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#1
Old 12-02-2016, 08:41 AM
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"Government Workers are Lazy and Inefficient" attitude?

I have overheard so many conversations where people claim that all government workers are lazy, stupid, inefficient, etc., to the point where they "probably couldn't even get a job in the private sector". How long has this attitude been going on?

I have noticed it since the 1980s, when I first entered the workforce. Did people think like this in the 1940s - 1970s, as well? Or is it a more recent phenomenon?
#2
Old 12-02-2016, 09:08 AM
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#3
Old 12-02-2016, 09:38 AM
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It comes from people who begrudge paying one penny for the continued existence of America.

"Its a Free Country, Aint it? Like a Free Club!"
"You can act free while here, yeah... but you have to pay to keep the buildings open. Just like at your free club."
"Thats Unconstitutional!"
"Go to a different club then. You're money is good at any club on the planet. Door's Thataway."

Because taxes are taken from their checks, any person or service that is paid with The People's Money to keep America open as a "Going Concern" must be lazy.
Its also resentment because "FICA" doesn't mean they can't hi their butts down to those workers offices in muddy cowboy boots and boss people around to get their '25 cents worth'.
#4
Old 12-02-2016, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Count Blucher View Post
It comes from people who begrudge paying one penny for the continued existence of America.

"Its a Free Country, Aint it? Like a Free Club!"
"You can act free while here, yeah... but you have to pay to keep the buildings open. Just like at your free club."
"Thats Unconstitutional!"
"Go to a different club then. You're money is good at any club on the planet. Door's Thataway."

Because taxes are taken from their checks, any person or service that is paid with The People's Money to keep America open as a "Going Concern" must be lazy.
Its also resentment because "FICA" doesn't mean they can't hi their butts down to those workers offices in muddy cowboy boots and boss people around to get their '25 cents worth'.
This attitude is not unique to the USA... we have it to a certain extent in the UK (but not as bad, for sure). Perhaps it's prevalent in capitalist countries, where the idea persists that people only work hard in order to make money for themselves.
#5
Old 12-02-2016, 10:39 AM
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Instances of lousy service abound in the private sector as well.

However, special angst is directed towards government employees because of the perception that "we pay their salaries!".

Also, stuff like this doesn't help.
#6
Old 12-02-2016, 10:49 AM
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I really don't think it has as much to do with the "we pay their salaries" thing as is being suggested. In the military, there are a lot of offices that are 100% civilian run. Government employees. We're all being paid by the same taxes. We military and those civilian government employees are being paid by the same taxes. And we also both pay taxes, but if I argued that I was paying that civilian's salary, he/she could argue the same about me, because he/she is also paying taxes that pay me.

Anyway, so there is clearly no "we pay their salaries" mechanism at work.
Yet, without fail, it is very well accepted that all civilian government employees are lazy and often stupid. It sure does feel that way. I'm sure there is a lot of confirmation bias going on. But the opinion mentioned in the OP very accurately describes the opinion that most of the military has about most of the civilian government employees. And it has nothing to do with taxes or paying of salaries.
#7
Old 12-02-2016, 10:56 AM
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I think there is a great deal of confirmation bias in most tales of stupid or lazy government workers. People tend to remember the problems and forget the hundreds of other times that government workers have come to their aid and worked hard on their behalf. I'll admit I've got a good dozen or so stories of morons behind agency desks I've encountered. However when I look back at all the various agencies and departments I've dealt with over the decades the morons were clearly a very small percentage of the people I encountered.

I also think some of attitude is old-fashioned envy by people who wish they had the kind of job security and protection civil service and other government employee systems offer.

Last edited by ZPG Zealot; 12-02-2016 at 10:57 AM.
#8
Old 12-02-2016, 11:00 AM
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The issue is that protections against firing a government employee are strong. For managers, it is easier to promote an incompetent person than to fire them, if the goal is to get them out of the organization.

This is combined with the fact in the private sector, generally there is a profit concern -- even if there are similar protections against termination, the company's financial health creates a strong motive to remove under-performing people that can mitigate the difficulty.

So government provides an environment where there is no strong motive to get rid of the under-performing employee and a great barrier to doing so.

