There are those that are blessed to find their vocation. A true sense of calling and purpose in what they do. I once knew a young man who stood 6'9" and weight 320 and was being recruited by every D1 school in the nation (he showed me his letters). He chose to pass on football because he wanted to become a pediatric surgeon. He made that dream happen. He felt it was his calling.
Then we have those of us in an occupation. For whatever reason, we slid into a job. It was not our dream, but it paid the bills, afforded us some measure of satisfaction, and allowed us to live our lives reasonably. Government work became this type of job for me. However, there is a part of me that is passionate about teaching and helping make training products in my organization the best they can be. Not for my government, but for the people of this country paying my salary.
Three years into a hiring and salary freeze. I cannot pay my bills. My costs keep going up, but my salary does not. My government keeps asking more of me because they refuse to hire new people, but they pay me nothing extra. I am tasked with work which was never my obligation to do based on the systems the government put in place (grade specific work). I see senior leadership being promoted and detailed. I am stuck in a perpetual limbo. There was a time when a pat on the back and a "job well done" might have sufficed. But no longer. At this point, I want what I am due...a pay raise and a promotion. I want the government to treat me properly for the valuable work I do. So, what can they do to motivate us?
Hmm....not much at this point. So many of us are burned out at the crap they do. We are always being told to do better. Be better. Exemplify the best. I have sat through scandal after scandal. Lavish conferences. Star Trek videos. Unfairly targeting groups that are not popular. These are senior level people making these choices. And at every turn, the hard-working little government employee suffers. It is a damn shame.