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February 11th, 2010:

To serve the public, and be appreciated for it

Today is Employee Appreciation Day in my neck of the woods.

Yeah, I know most non public servants believe that the PS is a rat’s nest full of lazy and overpaid bumpkins, whatever.
Or as XUP put it in a recent post when talking about our pensions:

Our pay increases over the last decade or so have been below cost of living increases and our next contract will probably just maintain the status quo. We’ve had staffing freezes and freezes on all expenditures. This means we’re working on ancient equipment and sitting on broken down furniture in underheated or overheated buildings. What people don’t understand about government employees is that we’ve traded a lot for some sort of job and pension security. Entry level jobs probably pay better than the private sector, but after that we are equal to or less than what could be earned privately. You can work your ass off in the government and you will never get promoted based on merit, you will never get bonuses or incentives, you will never be rich. There will be no gold watch when you retire, no Christmas bonuses, no gifts, no perks. And our day-to-day job gives little personal satisfaction. We are tiny cogs in a big, impersonal machine. Our work will rarely be recognized. We will never be movers or shakers.And we can be working hard on something for months only to have the whole thing cancelled all of a sudden with no explanation. Have you ever had to deal with a government department for anything? Were you frustrated? Whatever frustration you felt, multiply that by at least 10 and that’s what it’s like on the inside. But we stay because security is more important than all that stuff and that’s seriously the ONLY reason most of us are still here. And everybody hates us, mocks us and thinks we have such a cushy gig.

But let me tell you about the folks that I’m in charge of.

This bunch is a collection of hard-working, intelligent and motivated Canadians. They’re folks who take what they do seriously, professionally and do it well. I am proud to work with them and mostly everyone else with whom I have had the pleasure to do so in my 12 1/2 years of serving the Canadian public.

They are my family beyond my family and when I do eventually retire (or am booted out!), I will have many, many years of great memories to take with me.

Are there those in the PS at large who fit that negative image that is so popular? Of course there are! But any very large organization will have staff of this ilk and we are no different. It’s just that the PS is such an easy target and one can easily overlook those lazy slobs that are certain to exist in companies like Xerox, Microsoft, Ford and the TD bank.

Except for the guy 4th from the right (who is an Honorary Member of our group), this is my team on the Canal at lunchtime earlier this week. Missing are three folks – one had another engagement, one of whom was on course and the other was ill.

Thanks guys!

(2450)