Frankly, I am amazed at the substantial percentage of government employees that have a strong work ethic even in the face of their ill-performing colleagues. It's one thing to show up, work hard, and leave on time when not only your boss but the corporate culture demand it; it's another to do so even when you know you could get away with slacking.
#9
Old 12-02-2016, 11:00 AM
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Probably has much to do with the places people most frequently have to deal with a government employee: the DMV, post office, the airport. These are all near-universally unpleasant places, all prominently featuring long lines and the perception that the employees are taking their sweet-ass time, when really in a many cases it's simply because of limitations in staffing, outdated equipment, and insistence on adherence to convoluted procedures and regulations.
#10
Old 12-02-2016, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Bricker View Post
So government provides an environment where there is no strong motive to get rid of the under-performing employee and a great barrier to doing so.
It's not that great of a barrier, it's just that the government managers who would have to fill out some forms to fire someone are too lazy and inefficient.
#11
Old 12-02-2016, 11:15 AM
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I think another factor is the perception that, since government jobs pay less than private sector jobs, the government has to settle for employees who "can't make it" in the corporate world. I used to hear the same thing when I was working in the non-profit sector. Since the non-profit couldn't pay as much as for profit jobs, there was an attitude that we were working there because we couldn't find anything better.

I don't share that view of government or non profit employees, but I think it's fairly common.

As far as how far back it goes, probably a damn long way.

ETA: Damn, the OP already mentioned the "couldn't get a better job" angle. I need to read better.

Last edited by Defensive Indifference; 12-02-2016 at 11:18 AM.
#12
Old 12-02-2016, 11:16 AM
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This is a particular irritant of mine. I spent 11 years on active duty followed by 26 years working for the Navy as a civilian. The vast majority of my coworkers over those years were well-educated, self-motivated, and extremely professional. We'd do our share of bitching and whining, but we did what had to be done, even if it meant working different shifts or traveling when we really didn't want to.

Anyone with half a brain would realize that government employees come from the same pool of potential workers as any company you can name. And in that pool, you'll have people who do their jobs competently, those who go above and beyond, and those who aren't worth the oxygen they consume.

Part of the problem in the government is that firing anyone is a royal pain in the patoot. The supervisor needs to counsel and document and do whatever to make the slacker a valuable employee again. Many supervisors don't want to mess with this, and they shuffle their problem children to other departments, sometimes repeatedly. I had one coworker who literally slept at his desk. I believe he was moved around 5 different times before he got a boss who established the paper trail. It took something like 10 years from hiring to firing, but he was fired, and last I heard, he was working at Home Depot. (He was an engineer, allegedly.)

On the other hand, I had coworkers who would put in all kinds of hours and not clock them, since overtime was not authorized but they felt they had to get the job done. Personal work ethic has a lot to do with it.

All government workers are as alike as all retail employees or all auto mechanics or all brain surgeons... well, you get the idea. I had 37 years of government service in several different facilities, and while anecdote isn't necessarily data, you can trust me. I was from the government.

Last edited by FairyChatMom; 12-02-2016 at 11:18 AM.
#13
Old 12-02-2016, 11:20 AM
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I think that a lot of it is a notion that many government workers have jobs that are unusually stable* when compared to the private sector, and that promotion/pay increases are more linked to seniority than performance. As a result, the perception is that this situation encourages sloth, bad attitudes and poor customer service.

* By "stable" I mean that private employers can and do fire people for all sorts of reasons, spurious or otherwise, while the perception is that someone just about has to murder someone to get fired from a government job.
#14
Old 12-02-2016, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by bump View Post
I think that a lot of it is a notion that many government workers have jobs that are unusually stable* when compared to the private sector, and that promotion/pay increases are more linked to seniority than performance. As a result, the perception is that this situation encourages sloth, bad attitudes and poor customer service.

* By "stable" I mean that private employers can and do fire people for all sorts of reasons, spurious or otherwise, while the perception is that someone just about has to murder someone to get fired from a government job.
That is the perception and it is totally false. As for the "bad attitudes", if the public at large knew how stressful it is working for "the man" they would have a lot more sympathy for the poor schmo behind the counter. As for inefficiency, one is discouraged, nay, forbidden to step outside the established protocols, regardless of what benefit it could bring.
#15
Old 12-02-2016, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gytalf2000 View Post
I have overheard so many conversations where people claim that all government workers are lazy, stupid, inefficient, etc., to the point where they "probably couldn't even get a job in the private sector". How long has this attitude been going on?

