Each week, GovLoop teams up with the Washington Post to wonder what's on the minds of government employees around topics that are important to them. This week's question is, quite simply:
Do you bring work home?
I mean, I know it's hard to turn off your mind and stop thinking about what's going on back in the office, but this question is wondering whether you put in a ton of time on work while at home in the evenings and on the weekends.
All too often, I think government workers have a reputation of being lazy (Exhibit A), which we all know is unfair and unfounded. So one way to get at the opposite perception (potentially) is to ask:
How often do you find yourself working off the clock, voluntarily doing overtime for which you don't request payment?
To me, that's a sure sign that you're giving it your all and then some on behalf of the American public you've chosen to serve through your stewardship of their taxpayer dollars.
As part of my government work, I used to wake up early and compile a large report (a News Summary) of all the pertinent media stories related to my office. It was signed, sealed, and delivered to staff email inboxes before anyone arrived at the office. I was able to arrive to work a little late, but the equity of time didn't work in my favor.
I didn't get paid more for any of the extra work I put it, but the report was appreciated by my co-workers who recognized the time I gave up (and the sleep I didn't get) so they could do their jobs better.
I have occasionally brought work home. There's the random 'look this up away from the net nanny' aspect of it.Where research is much easier done in the freedom of your own internet rather than the monitored and locked down one at work. there have also been a couple of times when i needed peace and quiet and concentration and the only way to get that was at home over the weekend. I do try to make it the exception not the rule.
Different bosses have different expectations. and there is one with a 'X must be done, don't care how or why, just results' attitude. Others....others know and respect that you have a life and want to live it.
I don't mind the occasional 'spend a little research' time because, well I've made the occasional phone call on work hours so I think it all balances out.
Of course I do.
As do salaried workers in all sorts of corporate fields. Government is not, nor should it be, an exception.
I don't do it for the taxpayers (I don't at all appreciate their perception of Feds). I don't do it because it's expected (it's not). And I don't do it for the compensation (there isn't any). I do it because I'm internally motivated; I want to be good at what I do.
FYI, I recognize that it's just an expression, but it's psychotic to refer to a "work-life" distinction. Dividing part of your life against itself is not healthy.
When I first started working for the federal government I was astonished how hard people worked and how dedicated they were to the mission. Working extra hours either at work or at home seem relatively common among highly motivated employees. With mobile technology and virtualization, many people find working outside the office just as or more productive.