Does the term "a career official" mean that they are especially eager to be continuously promoted and get higher and higher positions or what? An example of that phrase can be found in this Washington Post article:

The president and his aides also regarded her as a career official and consequently suspicious, according to officials with knowledge of the president’s views.

  • Article is behind paywall. Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 19:52
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    This question may be better suited for politics.stackexchange.com. In brief, a career official (as opposed to a political appointee) is someone who has risen through the ranks of an organization, in particular a government agency, rather than being appointed for a limited term by a political office holder.
    – TypeIA
    Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 19:53
  • A career official is a salaried government employee, as distinct from a politician or political appointee. Commented Feb 13, 2020 at 19:54

1 Answer 1


It is similar to the concept of a "career politician", a person who sees bureaucracy or government as a life-long career rather than a temporary appointment. This is because it's common in the US for many people in elected and unelected government offices to have worked a regular job or trade before getting into politics later in life, and then to return to the regular workforce after serving in government.

So, essentially, saying somebody is a "career official" or "career politician" indicates they got into politics a relatively young age and have stayed, or intend to stay, involved in politics for their entire working life.

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    I would make a distinction between a 'career official' who is a permanent civil servant, who serves the government of the day, and a political appointee, whose position is dependent on whichever political party is in power, or the favour of its leader, whether he or she is a career politician or not. Commented Feb 14, 2020 at 17:32

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