I have noticed it since the 1980s, when I first entered the workforce. Did people think like this in the 1940s - 1970s, as well? Or is it a more recent phenomenon?
PG Wodehouse published a story in the December 1970 edition of Playboy called "Another Christmas Carol". It was about a guy who had never shown any talent at anything whatsoever and had therefore been set up in a civil service job. But though he could drink his 4 PM tea as well as the next person, he longed to be an interior decorator. Etc.

So it was certainly prevalent as early as 1970.
#16
Old 12-02-2016, 12:16 PM
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I used to work for the government, I could write a book about the waste and corruption, the theft, the drugs and alcohol. I had never met such a lazy bunch of losers, most of them wouldn't have lasted five minutes in private industry.

As an example, my boss came in everyday with a bag of pot strapped to one leg and a bag of coke strapped to the other and would lock me out of the office while he sold to the other employees.

Two bosses up from him lied on his time sheet each day so he would accrue enough comp time to take off the month of December.

The boss above him sat at his desk drinking beer all day and was usually drunk.

The boss above him (the director) was my boss's biggest customer.

My boss once picked me up and threw me in a chair and threatened to beat me up if I moved because I was working too fast and making everybody else look bad. Since nobody saw him do it it was my word against his.

I could go on and on with all the bullshit that went on in that place.

My father told me he had seen the same thing working in the federal government. He always said government work was a form of welfare for the rejects from society that can't make it in the real world.

I know it's not all government employees, and not all agencies. When I went to work for a different state agency (that required back grounds checks), the atmosphere was almost normal. People were still a bit lazy, but then again we had to stretch our work out because there was never enough to go around.
#17
Old 12-02-2016, 12:20 PM
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Because it's always been a seemingly easy target, and an easily understood punchline. Even when it's false.

When I went to college orientation, I frequently heard about how bad the cafeteria food was. And guess what? It was actually good. It was just fashionable and easy to complain about it. Similarly, the DMV has always been an easy target. Yet, where I live, they are quick, efficient and I have no complaints. Go fig.
#18
Old 12-02-2016, 12:26 PM
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I once spoke to a government worker (something involving maintenance of government vehicles) who told me that explicitly. He could only be fired for drug abuse and even that only after a whole counseling process. He had no fear of anything or anyone.

He said his supervisor once told him to do something or other and he said he wasn't interested and that the supervisor should get someone else to do that. The supervisor told him he had the wrong attitude and he responded "I don't have the wrong attitude; you have the wrong attitude. I've been here [X number of] years and I know my rights. There are all sorts of guys around here that you could get to do that, and you need to get one of them to do it."
#19
Old 12-02-2016, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Fotheringay-Phipps View Post
I once spoke to a government worker (something involving maintenance of government vehicles) who told me that explicitly. He could only be fired for drug abuse and even that only after a whole counseling process. He had no fear of anything or anyone.

He said his supervisor once told him to do something or other and he said he wasn't interested and that the supervisor should get someone else to do that. The supervisor told him he had the wrong attitude and he responded "I don't have the wrong attitude; you have the wrong attitude. I've been here [X number of] years and I know my rights. There are all sorts of guys around here that you could get to do that, and you need to get one of them to do it."
Why would that person even show up to work at all then?
#20
Old 12-02-2016, 12:44 PM
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There's also, in certain circles, a tendency romanticize the efficiency of the private sector. I've worked in the private sector my whole career and I've seen a whole plethora of lazy, bureaucratic nonsense. When times get bad the fat sometimes gets trimmed (but sometimes not), but when times are good it accumulates.
#21
Old 12-02-2016, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by manson1972 View Post
Why would that person even show up to work at all then?
That's a good question, but I didn't ask him at the time and haven't encountered him since. (This was a guy I once met at some sort of event.) I would guess he was exaggerating a bit and "never showing up altogether" was also enough to get him fired at some point. But the general point is valid.

