I am DOL: Vanessa Ross on a Fulfilling Career in Public Service

Editor’s note: In our “I Am DOL” series, we’re highlighting employees who work in a wide range of roles at the Department of Labor but who all share a passion for public service. Stay tuned for more stories, and explore current job openings at the department today

Vanessa Ross, a claims examiner in the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, helps make sure that workers injured or sickened on the job receive the benefits they’re entitled to. 

Suffering an injury on the job can be devastating, and Vanessa Ross knows what it’s like to go through hard times. That’s why she says it is so rewarding to help others in her role as a claims examiner for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs, where she has worked since 2013. 

"Based off of everything that I've been through, to know that I'm able to help somebody that's at this critical moment in their life, and to be the person that they're coming to to find that direction, it gives me fulfillment,” she shared. “The severity of their injury might mean that they can't go back to work. That's a hard pill to swallow for somebody. But let's talk about our options that maybe he didn't know were available.” 

Working as a claims examiner is a stimulating job, she noted, because each person's case may be unique: “One thing I love about this job is that I'm always learning.” 

During the pandemic, many Labor Department employees like Vanessa were able to work remotely. And last year, as more began to return to their offices, she decided to stay 100% remote. It’s an arrangement that fits her needs best as an employee, a mom and a person with a disability – and she has the full support of her agency. 

“The reason why you should come work for OWCP and DOL is because you have the ability to make an impact,” she said. “You have the flexibility of not only having a job that supports you and in what you want to do outside of work, but you have a safety net. You feel like you can do it all when you work for the Department of Labor in a sense of [your] work life, home life, personal life. It's a good fit for all.”