I just received today’s installment of “The Daily Pipeline” from the Partnership for Public Service and was angered when I read the opinion piece by Thomas Schweich entitled “Generation No.” Here’s how he starts his thoughts:
“You know you have arrived when you get interviewed by the 29-year-old instead of the 22-year-old,” the 57-year-old foreign service officer said to me with a laugh. It was late 2005, and this three-time ambassador had just been interviewed for a top post at the Department of State.
Her interviewer was part of a large corps of 20-somethings — some were in their early 30s — who ran the Office of Presidential Personnel. Many of them were sons or daughters of supporters of President George W. Bush. Others had connections through congressmen. With few exceptions, they had one thing in common: very little experience and a very big attitude.
Schweich’s remarks are short and scathing, replete with condescension toward 20-somethings, who he refers to as “the kids.” He makes a strong case against younger, inexperienced appointments and recommends that our new president “fill the personnel office…with a combination of veteran government employees and human resources experts.”
I don’t disagree with the need for competent personnel of any age – of course we want people in government to be the best and brightest! But Schwiech almost suggests that candidates need to be over 45 to have the requisite experience for available positions. Read it for yourself…and see if you agree with me that these kinds of thoughts and ideas, if they are pervasive among those currently running offices and agencies, may be a warning sign that intergenerational war is about to break out in offices across Washington.