I must be doing something wrong…
Last year, I accepted a position working for the Department of Defense. I had to move to a much higher cost-of-living location, accepted a position for essentially lower pay (once you account for differences in cost of living), have to commute 3 hours everyday just to get to & from work, and have to work harder each day while I’m at work just to keep up than I did in my previous position with a private contractor. Truth be told, the benefits package between the two positions was essentially the same.
Where is this windfall of heavenly pay and benefits I’m supposed to be receiving? Where are those hours I’m supposed to get to leisurely surf the Internet each day? I’m certainly not going to say that every single day is maximum stress but there are never days where I have the time to just sit & surf for my own entertainment on the government’s dime.
I understand that federal employment crosses into a wide range of private sector fields of work but, for me and many of the professionals I work with, this “fed-bashing” tends to be rather demoralizing. Most of us are doing the best we can to serve those whom we’ve taken an oath to support. We work everyday to provide the best product we can at the lowest possible cost just as we would do if we were working for a private contractor. Work ethic is tied to character and isn’t dependent upon wear you work.
I know that in government service, just as in any other large company, there are people who are overpaid and under-worked. I’ve personally seen them both inside and outside of government service. The biggest problem I see is that we lump all the different sectors of government service into one big whole and make generalizations that just aren’t true. The different governmental agencies operate differently so, if you want to know the truth, compare the agencies against the public sectors they support. This will give a better snapshot of how pay and benefits compare between private and public employment.
To my friends who feel that I work too little and get paid too much, I politely say that you’re wrong. To my friends that feel I get too many benefits, I also (politely) say that you’re wrong. To my friends that feel sequestration is a good idea, I vehemently say you’re wrong. Changes need to be made but this is not the right way to do it. Of all the things our government is sworn to provide its citizens, defense is one that was specifically called out by our founding fathers. Weakening our nation’s defense when the world is so unstable is simply wrong. I pray that (soon) wiser heads will prevail.