In today’s world, many would say the triple crown of employment is a career that pays well, provides purpose and meaning, and allows for a good work-life balance.
Jayme Boruff, U.S. Army Financial Management Command Audit Response Center senior financial management advisor, said she believes she found such a career in civil service.
“It’s funny because joining civil service wasn’t anything I was looking to do,” said Boruff. “I was a senior attending a job fair at Purdue University, and someone I knew from the Purdue Accounting Association was recruiting for Defense Finance and Accounting Service.”
“My first thought was, ‘no way; I don’t want to join the military,’” she added. “That’s when he explained that you can work for the Department of Defense as a civilian without joining the military.”
From the moment Boruff was hired as a DFAS intern in 2004, she said she fell in love with the work.
“I love supporting Soldiers, and it became even more meaningful after meeting my husband and his brother, who was an Army command sergeant major,” Boruff explained. “I love seeing what I can do for people like him, and that’s kept me involved and interested – being able to help those Soldiers and making their lives a little easier.”
Since joining the DFAS as a new graduate, Boruff became involved in sensitive-activity and classified accounting work, where she’s spent the majority of her career.
“I was either in sensitive activities or working as a systems accountant,” she recalled.
After 11 years with DFAS, Boruff took her knowledge and experience with her to directly work for the Army at USAFMCOM.
“I was truly blessed to come over and come work for the greatest command ever,” she explained. “My leadership is incredibly supportive, vested in my advancement and always has my back.”
Today, she serves as the Army’s General Fund audit priority lead for journal vouchers and sensitive activities, supporting the Army’s audit goals as a liaison amongst independent auditors, DFAS and Army commands.
She also leads a team responsible for creating and overseeing corrective action plans that have come about as a result of audit findings.
That work includes creating new reconciliations, updating business processes, defining populations of data and ensuring Soldiers in the field understand how their daily business ultimately impacts the Army’s financial statements and audits.
As good is things are now, Boruff said her civil service career almost never happened as she was being recruited for various commercial accounting jobs.
“My uncle was a partner at a regional certified public accounting firm when I got out school, and he wanted me to come work for his firm,” she recalled. “I worked there for a bit when I first joined DFAS so I got to see both sides.”
During that time, many of the accountants at the firm asked her why she was working in civil service instead of in the commercial sector, where they said they felt she could make more money.
“I told them it’s very competitive with the salaries starting out, but the biggest thing is the work-life balance is so much better,” she recalled. “If you have to work additional hours, you get credit or paid for them, and it’s so much more than just about making money.
“My work for the government was much more meaningful, and I knew that if I was going to be working those long hours, it would have some sort of benefit to those putting their lives on the line to protect me, my family and our nation every day.”
Also keeping her engaged and motivated, Boruff said working for the citizens of the United States comes with lots of opportunities to make a difference.
“There’s so much room for improvement in government,” she explained. “If you put in the time, dig in, learn the way things work, you can easily apply new processes, technologies and automation so we work smarter, not harder, for the taxpayers.
“Sometimes you have to cut through red tape inherent to the government, but other times it’s as easy as creating an excel macro,” she added.
When asked if she made the right choice in choosing civil service over a career in the commercial accounting sector, Boruff didn’t hesitate in her response.
“Given the choice, I would absolutely still choose to work for our government and support our Soldiers,” she concluded. “I only hope to give the government as much as it has given me.”
(Editor’s note: This is the second story in a series focusing on the careers of USAFMCOM civil servants during Public Service Recognition Week, which is May 1-7, 2022.)