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The Truth About Career Limiting Moves

[Note: Cross posted from cpsrenewal.ca]

When I tell people I blog about the public service they usually tell me I’m crazy. When I tell them that I’ve been doing it for two years without major incident they are skeptical. My contemporaries are told to stop or to take “great care in what they write”.

If you ever doubted the value of blogging – how it can positively impact a team, how it can promote learning, or how it can lead to organizational growth – I would urge you to read a series of posts from a team of public servants in British Columbia.

Nina Ilnyckyj started the conversation (oh and it is a conversation) with this post entitled “This week I was like a baby goat. Right. A kid.” To quote Nina:

Juxtapositions are good for flash of insights. I realized that I’ve been as silly as a baby goat this week, and just as prone to butting heads. In other words, I was a bit juvenile in how I tried to incite change.

Nina’s boss, Robin Farr, responded here with a post entitled “The old dog, the kid, and some new tricks”:

We have a different perspective on a few things, so it could have been a tense conversation. I actually think it went quite well. But the point of this post isn’t to highlight what Nina got out of it, but what I did.

Finally Robin’s boss, Rueben (are you following? Hierarchical chain: Nina – Robin – Rueben) responded in a post entitled “Your friendly neighbourhood communications & engagement superheroes”:

Because it is my good fortune to have a team that is so deeply passionate about their work that they actively seek out better ways to do our work on a daily basis. It seems most people spend their work days trying hard to care about what they do. The people I work with spend their days caring to try harder. And it’s not like that makes their work easier. It’s easier not to care. It’s hard to care that much about our work because it tends to drive you to do more and to insist on doing it right. It tends to mean you are more emotionally invested in your work. And when you hit walls or can’t deliver at the level you want, it tends to leave you battered and bruised and frustrated – until you pick yourself up and channel that into motivation to take on the next thing. And there’s always a next thing. So I hope they all spend the weekend in their respective fortresses of solitude, resting their courage and passion in preparation for another week.

I think the chain speaks for itself. It speaks to the value proposition of social media in government. It speaks to the courage of the people involved, it speaks to how the web connects us, and teaches lessons from the lives of others.

Whenever anyone steps up and tells you that blogging and the public service doesn’t mix; when they tell you not to; and when they tell your that you are risking too much tell them that the real risk is failing to soldier on. Tell them that the truth of the matter is this: the real career limiting move is keeping your head down, never taking a risk, and fear-mongering when you realize that the calculated risk-taker beside you is likely to quickly surpass you on the career path.

Tell them, and if they need further convincing, send them the link to this post so that they can read first hand why public servants should blog, how those blogs have value, and how those people pushing for change out there in the open – people like Nina, Robin and Rueben – are courageous, far more courageous than any coward who tells someone else not to have an opinion, let alone voice one.

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Srinidhi Boray

At the most it will limit ones career, and limit material possession – But it cannot and will not take away the true “American Dream”.

Of Liberty, Freedom, To Dare and create better world based on honesty, principles and ideals that Founding Fathers established. Everything else concerned with matter, that these corporate and businesses have only sought, could not mute millions like myself from speaking, but have not succeeded in taking away our dreams. Unfortunately businesses and propaganda portrayed “American Dream” only to be concerned with material possession. Unfortunately that lead to moral decay.

Below are better motivations for “American Dream” – Speak UP.

From Senator Ron Paul’s site


Most of today’s Americans would say that home ownership is the American Dream. Others would say that it is being your own boss, having your own business or becoming rich and famous. While the American Dream certainly could include some or all of these things, none of them by themselves constitute the American Dream. Rather, they are a result of it. The American Dream is far greater!

In his essay “The American Dream”, which was published back in the October 1973 issue of The Freeman, John E. Nestler reflects:

“Whereas the American Dream was once equated with certain principles of freedom, it is now equated with things. The American Dream has undergone a metamorphosis from principles to materialism. … When people are concerned more with the attainment of things than with the maintenance of principles, it is a sign of moral decay. And it is through such decay that loss of freedom occurs.”

Thirty years later, in the June 2003 issue of The Freeman, Lawrence W. Reed published an excellent and timely article entitled “The True Meaning of Patriotism”. In it Reed writes:

“I subscribe to a patriotism rooted in ideas that in turn gave birth to a country, but it’s the ideas that I think of when I’m feeling patriotic. I’m a patriotic American because I revere the ideas that motivated the Founders and compelled them, in many instances, to put their lives, fortunes and sacred honor on the line.”

More recently, Chuck Baldwin emphatically stated in his article Can You Imagine This Country?, that material gain is not the American Dream. Baldwin writes:

“We hear much today about the American dream. By “the American dream,” most people mean buying a big house, driving an expensive automobile, and making a lot of money. However, this was not the dream envisioned by the Founding Fathers. Remember that, for the most part, America’s founders gave up their material wealth and substance for something they considered of far greater worth. Unfortunately, this hedonistic generation knows little of the kind of sacrificial spirit personified in the lives of America’s patriarchs.

In the minds of the founders, liberty–with all of its intrinsic risks–was more desirable than material prosperity, if that prosperity was accompanied with despotism or collectivism. So strong was their desire that they were willing to give up the latter in order to procure the former for themselves and their posterity.

How dare Americans today refer to material gain as “the American dream.” It is not! It is the freedom to honestly pursue one’s goals that should be celebrated. Material gain is only a fruit of freedom, not its root.”

Sterling Whitehead

Nick, well said. I couldn’t agree with you more. The biggest risk isn’t making enemies about what you write (I make them), but failing to write.

Mark Horowitz

Nicholas, you are absolutely, 100% right. Too many people are so focused on not doing the wrong thing that they end up doing nothing. If enough people of conscience spoke their minds about the problems they see, then things would change…