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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-20-2005, 03:51 PM   #21
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Re: Stories from working in government

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...What a waste of resources.
We cannot depend on the government to be accoutable for efficiency and effectiveness. It's tax player's money and borrowed funds (from bonds) - do they really care? They are however vey effective in spending your money and introducing more complicated regulations and policies.

As the old saying says, "They (government workers) check in, but they never check out.."
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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-20-2005, 03:59 PM   #22
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Re: Stories from working in government

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Originally Posted by yAyA
My experience is . I wouldn't even hire half the peeps I work with. Where I work it's definitely great for those who are only talented in working the system and sucking up because if you actually know something and have a life outside of work, you're considered odd and probably won't go far.
Describes where I work as well.
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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-20-2005, 04:08 PM   #23
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Re: Stories from working in government

I hnow a few people working for the local government. A friend of mine works for the DA office. He says that the attorneys get to work at 9am, read the newspaper for 2 hours, work out for an hour, spend another hour for lunch, work for 2 hours and then go home.

Here is a typical day for a civil engineer (in traffic management) for the LA county: arrive work at 8:30a, chat with fellow engineers for a couple of hours, go out to observe the traffic to determine additional meters or traffic lights are needed for a couple of hours and go home.

So, what do I think about government jobs? I think they are great - low stress, job security and great benefits.
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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-20-2005, 04:16 PM   #24
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Re: Stories from working in government

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Originally Posted by bruce1
You sometimes have to be very thick skinned to be a* government worker. Being cussed out* for being a lazy bum by someone who you are trying to help wears very thin very quickly otherwise.

Oh yes this person is* also positive that they are personally paying your salary and that they will get you fired tomorrow.
Bruce
Ding Ding! Clue bus arriving! They are paying your salary. It isn't made any less onerous by the fact that it is extorted from them at gunpoint.Though I admit it is handy for you.

Ha
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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-20-2005, 04:31 PM   #25
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Re: Stories from working in government

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Originally Posted by HaHa
Ding Ding! Clue bus arriving! They are paying your salary. It isn't made any less onerous by the fact that it is extorted from them at gunpoint.Though I admit it is handy for you.
Hmm, what we have here is a case of conflicting viewpoints. I think I know how we can fix it. When we pay taxes, the government can tell us exactly how they'll spend our money. Maybe they can have an "adopt a government worker" program. And Ha will get a nice thank-you note from Emma-Jean Gonzales in the Mission, Texas post office for personally paying her salary this year. Then Ha can evaluate her performance and personally fire her if he feels he's not getting his money's worth. Let's give tax payers some real responsibility -- each one of us will become the hiring manager for our own personal government employee!
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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-20-2005, 04:44 PM   #26
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Re: Stories from working in government

Having attended both a public and private college, I was treated more or less the same at both places, and I experienced a similar amount of ineptitude and pleasantness at both places. Of course, this is just anecdotal evidence, and others' experiences are probably different.

Perhaps a problem [with both public and private sector people] is that there is a lack of incentive for good customer service [or whatever], and probably a lack of measurement to create an incentive. For example, if I get raises, promotions, etc., based on some measure [like how many files I process on time], if push comes to shove, you can bet your sweet a** that those other parts of the job that aren't measured [like answering phones] are going to suffer.

Or perhaps I know that if I do a really, really good job and I get my work done early or are very efficient, I'll get more work without proper compensation [I know it's a strech eh 8)]. Again, no incentives to be efficient. So, is it a problem with the people that work at that place, or a problem with the place at which people work?

- Alec
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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-20-2005, 05:29 PM   #27
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Re: Stories from working in government

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Originally Posted by Spanky
I hnow a few people working for the local government. A friend of mine works for the DA office. He says that the attorneys get to work at 9am, read the newspaper for 2 hours, work out for an hour, spend another hour for lunch, work for 2 hours and then go home.

Here is a typical day for a civil engineer (in traffic management) for the LA county: arrive work at 8:30a, chat with fellow engineers for a couple of hours, go out to observe the traffic to determine additional meters or traffic lights are needed for a couple of hours and go home.

So, what do I think about government jobs? I think they are great - low stress, job security and great benefits.*
You forgot "boring". If your brain doesn't work anyway, then it sounds like a good career choice.

JG
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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-20-2005, 05:36 PM   #28
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Re: Stories from working in government

Yes, the Dunbar life ala Catch-22. Keep it boring so it seems even longer.
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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-20-2005, 05:41 PM   #29
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Re: Stories from working in government

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Originally Posted by wab
And Ha will get a nice thank-you note from Emma-Jean Gonzales in the Mission, Texas post office for personally paying her salary this year.* * Then Ha can evaluate her performance and personally fire her if he feels he's not getting his money's worth.*
Congratulations Wab!* You have certainly succeeded in making my post look silly.

