Despite being forced to quit her advanced studies to support her family, Carson decided to try for a job in the civil service. It was 1935 and President Franklin Roosevelt had expanded the number of government jobs to help dig the country out of the Great Depression.
Carson sat the civil service exam and aced it. In fact, she outperformed every other applicant. Given her background in marine biology, it seems natural that she was soon employed by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries (later the Department of Fish and Wildlife). In fact, she became the second woman ever hired by that agency.
In 1936, she was made a junior aquatic biologist, and in 1943 she was promoted to aquatic biologist. Much of her work at the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries involved research and writing. During World War II, Carson was part of a team investigating the nature of underwater sounds and terrain to help the Navy with the development of its submarine program [source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service]. She also authored pamphlets targeted at housewives, providing information on how best to cook fish, given wartime meat-rationing [source: Lepore].