Thursday, September 23, 2010


we've been down here for a little while now, and i've been meaning to blog about the work environment. i'm posted in the national center for influenza and respiratory diseases, division of bacterial disease, meningitis + vaccine preventable disease branch. aka NCIRD/DBD/MVPDB. you can tell i'm working for the federal government.

the cdc (centers for disease control and prevention) (i'm not sure how the P got left off the acronym) is an interesting mix between academia and government agency. research and advocacy. trying to balance itself between pushing the barriers of public health science and serving the good old american taxpayer. i think the tension is nicely summed up in this picture:

chicken salad (chicken salad!!!) in a cdc vending machine. a nod to the common man who wants to obtain his food from a mechanical dispenser. but an unwillingness to just let him enjoy his M&Ms. (and a strange offering from the folks who often do food-borne outbreak investigations).

the push and pull between university-like and government-like environments is also evident in what people are wearing . there doesn't really seem to be a dress code, although i did come across this poster describing how you should have your facial hair if you are going to get a physical exam at the CDC clinic (why they care about the length of your mustache if you need to get your blood pressure and some labs checked didn't really make sense to me either):

anyway, most workers here dress like your run of the mill public health nerd (not actually cdc workers as far as i know):

but this is the federal government and we have a mission to protect the nation's health, a mission that to a large degree rests on the shoulders of the US public health service. they are part of the military, actual commissioned officers! (without guns though). so there are a good number of people walking around (uncomfortably, it seems) in military uniforms:

and then of course there are the folks that dress like this:
but more about that next time....


  1. R-missle, you're really being shamed now. Jonnyrocket had to step in for your fashion debt to the blog.

  2. Yeah yeah, but how was the chicken salad???

  3. This just makes me hungry for more. Maybe October can be Take The Blog To Work month. Pictorial essays from City Planning, Ashley's architecture firm, Josh F's favorite cafe, and Sol's telecommunications underworld.

  4. Tremendous idea! As soon as I have a job, I'm in.

  5. Jon, have you worn one of those suits? On a related note, are you in the same building where they defuse dirty bombs?