Is a government job real work?

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. Today’s guest columnist, Pat from IRS, calls this ‘The Paper Route’. I think you’ll like it. I did.

I have worked for the federal government for thirty years — came here right out of college. Although I started young, it was not my first job. See, I was raised by Depression-era parents who believed in employment, even at the earliest of ages.

When folks find out I’m a fed, they occasionally work into their conversation an assumption that I know nothing of “real” work or “real” jobs. I’m always amazed at both their ignorance and willingness to show it. Because I learned at an early age that a job is a job and that all work has certain things in common … first of which is that it really cuts into your free time.

This brings me to my first (and most formative) job — an Akron Beacon Journal (ABJ) newspaper route. Every time I see the ABJ building in downtown Akron, I think of my first foray into the working world. And, from time to time, I think about how much that job had in common with my years as a federal employee. To wit:

  • You have to show up — papers and federal services don’t get delivered on their own … Someone has to do it
  • You have to grow up — the customer/taxpayer is not concerned about your day, your feelings or your world view … deal with it
  • You have to get the job done — everyone is concerned about the same thing, their thing … whether it’s a newspaper or a Social Security check
  • You have to deal with bosses — the ones who pay you and the ones who just act like they do
  • You have to be positive … well actually you don’t … but, remember — they don’t pay you a dime more to be miserable!

So, the next time you pass the place of your first employment, think about the fact that although “you can’t go home again,” you never really leave your first job … it remains as “real” as your current one.


By Jack Moore

Sharing information about yourself online, on social networks such as Facebook, can produce a brain response as powerful as that for food or sex, according to a recent Harvard study. In one part of the study, participants were offered a cash reward for answering factual questions and a smaller award for discussing their own opinions about something (for example: whether they preferred mushrooms on pizza). Even with the smaller award amount, many participants opted to talk about themselves.

(h/t The Age)


USPS overpays pension obligations by $13.1B, report says
A new inspector general audit revealed that the Postal Service has overfunded its pension benefit obligations by nearly 105 percent. While this might seem to be good news for the cash- strapped agency, legislative action will be required for USPS to get back the $13.1 billion surplus it paid into its employees’ pensions.

OSC warns agencies of email monitoring restrictions
The Office of Special Counsel is reminding agencies not to engage in email monitoring that could have a chilling effect on whistleblowers who report waste, fraud and abuse. In a memo last week, Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner urged agencies to evaluate their employee email monitoring policies.

NIH director voices concerns about sequestration
Francis Collins, director of National Institutes of Health, told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee this week that he worries about what cuts may have to be made. Sequestration would cut NIH’s budget by $2.4 billion, an 8 percent decrease, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said during the hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.