Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Rule #8

The past few weeks of discussion had temporarily disrupted my train of thought. Of course, it has been said that shiny objects also have the same effect on me. I'll try to get back on track, posting something both cogent and coherent.

On second thought, I'll just post another one of the Rules:

Rule #8: "The second biggest detriment to public service is the service."

[Yes. I realize that I posted a Rule #8 already. This is the real Rule #8. Please adjust.]

Listen. For those of you who are on the client side of the table, please keep in mind that it is public service not public slavery. I've checked the 13th Amendment, so I'm pretty sure that slavery is not allowed anymore, even if you work for Martha Stewart. So Dear Clients, dropping the f-bomb on me at 8:30 AM is not going to increase your chances of being helped any sooner. Nor will having a tantrum help. Nor will threats. And no, you are not allowed to beat me, flog me, or torture me.

We public servants are here to serve, by the way. We're not magicians. Do not expect us to violate the laws of time and space and the Commonwealth for you. I'm particularly upset when Clients expect us to violate Boyle's Law; Politicians are ideal gas bags.

On our side, it's tough to serve thousands of different requests from hundreds of competing interests. Senator A supports project Q, but Congressman Z doesn't, while Local Councilman H is backing both on the ground for re-election. Loud Citizen F supports neither. Meanwhile Executive E has cut back our funding and staffing so we can't so our job efficiently, and Legislature L demands constant lengthy updates as to why we're writing lengthy reports rather than doing our job.

Navigating the complex maze of politics with the directive of serving all of the interests equally is both disheartening and frustrating, ultimately leading all parties to be equally upset about the ultimate outcome. It's hard to do the right thing without pissing people off. For that matter, it's hard to do the right thing, or, indeed, anything.

I truly believe that public service is a noble profession; I'd like it to be treated as such, by both the Public and the Servants.

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