Thursday, October 10, 2013

Person Capital and the Government Shutdown


One of the mantras of the information age is

"People are Capital"

In other words, the experience and knowledge of your workforce is a significant capital investment. It is the only capital investment that can walk out the door whenever it get's pissed off enough and right now all the best people employed by either directly or indirectly by the federal government are polishing their resumes and checking just exactly who they know on LinkedIn. I know because that's exactly what I've been doing.

The great lie that has been put out there is that government jobs are cushy and easy and only incompetent people would take them. Well, one way or another I've been employed by the Federal government indirectly for the every job I've ever had since I stopped waiting tables, cooking or washing dishes in 1987. The reality is that most people in the government work long hours for relatively low wages given their expertise and education. Despite every attempt to belittle it on Fox News, Public service is alive and well. Many of the people not getting paychecks are hard working competent people that
could make more money in the private sector, but choose to work for the federal paycheck because they believe in public service. For me, it matters that what I do advances the knowledge of mankind in some way. 

I remember a conversion in high school (1978) about the future and I said my "dream job" would be to work at a "national lab doing physics research". One of my friends that had more exposure to the larger world said "Those are terrible jobs". 

It's really odd that we were both right. My job is my dream job, but it is also terrible in that I never get the resources to do it right.  The current drama in Washington is the last straw for many of us; the best people currently employed by the government are all looking around for stable paychecks.

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