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Born a Texan, but traveled the US extensively.  Now staying on the East coast.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Day in the Life of a Civil Servant

This usually sounds like an oxymoron.
I agree!
This is where the struggles about my job come in because I am classified as a civil servant and as some one who has been working in that classification for almost 30 years, unless I do something extremely stupid, I am untouchable.
That is my struggle because i never worked like a civil servant.
My actual job classification is lab technician, which according to the specs means I am suppose to do what ever tests my boss tells me. Nothing more.
When I was hired, I already had 4 years working in my field in private and corporate industry, I did not like the lying, deceiving and the general attitude most had. I could have just done my job, but it never was enough for me, I was, well, Curious, inquisitive and interested in the meaning of what i did.
I could go on, but that is corporate life and I went in to a local government job.
Where you have to be really stupid to loose your job.
You can insolent, surly and unhelpful and it does not matter.
You can do a poor job it does not matter.
You can yell at your boss and as long as you don't threaten him, it does not matter.
And forget about the public, they just paid your salary.
But I was not like that, could not be like that. I actually tried to help people.
When I was hired, my boss wanted to have environmental testing go to a different level, he was a very good microbiologist and teacher, but he had very little clue about environmental chemistry. He gave me that job and a long rope.
I started expanding the testing, some tests I later dropped because they did not have meaning, I expanded in other areas.
There years after starting, I published my first research. Local government people do not do research, they do not publish. I did.
If you have every seen the movie "The Matrix", you know that Neo saw patterns in the matrix.
I see patterns in data and then try to get the computers to help me prove it.
This is why I learned programing.
Sometimes I am wrong, but not often.
10 years after being hired, I established something called a preemptive closure for the beaches for bathing. No one else had done it at that time. That got the attention of the state health department and then the US EPA. Local people do not do that. I did.
Then I became certified by the DEA as a Forensic Chemist, we were one of the very few local health departments to do it (the others were all large cities).
We started the first tick testing program in the state.
All this was with my boss' blessing, but I did not have to do it.
In the water testing, everyone with well water would ask me about the info on their water. We would get calls on the water company water. I would answer them all and try to be as helpful as I could.
My basic role was to either reassure people everything was really okay, guide them in to proper corrective action or warn them of whatever serious item existed.
The tests I did cost the city money sometimes.
It was if word of mouth was that if you had a question about many things environmental, the person to get the straight answer from was me.
I kept me busy.
In civil service, if there are evaluations, they are meaningless. There are no merit raises or punishments.
I evaluate myself.
I am finding it difficult to do this anymore. I am needing to turn questions away because I actually can not handle a lot.
I am evaluating myself.
I am finding myself lacking.
I had a final publication in July, I did all the work two years earlier.
I do not know if when i leave the replacement will want to do things or be interested, it is not my problem, but i am looking to a time of leaving and it is bittersweet.
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