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What its like working for the US government

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  • What its like working for the US government

    Saw this thread on reddit a while back and though US members might like it.

    FedWorkerThrowaway 2881 points 13 hours ago*x2

    Government work is great from a benefits standpoint and job security aspect, but you'll soon realize that it becomes incredibly degrading for your personal life.
    For one thing, government work is not meritocratic. You can work hard and do a good job, but Phil, who is currently sleeping at his desk, will get the next promotion because he was there longer than you. Oh, and the supervisor feels bad for him because he's got a wife and kids and needs to make ends meet.
    Also, its degrading because of the 10/90 principle. 10% of the people do 90% of the work. Everyone else just gets in the way or works against you. But you can't fire them because of the ridiculous benefits they get (the same ones you got). Also... supervisors are afraid to shed workers, because it weakens their budgetary position next year... less workers mean less money coming into your division, which means less "work", which means less reason for your division to exist.
    Think that's bad? Try ordering a component you need for a program. Try ordering a part that you could normally buy at Home Depot, but because some politicians want the Government to "play fair", you need to go to an approved vendor. Or, if its something there is no vendor for, you need to go out and have at least two different companies to bid on giving you that part. The process takes 5 months because the turnaround time on your paperwork to order something takes 2 weeks because the contract specialist you sent it to was an overworked 10%er, or a lazy piece of crap 90%er. Regardless, you filled out that form wrong anyway, try again.
    Even when you do things right, the bidding process is horrific. Bids don't go to the best value, but are decided upon silly factors like these:
    Small business (<100 employees or something)
    Female owned business
    Minority owned business
    Veteran owned business
    Disabled owned business
    Figures that the company who won the contract has a lousy track record, but its small one "owned" by a female minority veteran who was injured in combat. Oh, and how do they operate? You tell them what you want to order, they then buy it from home depot, upcharge it 80% for shipping and processing, and then sell it to you.
    After awhile, you slowly realize that the entire system is a grind... it just exists to burn away as much of the taxpayer dollar. You try your best to do your job right and work hard. To be a good steward of the taxpayer's dollar. But the System has got you. After awhile, you get tired of being furloughed because some morons in the Capital can't figure out how to pass a budget. You're tired of hiring freezes which limit your mobility from department to department. You get sick of the fact that when promotions open up, they go to the 90%ers and "Phils" in the office before you. Even though you get accolades and "COINS" from your superiors acknowledging your work, you can't get any financial reward. So they give you time-off awards... which are pointless since your benefits already give you excellent vacation time.
    You eventually give up. The idealism of working to better your country or your state by serving it as an employee turns into a depression-inducing commentary on the state of current affairs. Regardless if you start out as a Democrat or Republican, you slowly but sure just hate this bureaucratic mess. You begin writing your resume, updating it, and looking for new jobs. But the money and benefits you get are too good... you have a home. Kids. And a new job means moving, which no one wants to do.
    So one boring day at work, after turning on your computer, you fall asleep at your desk, while the boss is showing around a new intern. He looks idealistic and happy to have a job, and wants to make a difference and do well. You give him one look, and then you close your eyes.
    Who cares if you're sleeping, it's not like they're gonna fire you anyways.
    Edit: wow, didn't expect this to get this big. Also, thank you for the gold... this is a throwaway, but it's cool to see what that is like. Also, I haven't even scratched the surface on the bullshit American taxpayer dollars was wasted on...
    FedWorkerThrowaway comments on Working for the Public Sector is MUCH better than the Private Sector CMV
    For Gallifrey! For Victory! For the end of time itself!!

  • #2
    Didn't even get into the "different pots of money", my favorite.

    Why can we waste money for morale and welfare but can't afford toner until next fiscal year? Well they're in different pots of money.

    Imagine if you had $100 and put $25 in a seperate "pot" for rent, food, bills and booze. You buy your food, pay your rent and bills but haven't gone out drinking yet. A storm hits and your food goes bad. You can't use the money from the booze pot to rebuy your food because it is in a different pot. You can only go drinking for the rest of the week to take your mind off having no food.

    "Bother", said Poo, chambering another round.


    • #3
      This is a common theme throughout govt- if you find a way to save money or you spend less than you were budgeted for, the alarm bells ring! "Find a way to spend that money!! If you don't it will be removed from our budget and it won't come back!!" That was when I was an enlisted person managing smaller budgets for shipboard work centers, but I imagine this is common everywhere since I seem to hear it a lot. Also there is the "resume effect" as I like to call it. Now maybe it's just my jadedness speaking, but I believe bureaucrats "need" to always increase their budgets under their control whether it is needed or not because they can claim it on their list of accomplishments: Managed 8.5 million budget, 237 employees, etc. If the fiefdoms underneath them aren't as necessary as previously claimed, then maybe they aren't as necessary either. Grow or die!


      • #4
        I'm moderately sure the process described violates the Government Procurement Agreement, by disadvantaging some businesses (in particular non-US) in the bidding. Of course that only applies above 200,000 SDR (132,000 USD / 84,600 EUR).

        For cheap stuff the tender process over here is pretty simple. Submit two alternative bids to the one you want, and write up something on why you're choosing the one you want (usually: because of experience with that company). Works up to 410 EUR. For items exceeding that a GPA tender has to be submitted. Only way you get your stuff from the companies you want is by wording the tender to exactly fit the product or service you want as delivered by that company. The company that submits the cheapest bid under those circumstances gets it.

        If the fiefdoms underneath them aren't as necessary as previously claimed, then maybe they aren't as necessary either. Grow or die!

        I guess my boss is doing her job right, considering the department i work in grew by like 50% in regular staff, 30% in project staff and is currently in the process of tripling its assistant positions. Over the last six months. While she's on parental leave managing stuff remotely.


        • #5
          it's really the same with all governments; the main issue here is how a bureaucracy (whether private or public) works.

          and to describe it simply, there's two Gods in bureaucracy, continually warring against each other: the Cover-Your-Ass god and the Grow-Your-Empire god. this is true from the lowest bureaucrat to the chief at the top.
          There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov


          • #6
            Soldiers are govt. workers.
            Firemen are govt. workers.
            Coastguard rescue are govt. workers.
            Policemen are govt. workers.

            Being always negative about the government is currently the "in vogue" thing to do.

            But then, I never was the fasionable type.