24 September 2005

Government As Purgatory

It seems another weekend post is called for...

Aníbal Freytes calls himself The Information Soldier. A recent post of his speaks about something The Jenius will never know: working for the government of Puerto Rico.

After describing his early work experiences leading up to his first forays into government work, Mr. Freytes makes very clear he loves to work and works hard. Then comes this:

Now. I've changed jobs. Still in the government but it has changed...

Now, I try to get to my job as early as possible. Because, then I can leave as early as possible...

I hate myself for doing that, I hate myself for feeling this way. I hate myself for what I have become. Just another government employee. I used to look on "government employees" with disdain. In my mind, I was a "public servant". The difference being that a public servant is committed to do the best possible for Puerto Rico; meanwhile I reinforced in my mind the public view that government employees where there just for busywork and a paycheck.

I would like to get back in the private sector. I've sent out dozens of resumes. Precious few calls for interviews. No calls to offer something definite... I would love to return to the days when I got home fully spent, but happy; instead of brain-dulled and self-hating.

Some people get fired, others "quit", some more leave. Some have something to hang on to, others don't.

I fear... and grow desperate.

The information soldier is tired of feeling he can't ever win...

Wanting to get out of the office as early as possible... brain-dulled... self-hating... a growing feeling of desperation and hopelessness... This is misery. Tell Me this isn't a modern form of slavery, indentured servitude as "the Puerto Rican dream of security and easy living."

Mr. Freytes deserves better. In some small way, We need to make sure he--and the rest of Us--receive better.

The Jenius Has Spoken.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Ayn Rand's book usually had a character like that, someone who starts on the right patch but is crushed by the establishment.
Amazing how the work environment can crush a personś spirit. Conformity is such a despicable trait, and the most hateful part is that it sneaks up on you.
When I finished college (Interamerican University, go tigres!) one of my friends went to a goverment agency. Full of energy and hope. He used to go early to read and learn as much as possible about his job and agency. He stayed late. After a few weeks, his coworkes circled his desk and explained to him that he was arriving and leaving at the same time as everyone else or he would suffer the consequences. He complied to gain social aceptance but continued tryin o learn and help others learn. He would photocopy articles and pass them to employees (no email back then). He gave books at Christmas parties. All that was useless, his coworkers (term used loosely) where there just for the paycheck and had no intention of changing that. By this time, two years had passed and his worth in the private sector was less than when he graduated, even with his self financed CNE certification. Goverment employment stigma is hard to overcome. He had to leave the island in order to improve. I have also posted a similar story about my brother before. I'm sure there are many other stories like that. Goverment culture is so diseased its probably impossible to change without drastic reorganizations.