ Jeri Buchholz, NASA’s personnel director, tells the Post. “But people rolled into new projects. They knew there really was a future in space exploration.”
Of course, the two issues are not exactly in opposition. It is logical for NASA workers to feel more clarity now versus when the last shuttle mission landed, even as knowledgeable observers and leaders fret that Washington is messing up the one, key job it plays in helping NASA achieve great technological feats, i.e., giving the agency a commonly agreed-upon and well-defined mission like landing an astronaut on the moon. Let's hope lawmakers and agency officials understand they may be on borrowed time.