John Derbyshire at National Review Online published this email from a reader. There are enough similarities between my position and what this reader is describing that I thought I should be quite explicit: I did not write that email:
Dear Mr. Derbyshire — I’m the [middle-management job title] for the [name of state] Dept. of Correction BECAUSE OF YOU!! After 20 years in IT in the private sector I got a goverment job after being laid off from [name of firm which outsourced their IT work overseas]. I’ve been in the government for 2 years now making about 60% of what I did in the private sector. State doesn’t pay like Federal.Yes, I am making about 60% of what I made in the dearly departed private sector, which I suspect may never come back, unless adults somehow miraculously end up in control of the federal government.
I knew it would be bad in gummint, but the scale and pervasiveness of idiocy and sloth at every single level is astounding. It’s fractal. Nobody cares how long something takes, or if anything gets done poorly or at all. Everybody here thinks everyone else is a moron, and everybody is right. Management is inept to the point of being criminally negligent. More layers of management too.
Nobody [expletive] cares about anything except maintaining the same routine until retirement and [name of state] is a right-to-work state. At a state with a public employee union, I can’t imagine.
Yes, I work for the Idaho Department of Correction, and Idaho is a right to work state.
But I am not middle management. I have worked as first level management at various times in my career--and I have been quite effective at that--not that this much matters when looking for a job. Whether you drink on social occasions, play golf, or are a flaming liberal--in the private sector, that matters more in hiring decisions.
I haven't been at my current employer long enough to know whether management is competent or not, nor do I have much visibility into what they do, but I can say that my co-workers make a serious effort to do their jobs well, and my immediate supervisor does a good job.
And of course, I wouldn't send an email that needed bleeping.