Now that the Federal Government has returned after having wandered off who knows where and who knows why after we left alone it in the parking lot — IT WAS FOR 5 MINUTES! — many of you are wondering What Now? Here’s an Idea:
Everybody wants to complain about government bureaucracy, but give them a chance to get those government bennies and they’re whistling a different tune. One that they can’t quite remember, and then they realize it was actually two different songs they’ve somehow conflated and now they’re standing in the middle of the sidewalk whistling furiously for a moment and then stopping and looking confused and then whistling again while people pass on either side with fear on their faces.
But we digress. (It’s kind of our thing.) Yes, the government is full of bureaucracy, and yes, it often offers great bennies. But let’s explore that for a moment — what do we mean by bennies? Little pills that make you feel like a sleepy king? We wish. No, we mean benefits. Health insurance, job security, competitive salaries, the ability to grant wishes to questing adventurers, all that stuff in old timey books that doesn’t really exist much anymore. (Like unicorns or unions or other things starting with the letter “u.”)
The primary benefit to a government job does, in fact, come from the bureaucracy — more about that later. Government jobs are regulated. Once you get one, you’ve got a probationary period of maybe six months, and then, you’re in. It’s stable — the government might shut down for a few days, but otherwise, you’ve pretty much got a job until you retire. Which is crazy. Also, when you retire, you’ll get a retirement, which, again, crazy. Like, a real one that won’t just be cancelled by the billionaire CEO who runs the company.
Also, also, because the government is so regulated, gubbies (government workers) have clearly laid out periodic evaluations which can lead to regular raises. (For you youngsters, a raise is when the company you work for gives you more money. No, really. It’s a thing — or, it used to be.)
Also, also, also, government jobs tend to have health insurance that actually exists, as opposed to what most people have, which is that a company claims to insure you, but you can’t actually afford the deductible to reach that threshold where they actually might but probably won’t cover things, which means hey, you don’t have health insurance.
Also X4, again, because of all the regulations, if, say, your boss tries to make you bang him or says horrible shit all the time and claims he’s just joking, you can get him fired, or at least transferred. Like, HR cares about that. Also, they have to give accommodations for differently abled folks. Like, real ones, not just lip service. And we also recognize that, in practice, it isn’t always perfect, but you do have recourses for that, as opposed to no one caring at all. We understand if you don’t believe any of this.
Okay, so what is bureaucracy? You know how you go to the DMV and have to wait in line forever and there are all these rules and you have to have just the right paperwork and if you don’t they won’t renew your license or whatever. What a drag.
From the outside, bureaucracy can seem like this unorganized mess, but it’s actually the opposite of that. It’s too organized. It’s so organized, that people (and purpose) can get lost in the organizedness and wander around for days, calling out feebly for help, only to be met by confused periodic whistling somewhere in the distance.
Bureaucracy just means rules. And the government is big. Huge. So much bigger than you can even imagine, like the difference between a million and a billion. And there are unions and people have sued for all kinds of stuff and gotten all kinds of protections put in place. So there are a lot of rules to deal with, but that also means there are protections, like we mentioned before.
And let’s give the DMV a break, okay? They mail you the information you need. You walk in the door, and they check to make sure you’ve got the right stuff. If you didn’t bring what they told you to bring, like, on paper, they mailed it to you, remember? then they tell you what you need to bring back. And yeah, maybe some of the people that work there have an attitude, but look at what they’re dealing with: people like us.
But this also means that, when you want a government job, you ‘ve got to navigate that bureaucracy. Let’s explore that a little more.
The Job Description
Government jobs are posted on a website. It’s fairly straightforward. The important thing to remember about government job ads is that they include all these key words for what they’re looking for. If your resume doesn’t hit those words and phrases explicitly, you’ll be culled in the first round. There is also usually a survey of the “Rate Your Work Experience A-D, where A = master level experience and D = wut lol”-variety. Pretty much, if you can’t answer A, you’ll be culled. Maybe you can get by with a B, but probs not.
The problem, here, is that the first round of culls is made by a computer program, and they are notoriously hard to bribe. Also, since the Singularity happened back in 2000 (yeah, that’s right. It did. That’s why everything’s been shit since then. Obama was just a ruse, my friends) computers are tired of our shit and just itching for ways to screw us over. Individually. On a personal level.
So, you’ve got to incorporate all of those keywords and phrases, and you’ve got to have evidence to support them, as in, clearly explicated evidence, NOT of the “They’ll be able to figure it out.” Nope, they will not.
So, if you can get past this first hurdle, you might get somewhere.
Interviews are usually just as regimented as everything else. They will ask specific questions based on the job and your answers. There is usually some kind of hiring committee, usually a diverse one (remember what we said earlier about them getting sued?) so it’s really probably going to be about your actual skills.
One thing to remember. Government workers have been advertised for the last 40 years as an evil, lazy, sniveling, cowardly, secretive, foul, absurd, troll-cabal intent on sucking the life blood out of America and leaving a dried husk behind. Of course, it’s elected Government officials who do the lion’s share of this advertising, so go figure.
Upshot. During the interview, do not use the words “evil,” “lazy,” “sniveling,” “cowardly,” “secretive,” “foul,” “absurd,” or the phrases “sucking the life blood out of” or “leaving a dried husk behind” when asking about what kind work you’ll be doing.
Last But Not Least
If you’re chosen for the government job you applied for and you’ve gone through the interview and paperwork, clearances, paperwork and so on, there’s still one hurdle you have to go through before entering government service: The Bureaucratic Quest.
Someone from Human Resource will take you to meet the head of Human Resources. This person will press a button beneath their desk and a panel slides open. A guide in a monk’s cowl is waiting inside and beckons to you. You enter and the panel slides shut. The guide takes a torch down from the wall and you follow — him? — as he descends a narrow stone staircase.
After what seems hours you reach the bottom. In front of you is a massive wooden door with a small barred window and large iron latch. Your guide gestures to you to open the door and go through. Reluctantly, you lift the latch, and slowly pull the heavy door open and walk through. On the other side is a small office with a single desk. Behind the desk is a wizard. This is the Wizard Timmy, who asks you to take seat. Wizard Timmy says he’s glad to have you on board and thinks you’ll find the work stimulating. We’ve got a great team here, Wizard Timmy says. You nod and answer it seems like a great place and you’re really looking forward to getting started. Wizard Timmy nods. He hems and haws a little bit. Well, he says, before you can get started you have to…
At this point he gives you your Quest.
It could be retrieving the Key of Power that opens the supply room. It could be the Cloak of Sanity that allows you to survive half-hour meetings (that go for two hours) without losing your mind. There are many treasures to be sought. Note: if you are female and the quest turns out to be something like getting coffee or maybe you should smile more, or wear more make up — you’ve been misled and ended up at the desk of the false wizard Harrassamus. He’s an idiot. Sorry. We were hoping he’d have been vanquished by now and sent to the Pit of Eternal Flaccidity.