Friday, October 21, 2011

Government is the New Elite

Whitehorse is a government town. We have the Feds in their big fancy building downtown and we have our Territorial Government as well. There was a time when working for the Government was not a sought after career but that has now changed. I listen to people around me telling me how they are working toward securing that government job.
How did it happen that having a public sector job is a sought after career choice? Is being a government employee the new elite? It seems that in the North it is. I guess because of the strength of unions, jobs with government are the best bet in a flailing economy. It once was the ideal to own your own business but that is no longer the case.
I work in a hotel and I listen to people I work with saying how they are going to go about securing that government job. I can't blame them. They work in an industry without benefits or any sort of security. But there is also this thread of pride in the fact that we don't have one of "those" jobs. We mock the government types that come in for lunch. We talk about how spoiled they are. On election day they all got off work early so they could vote. The polls didn't close until 8pm and government shuts down at 5 but I guess 3 hours was not enough to make it to the polls.
My feeling is that people who work in government really do not understand the real world. They are coddled and given such a sense of security that when a new government comes into power they all fret about what benefits they will lose. They don't understand that the rest of us live with uncertainty every day.
It has become a point of pride for me not to work for the government. I often think about applying but I am not sure I would even survive that process. I have heard that you can take a class on how to go through the application and interview process for a Govt job. They teach you how to say all the right things to ensure success. This makes no sense to me. They are not even getting a sense of who they are interviewing if everyone has been coached to say what they want to hear. I guess that is the first step in becoming a govt drone though. Say what is expected and act like all the other drones so that you can join the hive.
A friend at work told me how someone she knew was taking a year sabbatical from her govt job and she asked who was going to replace her. The woman said no one. We laughed about this. If I took a year off from my job I would certainly have to be replaced because I actually produce something in my job. Not everyone does apparently.
I must admit that I and my fellow workers feel a bit superior to the Govvies even though we make a pittance in comparison and we have no benefits or security. We feel like we haven't sold out.


  1. Although I agree with some of what you say, how is getting a job that pays a great deal more "selling out"? I'm an ex-YTG employee (3 years) who quit many years ago and has never regretted it.

  2. Well because govt workers do nothing..

  3. My husband is a nurse and therefore a YTG employee. I think he provides a vital service for our small community.

    I don't know if Faro would survive as a town without those government jobs (teachers, CO, nurses, etc).

    I come from a family back ground of farmers, rig workers and entrepreneurs. It has been quite the adjustment to having careers in the public services (I was an adult educator before becoming a stay at home parent).

  4. I don't believe we can do without teachers, nurses etc...that is indirect government employment and yes they do actually do something. My comments are about direct govt employees. I am not so naive as to think we cannot do without govt but there is so much waste. If any company was run with the inefficiency of govt they wouldn't last.

  5. Kind of a massive generalization on almost 5000 employees don't you think?

    Similar to your experience with your coworkers (texting all the time at work), there are sub-standard employees everywhere - private and public sector.

    But I hear ya, who needs a Justice Department... lawyers are overpaid anyways. And those judges/trials/courts do nothing. And who needs the Highways Dept?? Plowed & sanded roads in the dead of winter are overrated...

  6. Yes let us all cherry pick the "essential" services to prove I am an idiot. We have 30,000 people in the Yukon and a ridiculous amount to direct govt beuracrats. If Ontario had the same number of govt employees per capita they would number in the hundreds of thousands. I came here over 20 yrs ago and it was a great "Free" place to live but those freedoms are being eroded by beuracrats would need to perpetuate their existence by endlessly creating legislation for the rest of us to live by. I stand by my statement that working for government has become the "new elite" and that is a sad day.