Contrary to public opinion, I am not underworked and overpaid, nor do I gleefully mis-transfer calls, nor have I ever once sat around eating bon-bons. I work hard all day, every day, though not nearly as hard as the state workers who care for our veterans and disabled, maintain our highways, guard our prisons, and the myriad other hard, thankless jobs that state employees do. You may have read in the paper or seen on the news things that make you think otherwise, but for every crappy, corrupt state employee that makes the news, there are thousands of dedicated, hard-working, ethical state employees with their heads down working.
There are times the building I work in is uncomfortably warm or cool due to lack of funding for basic maintenance. I do without basic tools I need to do my job, because it's that or let an employee go and we are already understaffed as it is. I work on average between 40 and 50 hours a week; I get paid for 40. I take leave if I am 15 minutes late to work, regardless of how many hours I put in the day before.
My health insurance premium is exorbitant due to a state law that for years has disallowed our insurer to exclude pre-existing conditions. I know state employees with children with hemophilia, severe autism, and other heart-breaking conditions who went to work for the state solely for the insurance coverage--it's about the only way they could get it. I don't complain--it's a good recruitment tool.
I have excellent benefits and generous paid leave. The cash value of all of my benefits including salary about equals the salary alone I could get in the private sector. I get no bonus, no incentive pay. We pay for our own employee picnics and holiday luncheons--tax revenue cannot be used for such expenditures. State employees in my state have not had a raise in four years.
We have the authority to do what the law says we can do, no more or less. Often this stymies us in our ability to perform our mission. You know when you call the government and we can't help? It frustrates and pisses us off, too.
Why do I work for the State? Because I'm a bleeding heart liberal who wants to make a difference, because I come from a tradition of public service, because doing so allows me to practice my profession and still have a life, because unlike my experience in the private sector my client always pays my bill and never once sits in my office and bawls.
I'm not asking for sympathy. I asked for this job and all told, I love it. I'm just tired of hearing public employees bashed. It's a free country and you have every right to speak your mind. I'm just asking that before you bash public employees, educate yourself. Things are tough all over.