It also applies to some extent with union jobs. My wife once worked in the front office of an outfit that also had an attached warehouse in the back. One of the women in the office had a boyfriend who worked in the warehouse. This guy did very little work. He would circulate around the office and warehouse, drinking his coffee and yakking with this one and that one. Eventually they had enough of him and fired him. His GF later reported that he had found the perfect job for a guy like him - a union job on a road-building crew. They had to do very little actual work, being constrained by strict union rules about work roles and conditions. The specific example she gave was that if they needed to use a certain piece of machinery and it was a small distance away (e.g. on the other side of the road) they could not just go get it - they had to wait for a specific work crew whose job it was to go get it. Meanwhile, they just sat around ...

Last edited by Fotheringay-Phipps; 12-02-2016 at 12:54 PM.
#22
Old 12-02-2016, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Fotheringay-Phipps View Post
That's a good question, but I didn't ask him at the time and haven't encountered him since. (This was a guy I once met at some sort of event.) I would guess he was exaggerating a bit and "never showing up altogether" was also enough to get him fired at some point. But the general point is valid.
It is a valid point that a government worker can't be just "fired", at least not normally. But they CAN eventually be fired, but usually aren't because their supervisors don't want to do the paperwork. It's not like the supervisors have to run a marathon or anything - it is simply completing some forms.

Best quote I've heard in a while and use it all the time at the government place I work - "That sounds hard. Of course nobody is going to do it"
#23
Old 12-02-2016, 01:21 PM
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One point that strikes me is that in the awarding of government jobs, there are way too many criteria that must be met that are are completely unrelated to the applicant's ability or even willingness to do the job. A great majority of people who would do a very good job are weeded out or skipped over in favor of many other mandated criteria.

Last edited by jtur88; 12-02-2016 at 01:22 PM.
#24
Old 12-02-2016, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by manson1972 View Post
It's not that great of a barrier, it's just that the government managers who would have to fill out some forms to fire someone are too lazy and inefficient.
I assume you realize that this is a gross understatement of what is involved in firing most government employees - at least at the federal level, where I have worked and managed the past 3 decades. Termination of an individual who has passed their probationary period requires considerably more than completion of some forms - even moreso if they are part of a union/bargaining unit.

ON EDIT - I have disciplined and terminated employees. I'm familiar with several union contracts, as well as the specific steps that need to be taken and, yes, even the forms that need be completed. mansonPlease explain to me what I'm doing wrong. What are these forms that simply need to be completed?

While it might be easier for private industry to fire employees, I submit that it may also be easier for private industry to hire replacements. Our component has been subject to a hiring freeze for 2 years. With a hiring freeze, some managers (and I disagree with this mindset) think it would be better to retain a poor employee who is doing 50% or even less of their expected work - when they won't be able to replace that individual.

Also, when allowed to hire, it is rare to have completely open hiring authority. Often you are limited to accepting transfers/promotions from within your own agency or component, or within current gov't employees. So offices are continually poaching the best employees from other offices, or trying to misrepresent and foist off their bad employees onto other offices.

In some circumstances you are allowed to hire certain categories of military veterans. IME, the fact that someone is a military veteran does not mean they would be competent at any specific job.

Under our hiring freeze, we have seen an ongoing reduction in staff, as people retire or obtain employment elsewhere. IME, the most capable people are more likely to be seeking and obtaining alternative employment. So the result is that we have numerically fewer staff, and the entire body of employees has lower average ability/skills/motivation, than before.

I wrestle with this daily, trying to figure out how we are supposed to continually "do more with less." It will be interesting to see how poor service will get.

While many if not most federal employees I've encountered are willing to do somewhat more than their bare minimum expectations, that attitude becomes less appealing when the backlog of work becomes more insurmountable. I generally work overtime and will probably lose 100 hrs of annual leave this year. But I could work 16 hrs a day, and still not make a dent in my component's backlog.

I don't know the answer - but I don't hear anyone - inside the Agency, within government, or outside - suggesting a realistic answer.

Last edited by Dinsdale; 12-02-2016 at 02:12 PM.
#25
Old 12-02-2016, 02:16 PM
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Q: Do you know what they call someone who makes sure the same regulations apply to everyone?
A: A bureaucrat.

As someone once said, we give a lot of lip service to honest government that's fair to everyone, but what we want is for government agencies to favor us when we want them to.

Now, it's not that there aren't lazy government workers. And the regulations can be very complicated and difficult to interpret (I once had one DMV worker tell me one thing, and another tell me something completely different when I returned. Luckily the first one was there and remembered me).