Ha
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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-20-2005, 06:05 PM   #30
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Re: Stories from working in government

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Hmm, what we have here is a case of conflicting viewpoints.* * I think I know how we can fix it.* * When we pay taxes, the government can tell us exactly how they'll spend our money.* *Maybe they can have an "adopt a government worker" program.* * And Ha will get a nice thank-you note from Emma-Jean Gonzales in the Mission, Texas post office for personally paying her salary this year.* * Then Ha can evaluate her performance and personally fire her if he feels he's not getting his money's worth.* * Let's give tax payers some real responsibility --* each one of us will become the hiring manager for our own personal government employee!
All we need is Sally Struthers. For the cost of a cup of coffee......

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So, what do I think about government jobs? I think they are great - low stress, job security and great benefits.
I think the point is that job security is not the selling point that it used to be with so many cuts. Low stress sounds like a euphemism for "not doing anything important". It seems that most workers would want some kind of challenge.

- also, martha, do you want anybody that is a jerk to be fired?

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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-20-2005, 06:38 PM   #31
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Re: Stories from working in government

I'm a gov't contractor, and we support a lot of high-level gov't people, and from what I've seen, it's almost impossible for a gov't person to get fired. And in many ways, that seems to trickle down to us contractors. In my 13 years of service, I can't recall a single gov't employee who was fired, and only one contractor who was flat-out fired.

And here's what it took for her to get fired. Her hours were 8:30-5, with a 30 minute lunch break (you could take longer, but would have to make up the time). Well, it was a miracle if you saw her before 9. She'd usually take a 2-hour lunch. And when our supervisor left at 4, she's look out the window and watch him leave, and be gone a few minutes later. That wasn't what got her canned, though.

She had a habit of trying to play the race card, and would cry discrimination at the drop of a hat. At one point, she tried to pin a bunch of crap on our supervisor, and actually tried to take us all down with false allegations of discrimination. Well, they offered her a new position, back at the headquarters building. Turns out it was so they could actually keep closer tabs on her. After about 2 weeks, they canned her. Right after she came back from one of her two hour lunches, they told her to pack her things and leave.

Then there was the one who was running her own desktop publishing company on gov't equipment. Whenever real work came up, she'd scramble at the last minute and we'd all have to pitch in and help her get her assignments done, because her personal work took so much of her time. Well, she ended up getting carpal tunnel syndrome, went out on permanent disability, and tried to sue the company. The company ended up printing every single document they could find off her hard drive, disks, etc, and when it went to court they determined she spent 90% of her time doing personal work and 10% doing her job. So in the end, her personal work gave her the carpal tunnel. Case dismissed, and in a rare instance of common sense, true justice was served!

Now a couple years ago, our company lost the contract and the new one picked up everybody except two people. One of them was this disabled man in his 50's who was maybe 5-2 and an easy 300 pounds. Very sexist, too. He'd actually brag about how much more he made than the women he worked with who did the same job. Turns out he bragged too much, I guess, and the new company decided he was too much dead weight. So he wasn't fired so much as laid off.

There's also a desk up in that same area where they tend to stick people who are between positions. When a position gets eliminated, or even if someone gets transferred for doing a bad job, our company tries hard not to fire them. They'll stick them up at this desk as a last resort, and let them scan documents and other busy work type of tasks. There was a woman up there that, now that I think about it, called out alot and took a lot of sick leave. Or just leave without pay. She didn't get picked up either when we switched companies.
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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-20-2005, 06:46 PM   #32
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Re: Stories from working in government

And now...back to our topic...

...do you feel that you went down the wrong career path?...Do you think there is as much stability as you thought there would be when you started your career? Has the polarized political scene (on the state and federal levels) caused disruption?


During my 27 years affiliated with both state and Fed careers as an aircraft mechanic/Systems Analyst, I am pleased to have emerged in good shape near the end of this part of my life. *You don't have to be a current history buff in order to know the current state of employment stability in the airline industry. *Even as a second tier fed retiree (FERS vs CSRS) gonna' be, FIRE will be mine in about three years. *

The only disruption due to the scene for me would be being a Blue State employee in a Red State Agency (ANG).

dc
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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-20-2005, 07:00 PM   #33
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Re: Stories from working in government

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Originally Posted by ((^+^)) SG
Hi YaYa,
Do you work in the public or private sector.* It seems to me that your description of your work environment applies pretty equally to both.

I guess that goes for most of the comments in this thread.* The government does not have a corner on the market for lazy and incompetent bureaucrats.* Large companies are very competitive in this area.* And unreasonable customers who threaten to get you fired are pervasive.* I don't think they care much who the employer is.*
*
I work in the public sector and I have to agree that my description can apply to both. However, I 'm sure many of my co-workers would be fired in the private sector. The things people do and complain about is just crazy. I actually know a co-worker who complained about not getting a job that he didn't even apply for Being around peeps with that type of attitude everyday is tired and one of the many reasons I plan on leaving
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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-21-2005, 08:47 AM   #34
 
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Re: Stories from working in government

Well, since the bloviators are either breathless or (finally) popped their aneurisms, I will try to address some of your original questions.

Since this is an early retirement forum, I will start with your unasked question:* Yes, the pensions are good.* I was able to put in my retirement papers at age 47 (with some maneuvering) and will receive a comfortable federal pension by today's standards.

