Saturday, January 29, 2011

Observations from My Government Jobs

Last year, I worked in a government organization for the first time. In fact, I had two jobs: one with the federal government and one with a local government. Although both jobs were seasonal part time jobs, work at them confirmed many of my cynical beliefs about government. Here were some of my observations:

  • Ineffective management. In the federal government job, we were asked to sort the survey paper work multiple times, sometimes undoing the previous sort. One week, I resorted the same five boxes for four days because the information wasn't communicated between shifts.

    In my local government job, there was a significant amount of record keeping which no one seemed to read. We were required to check off each task that was required to be done. One time, the day supervisor asked my why a task wasn't done correctly. I told him that the task was done by my co-worker to which he responded, "Oh, that's right." Of course, he should have already known if he had read the paperwork we filled out from the previous night.

  • Extremely generous retirement plan. Although the federal government job had no retirement benefits, I was eligible for the retirement plan in my local government job. The local retirement plan provided and annual retirement pay of 2.2% times years of service times the average of the 3 highest salary years. Thus, I can work part time for 27 years, work full time for 3 years and get a pension of 66% of the average salary for my 3 full time years. What a deal:-)

  • Able to increase taxes for more revenue. When my federal government organization was falling behind schedule, they simply got more budget to bring in more people to do the work. When the local government was running low on money because of previous spending choice, it simply put a tax levy on the ballot, which passed.
  • Indeed, I wasn't very impressed by either government organization in which I worked. My experience reinforced my belief that smaller government should be a focus of our elected officials. For reference, I won't be reapplying to work with either organization this year or in the future.

    For more on Reflections and Musings, check back every Saturday for a new segment.

    This is not financial, employment or career advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2011 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    1 comment:

    Charles said...

    Is this satire or are you serious about sorting the survey paper work multiple times, sometimes undoing the previous sort?

    What was management's justification for that? Did they one day like it sorted by last name, then another prefer it sorted by zip code or something? It sounds like a story straight out of Office Space.

    Tell me this is satire and not reality.