I recall with fond memories my earliest days of government service in the U.S. Navy. I had a sense that I was doing something special. I was young and idealistic. At the end of my tour, despite some bumps along the way, I left happy and interested in continuing my service to my country.
I started working for the IRS in 1999. I was dedicated and hopeful that I could make an impact. I worked hard and advanced in a reasonable fashion. However, I made the choice to leave the service to further my education and expand my horizons.
Several years later, I returned. I was fully educated. I had completed graduate education and was finishing a Doctorate. I was highly skilled in the use of technology and prepared to contribute my skills to the Learning and Education branch, as my graduate education was in this field.
What I found were entrenched attitudes and behaviors. Dinosaurs. People with power but little knowledge that were threatened by new ideas and innovation. They wanted people that were “yes” men or women. There was no real interest in dialogue or conversation or expanding our abilities in a responsible way.
Add to this the fact that federal employees have been vilified by the American public and sold out by our elected politicians and you have made a case for me, and many others I know, to stop caring as passionately about the work as we once did. I have seen tremendous amounts of government waste. Highly graded employees who literally do not know what they are doing. I have personally bailed out so many, it is not even funny. All I have to look forward to is furlough days and more blame from people who are ill-equipped to do the work I do.
So, where does that leave me? I am not sure. Perhaps it is just the IRS. Perhaps other government agencies are better, more creative, more engaged, more interested in advancing their abilities. I certainly hope so. At this age, it becomes hard to start over. I sure do hope something happens to make me want to care about my job again. It is ironic, the very people and agency I serve are the ones that drove the desire to serve out me.
Life is full of little ironies…..