Lion of the Blogosphere

Government work, amazing job security!

A commenter asked about whether government job security is really as great as it’s cracked up to be.

Well how about the latest news about the government worker who issued the false missile alert in Hawaii?

The employee’s work history was detailed by a state investigation made public Tuesday that found he had “been a source of concern … for over 10 years” to his coworkers. On at least two other occasions, that probe found, this employee also “confused real life events and drills.”

. . .

The state report released Tuesday described the employee who sent out the alert as having a poor history dating back more than a decade. Other members of his staff have said they did not feel comfortable with his work, the report said. The employee had been counseled and corrected on the spot, state officials said, but remained in his position.

So there you have it. No matter how bad you are at your government job, you still get to keep it. You only get fired if you screw up so bad that it makes national news, and even then it takes one to two weeks before you actually get fired.

Only being a partner at PWC gives you better job security. Remember the partner at PWC who, last year, gave the wrong envelope to the Academy Awards presenter for Best Picture? He was never fired.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 30, 2018 at EDT pm

Posted in Labor Markets

29 Responses

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  1. My favorite anecdote about the false alarm is that many thousands of people ran outside after getting the alert. If indeed Rocket Boy actually had launched a nuclear missile, running outside would have been just about the worst thing imaginable to do.

    Peter

    ironrailsironweights

    January 30, 2018 at EDT pm

  2. I twice worked for the government—once at state level and once at federal, both with full benefits and good pay—I left both positions of my own accord. I genuinely miss some of my colleagues, but having said that, 90% of them were women, and most of them “progressives” and most conversations around the office were mind numbing and soul crushing. I left my last government job just prior to Trump’s election, at that time most in Canada still thought him to be a buffoon with zero chances of being elected. I imagine tensions must’ve been running very high inside my old office the day after the election. I’m almost certain, I would’ve gotten into a verbal spat with one or more people that day, had I still been there.

    Roli

    January 30, 2018 at EDT pm

  3. I always wanted to ask your other commenters on LoftB.

    Is there any silver lining living in America, where one’s main priority is only mind numbing work, if one is not an elite?

    JS

    January 30, 2018 at EDT pm

    • We get to watch the stock market go up and down so we can supplement our retirement and greet all the wonderful diverse immigrants.

      ttgy1

      January 30, 2018 at EDT pm

    • There are nice people everywhere, JS. It’s really easy to get into a friendly chat with a stranger. You notice something funny, you mention it to someone, usually there will be a friendly response. You just have to sort of have a feel for who you can talk to and who you can’t — I mean, people you don’t know. Even if they don’t really want to engage with you they’re not going to be that nasty about it. Mellow old Black guys are the best. And old Italian ladies are usually reliably nice also. With SWPLs you want to engage with people who look like they’ve done a lot of drugs or are alcoholics — those are the nicest ones.

      Garr

      January 30, 2018 at EDT pm

      • Yeah, black are easy to talk to and laugh your head off with. A lot of nice races (like in running) in America. Nice people and scenery. Last Sunday half-marathon was tons of fun and 90% white people, but all races were nice. Good spirit and vibes. I’m too busy with my work, family, books and sports so I don’t now so much, but for me everything is pretty good in America. I think no country has treated Jews better. Good to have Trump for president. You got a real creep in Canada.

        Yakov

        January 30, 2018 at EDT pm

      • How evolved/civilized are Americans who are workaholics, if you compared them to citizens from other parts of the industrialized world?

        JS

        January 31, 2018 at EDT am

      • Evolved and civilized enough for me to be able to get alone with them and not to complain.

        Yakov

        January 31, 2018 at EDT pm

      • @JS

        When I came out of the USSR, I was shocked at the admiration the Europeans felt for it. But when I came to America, nobody thought that way. So who is normal here? What culture admires Gulag? Very shallow one.

        Yakov

        January 31, 2018 at EDT pm

    • js, you put too much emphasis on where you live. No matter where you move, your problems will follow you. Don’t blame the faults of your feet on your shoes.

      toomanyspiders

      January 30, 2018 at EDT pm

      • I’ve lived in Spain and Greece long term and I didn’t experienced the kind of problems that one finds in the states. People are relatively what you see and what you get.

        And French Speaking Canada has influences from America and its Anglophone neighbors, but it has a nonchalant attitude towards work that one finds in Western Continental Europe — essentially this is a form of socialism.

        What’s worse in America — the general lack of appreciation for aesthetic and cultural sophistication among our elites. Elite French Canadians admire the high culture of France. What do our elites admire besides a cheap buck?

        JS

        January 30, 2018 at EDT pm

      • French Canadian chicks don’t wear deodorant or shave their pits though.

        Tom

        January 30, 2018 at EDT pm

      • but it has a nonchalant attitude towards work that one finds in Western Continental Europe — essentially this is a form of socialism.’

        Hate that! Really feel like beating up people like this. Socialism teaches that labor caused a monkey to evolve into a human. Theoretically for this to happen that monkey needed to do its best and than some. There is no way it could have done it if it had a ‘nonchalant’ attitude. At least that’s what they taught us back in the USSR.

        Yesterday I had duct work to install for a very expensive swimming pool dehumidifier. It came in as a total mess. Completly wrong measurements, so I fixed it all in the field and emailed the pics of what I’d received and what I’d installed to the guy. He emails back: ‘Great job, you can come work for me’. But I was thinking: ‘You cannot work for me, I would fire you as the first order of business.’

