Do Government Workers Work?

I have been working for a government department for almost 7 years. People I know regularly ask what it is really like. Let’s face it, we have all heard the stories about government workers.

My friends trust me, as I have a well earned reputation for honesty, and other traditional moral values. I am a Grandpa, and I am not always politically correct, but I am honest.

When I walked in the door in July 2002, I was not sure what to expect. The post 9/11 world had been hard on my income as an IT free-lancer, and so even a job in government was one I was willing to risk. I was hurting financially, and the pay was pretty decent.

It did not take me long to form an opinion. The group I was assigned to (mainly administrative people) had the odd little petty issues with each other and others, but we were an awesome team when it came to work, and we worked hard.

I later got a position in a much larger group that was mainly IT workers, and continued to take note of the average work ethic and the group dynamics that existed. Again, I have to say that the vast majority earn their salaries, and for the most part work well as a team.

That said, I have one serious “complaint”.

I have seen too many cases of people promoted beyond their abilities. Much higher percentage than I ever experienced in the private sector. Sometimes people talk about “expected” promotions that are based more on seniority than skills. This is an issue that I have not been willing to ruffle feathers over. I have wanted to! Managers are always talking about promotions based on merit, but there is no way that some of my co-workers should be making the kind of money they make, with the technical and soft skills that they have.

These “over-promoted” people come in two basic flavours. People with “friends” and people who seem to successfully argue from the long service record point of view. It is this Grandpa’s opinion that there are too many of them.

Final Point Regarding Over-Promoted People

Why would a manager accept an employee into a high paying job, when the employee cannot really handle some of the work, thus causing the manager to have to outsource some of that work? Wouldn’t it make the manager look bad?

I have even heard stories of managers fighting re-organizations because it would mean them giving up or sharing an employee who was worth their salary. ( but those are just rumours 🙂 )

Now It Is Your Turn

Are you, or have you been, a government worker? Leave a comment.

p.s. Would I recommend a career in the public sector? Yes. Governments tend to be large employers and this allows a wide variety of potential careers. Having experience with a number of departments with the same employer can make for an excellent resume, and can lead to excellent and challenging work whether you remain with the public sector, or head out into the private sector.