Also the rules set up for government workers are designed defensively so that people don't complain about government waste. I once did a stint with technical writing for the state government. I finished two days early, but the insisted I come back and sit around those two days because I had a contract and they were required by their regulations to follow all the terms of the contract.*

But most government employees are doing as conscientious a job as a private sector employee (and there is plenty of waste and bad service in the private sector, too).

*It worked out well. I spent the time writing a short story, which I later sold.
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#26
Old 12-02-2016, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
ON EDIT - I have disciplined and terminated employees. I'm familiar with several union contracts, as well as the specific steps that need to be taken and, yes, even the forms that need be completed. mansonPlease explain to me what I'm doing wrong. What are these forms that simply need to be completed?
Could you explain what steps you took to fire an employee? Steps that didn't involve filling out a form, or creating a plan of action (just a type of form).

Did you have to go to the employees house for anything? Monitor where they went? Go with them to educational classes? Find them housing/clothing/baby-sitter? Give them money if they had an emergency car breakdown?

Or did you have to counsel them (described on a form) and give them lower evaluations (another form)?

Please let me know what the all-so arduous things you needed to do were.

And on a side note, how can you possibly lose leave? Isn't it mandated that you take it? Just take leave. Do you think you are so important to your organization that it will shut down if you aren't there?
#27
Old 12-02-2016, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by manson1972 View Post
Could you explain what steps you took to fire an employee? Steps that didn't involve filling out a form, or creating a plan of action (just a type of form).

Did you have to go to the employees house for anything? Monitor where they went?
OK - you've got nothing. As I assumed.

If you want to know what is involved/required, feel free to look into it yourself.
#28
Old 12-02-2016, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
While it might be easier for private industry to fire employees, I submit that it may also be easier for private industry to hire replacements. Our component has been subject to a hiring freeze for 2 years. With a hiring freeze, some managers (and I disagree with this mindset) think it would be better to retain a poor employee who is doing 50% or even less of their expected work - when they won't be able to replace that individual.

Also, when allowed to hire, it is rare to have completely open hiring authority. Often you are limited to accepting transfers/promotions from within your own agency or component, or within current gov't employees. So offices are continually poaching the best employees from other offices, or trying to misrepresent and foist off their bad employees onto other offices.

In some circumstances you are allowed to hire certain categories of military veterans. IME, the fact that someone is a military veteran does not mean they would be competent at any specific job.
Very true, but not only that, but you are required (in my Department anyways) to hire the military veteran first, if they satisfy the criteria. They may be well worse than the other person, but they get priority. Not that that is as bad as a hiring freeze. That usually will be something that may constrain firing employees, because you don't know when you can replace and you may leave a team short handed for a long while.

When there weren't hiring freezes and the Department (Labor) was treated very well (interestingly during the Bush Administration), there was far more willingness to fire underperforming folks.
#29
Old 12-02-2016, 02:47 PM
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It is in large part true because of the difficulty of being fired from a government job as well as the fact that government employees have no incentive to give good customer service. If a private sector person consistently gives bad service their company loses money. Even though you "pay their salary" your inability to affect in any meaningful way a government workers salary means you don't.
#30
Old 12-02-2016, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
OK - you've got nothing. As I assumed.

If you want to know what is involved/required, feel free to look into it yourself.
I KNOW what the process is. I wanted to know what YOU thought was so arduous about it. Counseling subordinates and filling out forms is not my definition of arduous.
#31
Old 12-02-2016, 02:51 PM
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I've worked in industry and in government. THis is my humble opinion

The short answer is: this attitude has always been around. Every society throughout ages that has a governing group of people will have this attitude.

I think the reason is, that there is no inherent mechanism built into government to reduce the cost of governing.

In business, its a balance between revenue and expenses. People are expenses, there is a driving force for them to work faster, better and more cheaply; at the same time as efficiently enough to bring in maximum revenue.

There is no such pressure in government jobs. From a practical point, government supervisors aren't measured by how much money they save or bring in. Their function includes making sure their employees are happy and this is above any effort to save money.

When I was in govt, it was a spectacular job. Best I ever had. I submit that the disparity in real income is not there....I don't believe that govt employees really get paid less than corporate. Sure CEO's get paid more, but by the time you factor in retirement and benefits for the regular office drone, its probably the same, or govt workers get the better end.

