by Franklin McWhittle
Well, well, well, it seems as though the smug punditry who until recently
were so effusive in their praise of high technology are rather quiet
nowadays, are they not? Every day, more job cuts, more shattered dreams,
more carnage on the stock market. (Thankfully, the peaks and valleys
of the high tech sector have minimal effect on my wife and mine's
ethical mutual funds).
I have never been a terribly big fan of risk. I know the Nortels
and Corels of this world and the swashbuckling venture capitalists
associated with them who were making money hand over fist appeared
sexy to the ever-so-shallow news media, but I am someone who prefers
the comfort of a job that is steady as the day as long-a place where
you don't have to worry about the locks being changed every Monday
morning when you go into work.
I am proud to be a civil servant. I have given 26 years of my life
(with the framed plaque to prove it) to the government of Canada,
and contrary to the dominant world-view of life as a public servant,
I could not be happier. Oh sure, some of my more morbid colleagues
try to bring me down with their low morale and dreary moping, but
they will not win this happy warrior over.
Many people think of the civil service as being stuffy, resistant
to change, afflicted with draconian human resources practices and
lacking in innovation. This is a common misconception. The federal
government is changing, adapting to suit the needs of the 20th century
workforce. (Or is it the 21st century now? I always get that mixed
up). Nonetheless, despite what the young people of today are fed
by the corporativist news media, the federal government of Canada
is an exciting and dynamic place to work.
Why, just last week, despite it possibly being in contravention
of union regulations, (they have yet to return my call), I had a
rather large rubber plant placed in my cubicle, and my goodness,
has it ever perked up the office-it's quite the hit. All week long,
people who beforehand hardly ever talked to me have been stopping
by to ask about the plant. Sometimes, we'll be talking for an hour
and half before we even realize it. They ask me if they can get
one of these plants put in their cubicle, to which I always refer
them to PAC, a.k.a. the infamous Plant Allocation Committee.
Just between you and me, I refer them to PAC because I know they'll
get turned down. You have to put in at least 20 years with the feds
before PAC will even think about giving you your own plant.
I want to be the only one on the floor who has his own plant, because,
gosh darnit, I like the attention. It's a better way for me to express
my individuality than wearing my old 'down with nukes' t-shirts
on Fridays like I used to, which I think some of my younger colleagues
found off-putting. I like being 'big man on campus.' I like having
my own affectionate nickname. (Mr. Rubber) I just enjoy getting
up a little bit more in the morning knowing that my faithful friend
will be waiting for me loyally when I show up.
And they say government red tape is obtrusive. Long live the Plant
Posted on June 29th, 2001