A LETTER TO THE GOVERNMENT WORKER
My dear fellow government worker,
I have just retired and sooner or later you would also take the same road towards the culmination of your career. For those who are still new in the government service, I have a few counsels to share. For those who have spent more than twenty years, some ideas may just be relevant but I know you already are familiar with the things I would be sharing.
First off, never, never compete. Government work is a defined activity. Never show initiative. It’s an offense and your supervisor might suspect you immediately of hatching something, even if what you intend is something saintly. Never make the mistake of showing off. You are already doomed if you do that. Worst, you are breeding people who would attack and make a mockery of you until you snap and droll like a rabid dog.
Secondly, just be contented with what has been given you as a task. Never exceed expectations, just comply, do nothing more. If the task requires too much on your part, immediately notify your supervisor and let your superior make the necessary judgement and resolution. Never act as if you are greater in terms of thinking. And even if it is so, never allow them to abuse your mind. Let them think, they have bigger salaries than you, let them earn their upkeep. Just stay quiet in one corner waiting for their response. If you feel like they are deliberating something earth shaking, pick a book and read it. Never volunteer your ideas, otherwise if something goes wrong, all of you in the office will just point an accusing finger at you as if you intended to make an activity a failure.
Thirdly, if you feel like you are choking in government service because your creativity is reduced to subservience to authority, pick a hobby during weekends to make you more productive. Do not entertain the thought that you will become wealthy in government service. Your superiors will never allow that to happen not because it is prohibited in law or there are legal procedures that frustrate anyone, but because it would make them idiots.
Promotion in government is a blend of luck and timing. I tell you, it is never based on merit and quality. Never even wish for it unless of course you intend to make your life miserable as you grow old in the service.
If one gets promoted, there will be a good number of those who will appreciate but beware of those who will be afflicted with anger, disgust and envy. They will surely use government agencies like DOJ, Courts, Ombudsman or your own agency’s legal office to lodge complaints against you, any complaint for that matter as long as it rings controversy. Once promoted, the officer is even ripe for bashing until finally his superior will be affected and his designation will just be token until he bows out in exasperation.
I have known good and exceptional talents leaving the institution because of aversion and disgust.
In my case, I barely had warmed up my seat in my first promotion when intrigues would instantly greet me in my face. I would also get to taste for the first time how it was to be charged administratively and pay the price (with sleepless night, asking myself where I got wrong) of having been recognized early.
During the initial 20 year period, I lasted up to 38 years; I had accumulated 17 administrative cases and four court cases. If I will be pronounced guilty in just one administrative case, the penalty would be outright dismissal already. For the criminal case tried in court, a penalty in just one case alone would merit imprisonment not less than 10 years. I had to bear the baggage as if it’s a barnacle on my neck. I have to attend to each and every case, filing answers and responses, submitting documents and gathering references for the admin cases, attending hearing, paying regularly bail for court cases and assuring the allowance and compensation of those counsels I hired, quite a number of lawyers at that, even to the extent of taking up legal education, for the purpose of proper representation in court. This, at a time, was when I have to perform better and accomplish so much since I had been promoted.
All throughout the period, while performing to the best of my abilities, I have to face my tormentors and complainants, mostly anonymous, until finally I was able to champion each and every case. It is like cooking food for your master and at the same time guarding his gates so that there is peace in the kitchen. Something like that.
And precisely because the complaints were founded more about malice and mischievousness, defending myself was never a problem. Except for a waste of time, I won all my cases, one after another, one f***king sh*t after another f***kng sh*t!
I may have been the youngest Division Chief in all of the bureaucracy sometime ago, the youngest prison superintendent too (not to mention the fact that since the item of Penal Superintendent IV is equivalent rank with that of Major General in AFP or Chief Superintendent in PNP), but it is a sure fire formula for getting stressed out and live a tension filled existence. I had been an object of contempt by distrustful prison leaders, subject of jealous contemporaries too. What gross and nerve-wracking post one gets. A number of my colleagues became regular habitués in hospitals and would be crippled if not gunned down to death while about to report for work.
It has consequences. If one has a lucky star, the curse is bearable. It can ruin family life. It can destroy friendship. It can even disrupt concentration and make the person unstable for a while, irritable most of the time. If unlucky, the fellow would just run out of reason to live or would just snap out and be insane for life.
And finally, once you decide to retire and you have a number of pending complaints reflected on your service record then bid an easy procedure for retiring goodbye. Forget those times you were hailed and promoted for being a good worker. You may have done nine heroic deeds but if you forgot something, just once in ten acts, then you are a villain until the end. That is how ungrateful public service is.
Remember the police officer who held hostage a number of Chinese tourists in Luneta sometime ago? He was given a run-around on his retirement until he snapped out. The rest is horrible history.
If you want harmony up to the time you end your career and face the bliss of a peaceful twilight years ahead without complications and difficulties as in filing your retirement without hassles, don’t be ambitious about promotion and work. Check out your feet, it should always be on the ground. Don’t even be assiduous or audacious. Just remain as a regular, typical and average worker.
Be that as it may, stay the way you are and you are on the right track.
Regards and be vigilant so that you remain ordinary.