I've worked with people who've been in govt, their entire career. i've seen some terrible workers there, terrible production, don't do anything, lazy, other things are more important to them. They will fail in corporate. Others are fine. They will do ok in business....but I'm willing to bet given a choice 90% would prefer the ease of a govt job over the stress of a private job.


By the way ever see someone in their 50s who is 'retired'. Ask them what they retired from....good chance it was a govt job.
#32
Old 12-02-2016, 02:53 PM
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How do you establish and monitor an AP/OPS through the completion of forms? How long do they take to administer? What do you think the minimal time needed to terminate a union employee - from initial consult to "don't let the door hit ya"?

Also - what discretion does what level manager have to act independently to terminate someone? How many people from how many components is the minimum needed to successfully terminate someone based on performance?
#33
Old 12-02-2016, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by manson1972 View Post
It is a valid point that a government worker can't be just "fired", at least not normally. But they CAN eventually be fired, but usually aren't because their supervisors don't want to do the paperwork. It's not like the supervisors have to run a marathon or anything - it is simply completing some forms.

Best quote I've heard in a while and use it all the time at the government place I work - "That sounds hard. Of course nobody is going to do it"
Hmm - during my stint in gov - it was a hell of a lot more than a form or two. I needed documentation of failure to perform, execution of a performance improvement plan after that, several meetings with the union rep and HR, and then I MIGHT be able to get the person off of my team. This assumes I did not run into counter claims or charges.

It was easier to keep a C player shoved in a closet somewhere, and simply reward the others as that person fell further and further behind due to no raises, bonuses, or other perqs.
#34
Old 12-02-2016, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ISiddiqui View Post
Very true, but not only that, but you are required (in my Department anyways) to hire the military veteran first, if they satisfy the criteria. They may be well worse than the other person, but they get priority. Not that that is as bad as a hiring freeze. That usually will be something that may constrain firing employees, because you don't know when you can replace and you may leave a team short handed for a long while.

When there weren't hiring freezes and the Department (Labor) was treated very well (interestingly during the Bush Administration), there was far more willingness to fire underperforming folks.
you work for the postal service ?
#35
Old 12-02-2016, 03:04 PM
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Government workers are immune to market discipline. Private industry workers aren't.

Add into the mix the sword of damocles that is unfunded public pension liability dangling over the evonomy and it's easy too see.
#36
Old 12-02-2016, 03:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
How do you establish and monitor an AP/OPS through the completion of forms? How long do they take to administer? What do you think the minimal time needed to terminate a union employee - from initial consult to "don't let the door hit ya"?

Also - what discretion does what level manager have to act independently to terminate someone? How many people from how many components is the minimum needed to successfully terminate someone based on performance?
How do you establish something without writing it down? How is the monitoring anything different than normal subordinate work monitoring? Who cares how LONG something takes. WAITING for something is not arduous. Who cares what the minimal time needed is? WAITING is not arduous.

If somebody told you "You can get a free car, but you have to fill out forms and wait 3 years to get it" would you consider that arduous? Something is impossible to do because it takes 3 years? 99% of the time you aren't doing anything.

All agencies have a process, probably clearly described in the agencies' HR procedures, policies, or manuals. I'm looking at the one where I work right now. Sure, it's a process. Might take a while. But, again, so what?

I just don't understand that concept - "Something takes a long time, most of which I won't really need to do anything extra, but I'm not going to initiate it cause it takes too long"
#37
Old 12-02-2016, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sahirrnee View Post
As an example, my boss came in everyday with a bag of pot strapped to one leg and a bag of coke strapped to the other and would lock me out of the office while he sold to the other employees.

Two bosses up from him lied on his time sheet each day so he would accrue enough comp time to take off the month of December.

The boss above him sat at his desk drinking beer all day and was usually drunk.

The boss above him (the director) was my boss's biggest customer.
What field do you work in that you can have what looks like 5 layers of bosses until you get to the director level? And what were those titles for all the levels? Lead, Supervisor, Manager, Manager Pro, Director? That must've been quite the org chart.

I also want to apply - I think I would like sitting at a desk drinking beer all day.
#38
Old 12-02-2016, 03:28 PM
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I've always thought that looking how poorly the government runs things is a perfect testimony of why we would NOT want a socialist government.