Further upside:* although it was time to move on, I enjoyed my career.* I was able to work on interesting high visibility projects that simply are not performed by the private sector.* Most positions are relatively stable.* Those that are not stable, almost by definition, have corresponding jobs in the private sector.* Newer federal employees are covered by a retirement plan that is quite portable--FERS--so they are not locked into their jobs to the same extent that I was.* Nowadays you can try it for a while, and if it's not your thing, move on.* It is fairly easy to move about within the federal government.* I worked a variety of positions--pawing through people's dirty underwear, tacking up fallout shelter signs, working as a caseworker--before I finally settled down into the position best suited to my talents: feet up on the desk, making paper dolls, all the time consumed with wistful dreams of early retirement.

The polarized political scene filters down in mixed ways.* I have friends within the EPA that are currently extremely discouraged.* They still have their jobs, though.* Anecdotally, I used to read reports of lack of morale within the DOD during the Carter administration.* Everything is cyclic.* Unless you have designs on the Senior Executive Service, you should be somewhat insulated from the politics.*

The downside is that you occasionally have to deal with large red-faced individuals three inches from your face who bellow, "BUT I PAY YOUR SALARY."* Usually, I could just put myself into a meditative place while I contemplated their throbbing forehead vein.* And if that didn't work?* Just torture them further.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maddythebeagle
I know that a few of you do. What is going on and do you feel that you went down the wrong career path?* Do you think there is as much stability as you thought there would be when you started your career? Has the polarized political scene (on the state and federal levels) caused disruption?
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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-21-2005, 08:50 AM   #35
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Re: Stories from working in government

A survey of 10,000 workers revealed that wasting time in the workplace is hardly limited to government employees. http://accounting.smartpros.com/x48929.xml

According to the survey, the average worker in the survey admitted to wasting 2.09 hours per day, versus 2.4 for the average surveyed government worker. That's a difference of 18.6 minutes, or an additional 3.8 percent of an 8 hour day.

There were also regional differences.

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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-21-2005, 09:01 AM   #36
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Re: Stories from working in government

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Originally Posted by maddythebeagle



- also, martha, do you want anybody that is a jerk to be fired?

Only the ones I have to deal with.

I was tempted to give more of the story and be specific as to this guys jerkiness, but I did not want to run the risk that someone might figure out who he is and who he works for. But trust me, everyone who deals with him wants him canned.
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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-21-2005, 09:19 AM   #37
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Re: Stories from working in government

I think some of you who have been bashing public employees as lazy, incompetent, etc. are generalizing too much. Isn't it possible that the public employees who work hard and do their jobs competently just don't get noticed by the public? They may represent the vast majority of public employees. They try to do the best job they can within the constraints imposed by the structure of public agencies. I will grant you that all of my experience was in scientific and engineering federal agencies where the workforce was quite highly motivated. The "service" agencies with much more public contact have a higher chance of pissing off a tax payer and so get most of the bad rap.

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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-21-2005, 09:21 AM   #38
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Re: Stories from working in government

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Originally Posted by Martha
Only the ones I have to deal with.*

I was tempted to give more of the story and be specific as to this guys jerkiness, but I did not want to run the risk that someone might figure out who he is and who he works for.* But trust me, everyone who deals with him wants him canned.* *
Hi Martha! *You reminded me of my story about the time I took over running a small aerospace company. *They had a V.P. who everyone
wanted canned. *I thought I could salvage him (my ego again)
and kept him on for months while he made everyone miserable.
Finally dumped his sorry ass. *I should have listened to the folks
who had been working there for years.

JG
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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-21-2005, 09:27 AM   #39
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Re: Stories from working in government

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Hi Martha! You reminded me of my story about the time I took over running a small aerospace company. They had a V.P. who everyone
wanted canned. I thought I could salvage him (my ego again)
and kept him on for months while he made everyone miserable.
Finally dumped his sorry ass. I should have listened to the folks
who had been working there for years.

JG
Welcome back JG! Rumors of your demise were greatly exagerated.

Grumpy
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Re: Stories from working in government
Old 11-21-2005, 09:41 AM   #40
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Re: Stories from working in government

Most of my experience with Fed. gov. workers has been limited to regulatory agencies. I am sure this give me a distorted view of things so I will keep those horror stories to myself. 8)

I have a close friend that works for the local county government. She was recently forced out of her department into ER; she was not ready and was not prepared for the cut in pension she will not suffer. She was 63. It amazes me that they can get away with this. She has been working in that same department for well over 20 years and many newer (younger) folks have been hired in the past few years. She and her husband are not well off at all. He had to take ER 15 years ago due to reductions in force and he had moved around a lot and did not have much in the way of a pension. He got creamed in the tech. tail spin in 2000 so his income is restricted. They were counting on a full County pension; now that is also reduced.

The bottom line would seem to be, that private industry and the gov. can both screw you so you better get your ducks in a row as soon as you can because there are no "sure things" anymore.

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