        Socialism turns humans back on their evolutionary path regardless if how they’d gotten there. The strong and aggressive, seeking food, mating and domination – they take over.

        Yakov

        January 31, 2018 at EDT am

      • >>Yesterday I had duct work to install for a very expensive swimming pool dehumidifier.

        Yakov, is it too late to start over, at 58 years of age, in a vocational career? I have been doing pointless (and increasingly fruitless) desk work for 25 years. I want to do work, work. Physical work where I can look back in pride with the day’s achievement. Think I could get work as an HVAC or plumbers helper at this age? I’m in great shape.

        Daniel

        January 31, 2018 at EDT pm

      • You could become an independent farmer.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        January 31, 2018 at EDT pm

      • @Daniel

        You probably could, but it wouldn’t be easy and you would have to sell yourself short. 58 is a precarious age to start in a trade. Evolutionary we are past the threshold of guaranteed health. We have fulfilled out reproductive and conquering function, usually that is. If you don’t need income or don’t have a job, you can do it. Gonna be tough, though.

        Yakov

        January 31, 2018 at EDT pm

  4. I was at a bar once when I fell into a conversation with another patron. He told me he worked as a statistician for the Department of Agriculture. When I asked about his background and training for this job, he giddily told me he studied political science and never took more than an introductory level statistics course but aced his interview. When I asked him how he managed to do his job he admitted that he did not know how to do many of his tasks. “They are so stupid, they can’t ever fire me. It’s a government job!”

    What a wretched individual.

    Ivanthegrozny

    January 30, 2018 at EDT pm

  5. In all fairness to PWC, they didn’t lose the account and the guy apparently had a track record as a producer… at accounting. His career as an envelope-hander-outer ended as soon as it began.

    Being a consistent producer is pretty good for job security. Even better, be a consistent producer at your own company.

    Wency

    January 30, 2018 at EDT pm

    • Producer of what? New business?

      Magnavox

      January 30, 2018 at EDT pm

      • Yes.

        Jokah Macpherson

        January 30, 2018 at EDT pm

    • Yes, rain-makers don’t get fired. I used to work at PwC and for most people, including parters, job security there is not like the public sector.

      Peter Akuleyev

      January 31, 2018 at EDT am

  6. The amount of people I have seen fired over the years at my corporation is unbelievable, They are at the desk one day and the next gone. It’s like a disappearing act.

    That doesn’t include the waves of layoffs over the years at my office. How often do local, state or federal govt offices have layoffs? Occasionally, teachers are laid-off because schools close because of population shifts. I am not sure how ofter the govt reduces their workforce.

    ttgy1

    January 30, 2018 at EDT pm

  7. The employee sent out a message including “this is not a drill”, but it appears that he was told exactly that. From the article: The message included the phrase “Exercise, exercise, exercise,” the FCC report said, but it also included the “This is not a drill” language used for real missile alerts.

    I am not sure that we should blame him, when it appears that management had very bad procedures in place.

    Schlafly

    January 30, 2018 at EDT pm

  8. I work in state government, and as best I’ve been able to ascertain from my own experience and bar conversations with others, the firing thing is the biggest difference between government and the private sector. Both types of employers have a lot of mediocre employees that do what’s necessary to get by and a handful of smart dedicated people that do 90% of the work, but in government it is next to impossible to get rid of the fuck-ups, so they stick around in some capacity. Of course, they’re never going to advance and that’s not that kind of career any conscientious, driven person would want, but if that bothered them they wouldn’t be fuck-ups in the first place.

    Jokah Macpherson

    January 30, 2018 at EDT pm

  9. The Hawaiian employee has been fired.

    Roli

    January 31, 2018 at EDT am

  10. In government, job security depends on whether you are the right race. I worked in a local government with a growing Haitian population. Once they hit 51% of the electorate they needed to take control of the council, they immediately started replacing all of the high up positions with Haitians from the well connected families. To their credit, they mainly just offered huge early retirement deals rather than firing people, but that must have cost the tax payers a lot. Some of the Jamaicans managed to keep their jobs, but the majority of the whites and hispanics were out within 2 years.

    DataExplorer

    January 31, 2018 at EDT am

  11. Getting fired used to be the best thing about working in America. You did a great job, you got compensated, tomorrow is a new day and you have to prove yourself again, nobody rests on laurels, there is a new struggle every day which can go either way for you. Those were the days!

    What’s more important people or business? Business obviously! Because if there is no business, how will the people live? You take care of the business and the business takes care of you. Yes, those were the days. That’s when America was great!

    Yakov

    January 31, 2018 at EDT am

  12. Government jobs are wonderful. The Livin’ is Easy.

    Amen!

    GondwanaMan

    January 31, 2018 at EDT pm

  13. I work in State government, and getting fired is not unheard of. I’ve known several people who were “let go” for various reasons. More likely, though, if a manager doesn’t like an employee, the manager will simply keep adding tasks to the employee’s schedule, followed by plenty of “constructive criticism”, until the employee just gets overwhelmed and quits.
    The worst managers are the political appointees–cronies of currently installed politicians who are rewarded for their loyalty with a temporary, very highly paid boss gig. Let me tell you, these creeps are the worst. They have no idea what their staffers actually do, but that won’t stop them from barking out orders and issuing “discipline”, which they relish.
    Worse than useless.

    Mr. Whyte

    February 1, 2018 at EDT pm


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