Friday, April 2, 2010


I've worked a lot with Government as a contractor. Anyone coming from the private sector cannot but be astonished at the culture in Government offices.

Because they get early retirement and decent pensions, unlike the rest of us, from the day they are hired, government workers have a single goal: to stay in post until they collect their pension. This means as long as they don't upset anybody they're sure of a well-funded retirement. The best way to avoid upsetting anybody is to never do anything. And that's what they do. As little as possible. Day after day. Month in and month out. Until retirement.

If you've come from a private company with customers who can take their business elsewhere, the atmosphere in government is a real shock. The pace of change isn't glacial, because glaciers do move. Imagine working in a place where nothing happens, year after year. Go back five years later and everything's the same (except a few more people will have joined the ranks of the long-term sick and are now doing nothing at home on full pay).

Former Chicago Fire Chief James Joyce had it right when he heard on his vehicle radio about the fire at 69 West Washington. "It's Friday afternoon in a government building - it's gonna be almost empty".

So it comes as no surprise that in bankrupt states like California they have started letting staff take Fridays as unpaid furlough days. So now staff are getting paid for doing nothing for 4 days a week instead of 5.

Why not just sack the lot of them and move them to the welfare rolls? They'd cost a lot less, while still sucking at the tit of the productive members of society.

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