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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!


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  1. Having been a soldier, a civil servant and a corporate drone, I can say conclusively that while the civil service probably has more slackers per capita simply because there is little connection between the amount of useful work done and advancement, the WORST douchebags are definitely in private industry where there are plenty of people who do anti-work (the crap they do not only doesn’t get their job done, but messes up other people’s stuff AND makes other people look bad while the d-bag manages to get away scott-free).

  2. dave1949 says:

    The one thing you can count on in Canada is that the power block doesn’t need to spend much time and effort fighting workers cause the workers will do it for them. See others bewailing pensions cause they don’t have them, instead of doing something to get them.

    As for the public service of course there are dregs in any group this big but by and large you are right. Staff that goes to work and does the job they are assigned.

    I wonder if people in Haiti or nearly any other country would like to swap our public service for theirs. I know I prefer ours.

    Tody or in June, heck both times consider yourselves appreciated by at least one citizen.

    1. trashee says:

      Thanks Dave!

  3. Mike says:

    Speaking as someone who has worked WITH the public service for years, I concurr in your assessment. Most of the people there aren’t lazy, but many do suffer motivation deficiencies as it becomes apparent that they have been pigeonholed into a position for life.

    Most of the public service has been great to work with, and I have had two directors try and get me hired on as staff at the culmination of various projects. I am, however, unemployable as far as the government is concerned.

    Oh sure, they might keep PAYING me to do technical work. But they can’t hire me because, well – I’m white, I have a penis, and my French isn’t good enough. As such, clearly those I will be a total flop as an employee. We all now how much french is required in coding software after all! So…… they’ll just keep paying me 40 or 50K/year more than I’d be happy to take as a CS-3. After all, they wouldn’t want to bloat the public service by giving me an employee ID now would they?

  4. Ken says:

    Aha! I knew it! PS employees are just faceless bureaucrats! Your picture proves it!


    😉 heheheheh

    1. trashee says:

      @ Ken – LOL! I guess we are!

  5. trashee says:

    Yeah – I meant to write Employee Appreciation Day… d’oh.

  6. XUP says:

    I thought Public Service Week and Day was in June?

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