On the eve of President Trump’s inauguration, surveys of federal workers indicated that “as many as” one third of them were still “considering” quitting their government jobs in protest of the new president’s election. So how is that working out? Government Executive conducted a series of interviews among the disgruntled (who still seem to be available for interviews at their offices) and the headline from their latest coverage would lead you to believe that these employees are making good on their promises.
So… can we help you carry your stuff out to the parking lot? What’s that? You’re not leaving quite yet?
[Antoinette] Henry has worked as a career civil servant for 33 years. She had planned to stay at the department and apply for a promotion, as her boss recently left federal service. When President Trump took office, however, those plans changed.
“I think I’m going to go,” she said. “There’s too much uncertainty.”
Henry is not alone. In interviews with Government Executive, federal employees across government — speaking in their private capacities — said they had become too disheartened to continue in public service. In a post-election Government Business Council/GovExec.com survey of the federal workforce, about one in four employees said they were considering leaving their jobs. Many have now decided to follow through.
So you’re saying that “many” have decided to follow through on their threats. Fair enough. But some of the answers they are giving in this interview would suggest motives which aren’t quite so pure.
One anonymous worker at the Bureau of Land Management provides the quote found in the title of the piece. “I can’t get out the door fast enough,” she says. But that door must be one heck of a long ways from her desk because she follows it up by saying she is counting down the days until she becomes eligible for retirement. Hold the phone here. What sort of a principled stand is that? You’re telling us that the new president is so entirely unacceptable that you’re going to leave your job in government service rather than be seen working for him. But not until you’ve stuck around long enough to qualify for all of your taxpayer funded lifetime benefits.
How very principled indeed.
Liz Appratto from the Veterans Affairs Department isn’t planning on leaving because “the work is too important” (um… you work at the VA). But some of her friends can’t make that sacrifice.
Not all of her co-workers feel that way, however. “A lot of people I know are looking for other positions,” she said. “I know they’re looking at the outside to see what might be available.”
Looking for other positions? Looking on “the outside” to see what’s available? Those of us who have been living “on the outside” can tell you what’s available: jobs… assuming you can find one and compete to land a good position. But before you pack up your cardboard box full of belongings you should know that you don’t get a merit system board out here to make sure you are employed for life. If you get caught driving a getaway car at a robbery or watching porn in your office for six hours a day (both things which actually happened among federal workers who still have their jobs today, by the way) or simply don’t perform well, you get fired. It’s a cold cruel world, so you might want to get used to that idea.
There are more examples and interviews at the link so take a look. Personally, I’ll believe they are heading out the door in significant numbers when I see an OMB report confirming it. In the meantime, if you’re really all that principled and angry at President Trump, perhaps you should take a real stand, turn in a “Take This Job And Shove It” note and head for the parking lot. But that would be terribly difficult, wouldn’t it?