Imagine if the government ran EVERYTHING?
#39
Old 12-02-2016, 04:06 PM
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Couple of other factors that came to me:

Many gov't jobs involve large numbers of discrete matters. When you are dealing with the public, trying to properly handle a large number of cases, being nice simply takes time. Sure, saying "Good morning," "please" or "thank you" only takes a fraction of a second each time, but a desire for efficiency can lead one to appear abrupt, and to forego pleasantries. You might bemoan the DMV personnel appearing abrupt, but as you stand in line, you don't want to hear them exchanging pleasantries and chatting with the people ahead of you. Something I am aware of and try to balance daily.

Another factor, while your situation is critical to you, it is only one of 10s, 100s, 100s that that staffer will handle this day or this week. It can be difficult to appreciate the individual behind each work assignments. Moreover, many regulatory decisions are made with no consideration of the individual. Either you fit in one pigeonhole or another. You WANT your gov't to act impersonally, rather than on individual employees' preferences or biases. Whether you are a nice person, or not, ought not enter into the decision. Again, can lead to depersonalizing individuals and their cases.

Many gov't functions have to do with folk who are not terribly sophisticated, often WRT some pretty complicated issues. Yes, that should be even more reason to be sympathetic and understanding, but I suspect most gov't employees who deal with the public could tell stories to match those shared by sales clerks, waitstraff, IT folk, etc. Working with the public is difficult.

Many people dealing with gov't staff, are less than happy. And may have an attitude that they have already paid (through taxes) for whatever outcome they may desire. Or are being inconvenienced by having to go through a process. Again, nothing that isn't experienced by any customer service rep.

All in all, however, I think the controlling factor is the confirmation bias mentioned above. No one thinks or cares about the millions of matters that were handled perfectly. Gov't employees are a convenient target for many folk in politics, the media, or on the next barstool to criticize. Very human for people to remember the few instances in which they were poorly served - or heard of other people being poorly served - instead of the far more instances (which they may not even be aware of) that things went swimmingly.
#40
Old 12-02-2016, 04:13 PM
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Location: Portlandia
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I worked in both the public and private sectors, mostly the former. I ran into deadbeats and assholes in both venues, no surprise. By and large, I preferred the government (except for the pay). There were set rules to use to do your job and which protected you from capricious assholes, unlike in the private sector, where you have to constantly watch your back because some asshole makes it his mission to fuck with you. I did my job no matter what, but I have to say that while I was almost always loaded with work with the government, the same wasn't always so with businesses. I had two jobs where I was hired to fix a dysfunctional office. After six months they were both running fine and I had little to do but monitor things.
#41
Old 12-02-2016, 04:23 PM
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Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
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Hey, great responses, so far! Fascinating stuff...
#42
Old 12-02-2016, 04:30 PM
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Location: Southeast US
Posts: 1,028
Surprisingly, my wife, who retired from a state regulatory agency a few years ago, is much more critical of state and federal employees/services than I am. I just figure that I'm associating the employee with a truly unpleasant process (e.g., getting a lien released on a vehicle title, jumping over some bar to licensing). She takes the interaction very personally and will even explain that she used to work for the state herself and knows what good service is. It can be embarrassing to be around her when she starts a rant.

Last edited by ZonexandScout; 12-02-2016 at 04:31 PM.
#43
Old 12-02-2016, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wguy123 View Post
What field do you work in that you can have what looks like 5 layers of bosses until you get to the director level? And what were those titles for all the levels? Lead, Supervisor, Manager, Manager Pro, Director? That must've been quite the org chart.

I also want to apply - I think I would like sitting at a desk drinking beer all day.

I worked in Data Processing.

That was another problem with the State, way too many bosses for the amount of people.

In my dept there were two DP Asst, two temps, two techs (who were supervisors over us) and one Manager. That was when I started, the one tech left and the other tech beat up the manager. The manager (who was pretty much a waste of human protoplasm) was transferred to a department where he could work alone and not do too much damage. The tech who beat up the boss got the boss's job.

The tech answered to another manager, who was over our department and one other department.
That manager reported to the next level up supervisor who was over a total of four departments.
The supervisor reported to the assistant director (the one who drank beer at his desk all day).
The asst director reported to the director.


