While I’m on vacation, I asked some regular readers if they would write the column. After all, nobody knows the government better than the folks who work for it…
Hello. My name is Tony, and I am a federal employee of 24 years and want to thank Mr. Causey for an opportunity to write in his stead today.
I had a hard time trying to pick one thing that I believe most feds are feeling, have felt and will feel if they continue careers with the government. One thing that has not given much attention is morale.
I work for those “dreaded letters of the alphabet”, IRS. I can remember my first day at work, I was so proud and so excited to be working for the government. I was lucky or unlucky, however you want to look at it. I did not serve in the military and thought this job would be the way to say thank you to my country. I was aggressive, successful and moved up the ladder quickly. Things couldn’t be going better. I was taking care of my family and enjoying the job.
In about 1995, I got an education as to what the view of federal employees is by Congress. There was a shutdown in November. I was young and worried about getting paid and taking care of my business. I was told by veteran employees at the time not to worry, ‘You’ll get paid for the time.’
I did, but this was the start of things to come. It seemed from then on we (feds) were never thought well of by our President and most of Congress, but through political maneuvering we always managed an annual raise.
Then came RRA 98 (the Restructuring and Reform Act), which changed IRS and the way we did things, and what could happen to IRS employees. Congress effectively called us “evil” and a big congressional hearing was held and some unhappy taxpayers testified about the way they were treated by IRS people.
Yet, after the smoke cleared, the IRS was absolved of any wrongdoing. Of course, you never heard that. It didn’t stop Congress from making the job harder (Or creating the “10 Deadly Sins” for termination) and taking away whatever respect we had with the public at the time. Since then, frontline people can’t make many decisions without approval from two to three levels of management. For a couple of years after RRA 98, I was walking on eggshells worrying about offending a taxpayer and keeping a job.
Now with less than 20 months to retirement, Congress is on the war path against all feds. I’ve become much more active in trying to protect my retirement and the benefits I was told I would receive. I’ve called my congressman with a union representative present, and I told him that I was a fed with 24 years with IRS, and if it wasn’t for my efforts and efforts of my fellow employees, you don’t get a paycheck! His aide told me I was out of line! I didn’t even get to the issue I was calling about because I thought the conversation was over and I wouldn’t be taken seriously.
The changes we’ve had to endure — doing more with less and the fact Congress wants to “bleed the stone”, and some unrealistic expectations that comes with this job — I find myself not as appreciated as I once was. I don’t feel that what I do makes a difference. For all these years, I’ve heard from the public: “I wouldn’t want your job.”
Now, I feel the same. It now is a matter of survival. My pride and enthusiasm for the job have been sucked away. I know many feds with other agencies feel the same for other reasons. I just wanted to say I’m with you.
P.L. Travers, the author of the book Mary Poppins, was not a fan of the 1964 film Disney film, in part because Julie Andrews’ Oscar-winning portrayal of the nanny wasn’t strict enough, according to Mental Floss. Travers, who also “loathed” the animated sequences, “spent most of the movie crying and ultimately refused to let Disney touch the rest of the series.”
Bill aims to reform Senior Executive Service The bill also includes SES performance awards and bonuses in the high-three annuity calculation and establishes an SES Resource Office within the Office of Personnel Management, with the goal of improving the effectiveness and productivity of the SES.