Anyone out there who thinks that government employees are overpaid, lazy people who can’t get a job in the private sector, think again. Most of us have been employed in the private sector at one time or another. Many of us will return to the private sector again at some point in the future. That’s where I’ll be once again when I can no longer take the stress of being a government employee. While I can only speak for myself, I am in this job, because I want to make a difference. I believe in what I do, and that means something to me. I’ve been in jobs before where I was nothing but a corporate drone. Now I’m in the trenches, and most of the time I like that. Although, all too often the people I am fighting for perceive me as an enemy or “one of the bad guys.”
It is a frustrating and often thankless position. When you work for the government, you don’t get raises based on merit. In fact, our pay has been frozen for quite sometime. (No new taxes! Less staff. Less money. Still the same amount of work!) If you receive an award, there are no accolades to be had beyond your own personal sense of accomplishment. The “boss” doesn’t pat you on the back, because your boss is thousands of tax payers who often view you as a lazy waster of their tax dollars. There are no bonuses, not even a card at Christmastime.
This past week has been terrible on so many levels. Multiple projects have fallen apart. Months of work out the window at the whim of developers who became greedy, slum lords who angrily opposed positive changes in a blighted neighborhood because they would have had a slight tax increase, and a council that doesn’t support their own goals. Everyone around me is in a sour mood. There is defeat in the air. I had thought that I was getting a thicker skin, but apparently I was wrong. I even thought that I was getting jaded. No so. I have been mightily disappointed, too. The press has been annoying. I received calls on my personal cell phone over the weekend.
On top of it all, next year’s budget goes to council for approval tonight. Revenues are down, but our belts have already been tightened these past few years. What more can be cut? I have seen people fighting to keep jobs this week, not their own jobs, but those of their worried staff members. Goals have been set, but there are no resources available to accomplish those goals. It’s enough to make a less persistent person throw up their hands and say, “Screw it!”
I’m worn out and feeling defeated. I don’t mean to be negative or depressing, but I did need to take a moment to vent. The past few days have felt like I’ve been knocked down, then knocked down, then knocked down again.
One thing my years of experience has taught me: This too shall pass.