Burning Question: Who are the most famous former feds?

Last week brought the news that Steve Carell, star of the The Office and numerous Hollywood movies, will launch a new sitcom on NBC next year that will be at least partly based on his years as a letter carrier for the Postal Service. (He claims he quit because his boss told him he wasn't very good at the job.)

That got us thinking about other federal employees (including, in this instance, postal workers), who have gone on to fame and fortune in different walks of life. Here are a few:

  • Walt Whitman worked at several agencies, including the Army Paymaster's Office, the Treasury Department and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • Clara Barton was a clerk at the U.S. Patent Office. By this account, her hiring marked "the first time a woman had received a substantial clerkship in the federal government."
  • Gerald Ford briefly worked as a park ranger at the National Park Service.

Now it's your turn: What other feds have gone on to bigger, if not necessarily better, things? To keep this manageable, let's restrict it to people who held rank-and-file federal positions, not high-level political appointees or those who have served in the military. (Although Theodore Roosevelt deserves an honorable mention for his pre-presidential appointment as head of the United States Civil Service Commission at the time the modern civil service was created). Burning Question is a recurring feature that looks at key issues and compelling stories being explored at other publications and social media sites.

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