I've had two government jobs since being here. One was exactly how you are describing op. incredibly unprofessional, one staff member wore thongs in summer and matching track suits in winter, no staff ever dressed professinally. I felt so out of place in my business suit. Nastiness, backstabbing, favouritism was rife. I would come home I tears every day because of how I was treated because I wasn't a sheep. It was awful. My current job is completely different and much better.
I worked with public sector health care for over 10 years. Major tertiary hospital in capital city = cutting edge technology, best specialists in the country in their fields, strictest confidentiality and professionalism, massive commitment from staff to patient care.
However, given that I've spent the last five years running my own private practice I would also say that my staff/workplace still have all those qualities now in the private sector (ha ha not that I'm biased or think my practice is totally awesome or anything! )
I think there is an element of "all workplaces are different", but I think the big difference in government is the level of job security for some people that simply doesn't exist in private sector. I've seen staff members wandering the halls everday for years on end, with nobody knowing what their job actually is. Having worked in both numerous government roles and in private sector, this is something I only ever saw in the big government departments.
I don't think this applies to professional roles like lawyers, teachers, nurses, doctors, business analysts, planners, etc. but is a problem more the 'old schoolers' who would get a generic public service traineeship as a teenager back in the 60s, and then pretty much stay at what their comfort level was for the next 40 years. I cant think of any parallel like that in the private sector. Even KPIs and annual performance reviews aren't mandatory in a lot of NSW departments because of union issues so there is the potential for very little accountability.
That said, as I commented previously- I've worked with some amazing and inspiring colleagues in government who absolutely work their arses off and produce incredible work.
Welcome to the public service. Hope you are not in a management position because I suspect you will be pulling your hair out soon.
I've had great experiences working in both the Commonwealth and State Governments. I've spent time working for the JET program, then involved with AusAid for DFAT, then moved into the legal sector with AGs Department and the courts. Everyone I work with is professional and extremely skilled...to much is at stake for people to be casual or incompetent. The workload gets bigger each year, and the Courts are constantly subjected to criticism for long waiting times for court dates, while the Government abolish positions, close courts and constantly make everyone do more with less.
To be honest, I get a bit tired of people bagging the public sector. A politician is usually on a pretty good bet to win public support when he starts talking "We're going to get rid of 'x' public servants"...but the same people who cheer that news are the ones complaining because of how long they have to wait on hold to talk to someone in Government.
DH works for Tax, and his job is highly technical and he works very hard at it. He has to deal with a lot of people who don't think the tax laws should apply to them...don't envy him at all.
The areas in the PS I have worked have certainly defied the stereotypes.
I have been working for the commonwealth public service for almost 15 years and across 4 departments. I am yet to work anywhere that has little to no workload and is unprofessional. The current efficiency dividends that the government expect departments to meet means most areas are running slightly understaffed or at capacity. I know I work long hours and even though I am part-time I pretty much work a full-time job.
I think clicky workplaces exist everywhere, public or private. The public service has really strong anti-harassment policies and all employees are bound by the APS Code of Conduct. If things are that bad talk to the local harassment contact officer or HR.
Where are these cruisey depts where no one works? I want to work there. At the moment our section is very understaffed, they are expecting almost impossibe workloads from everyone, and we are all subject to performance reviews.
I hate the bagging out too, I am on Mat leave at the moment, but when I was at work I felt I was constantly drowning under the work load and they were constantly laying off people. So it was a vicious cycle. A person I worked with was a bit up himself - used to go on about how cruisey the APS was compared with when he was in the private sector and then set out to prove how he wasn't "lazy" like normal public servants. He ended up getting such severe RSI in both hands that he could no longer work, and they had to find a special job for him to do that didn't require using hands
Remember years ago when the public perception was that public servants bludged and did nothing?!? I can't say I ever experienced that.
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