Things did get shaken up a bit when we got a new governor who liked to make unannounced visits to the various state agencies.
I heard the governor walked in and the shit hit the fan.
A friend who still worked there called me up and told me I was missing all the fun. I'm sorry I missed it.

It was one crazy, screwed up place to work and from what I heard, most of the other state agencies were about the same.
#44
Old 12-02-2016, 05:17 PM
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Never mind

Last edited by Sigene; 12-02-2016 at 05:17 PM.
#45
Old 12-02-2016, 07:04 PM
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Location: Richmond, VA
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I think a lot of it comes from a place of jealousy. Government jobs have a reputation for being secure and cushy. Based on comments I've read online, a lot of people also seem to think that government jobs only hire minorities, veterans, and the disabled, so I wouldn't be surprised if that fuels some of the jealousy as well.
#46
Old 12-03-2016, 03:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I think a lot of it comes from a place of jealousy. Government jobs have a reputation for being secure and cushy. Based on comments I've read online, a lot of people also seem to think that government jobs only hire minorities, veterans, and the disabled, so I wouldn't be surprised if that fuels some of the jealousy as well.
Is jealous the right word? People can't rightly be said to be jealous of leeches.
#47
Old 12-03-2016, 05:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waymore View Post
Is jealous the right word? People can't rightly be said to be jealous of leeches.
Are you basing this on any reality that you have observed? Or is this just more parroting of America-hating Right Wing drivel?
#48
Old 12-03-2016, 07:43 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Louisiana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sahirrnee View Post
I used to work for the government, I could write a book about the waste and corruption, the theft, the drugs and alcohol. I had never met such a lazy bunch of losers, most of them wouldn't have lasted five minutes in private industry.

As an example, my boss came in everyday with a bag of pot strapped to one leg and a bag of coke strapped to the other and would lock me out of the office while he sold to the other employees.

Two bosses up from him lied on his time sheet each day so he would accrue enough comp time to take off the month of December.

The boss above him sat at his desk drinking beer all day and was usually drunk.

The boss above him (the director) was my boss's biggest customer.

My boss once picked me up and threw me in a chair and threatened to beat me up if I moved because I was working too fast and making everybody else look bad. Since nobody saw him do it it was my word against his.

I could go on and on with all the bullshit that went on in that place.

My father told me he had seen the same thing working in the federal government. He always said government work was a form of welfare for the rejects from society that can't make it in the real world.

I know it's not all government employees, and not all agencies. When I went to work for a different state agency (that required back grounds checks), the atmosphere was almost normal. People were still a bit lazy, but then again we had to stretch our work out because there was never enough to go around.
I am sorry you had such a terrible experience. I don't know which country you had this experience in, but in the US that would be a pathological situation. I have literally never heard or certainly experienced any such situation in my work life. As for your father's report-he really knew of cases where a federal employee brought illegal drugs to work and sold them to co-workers? More than once? Again, I don't know which country you are talking about, but I can't imagine anything like that happening in the US. And I worked in federal government spaces for 34 years. Perhaps others on the Dope will be able to report similar cases in the US, but I rather hope not.
#49
Old 12-03-2016, 07:57 AM
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Location: Louisiana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by manson1972 View Post
Could you explain what steps you took to fire an employee? Steps that didn't involve filling out a form, or creating a plan of action (just a type of form).

And on a side note, how can you possibly lose leave? Isn't it mandated that you take it? Just take leave. Do you think you are so important to your organization that it will shut down if you aren't there?
I agree with Dinsdale. You have no idea what is involved. The supervisor doesn't just write down a bunch of random comments and call it a plan of action. The supervisor has to come up with a specific unique set of steps for that individual which if followed will allow the individual to stay in their position. So the supervisor has to come up with ideas that are almost certainly outside his area of expertise which if followed will leave him with a disgruntled and unhappy employee to supervise far into the future. Oh, and then the supervisor has to come up with the resources to implement that plan.
Anyone who thinks it just involves filling out forms has no idea what the process involves.

And as for the leave, most of the high achieving federal employees I know are in the same boat. They take personal pride in their work. Losing leave is a major issue in the federal work force.
#50
Old 12-03-2016, 08:07 AM
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Location: Richmond, VA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Waymore View Post
Is jealous the right word? People can't rightly be said to be jealous of leeches.
Your white sheet is showing.
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