Posted by: trashee | December 4, 2006

Public Service and the art of flossing

While lying in the dentist’s chair at lunch today, having my teeth ground, picked at and prodded, I was thinking about how lucky I am to have the job that I do.

A lot of folks go through their lives never really finding anything positive about the daily tasks they perform in order to earn money to pay for the mortgage, bills and their daughter’s $40 baseball caps.

I am happy to say that I am not one of those souls.

Sure, there are days when I have to drag myself into my cube… meetings that are intolerably long and mundane… people who make me wince… but by and large, I like what I do and think that it is important- both to my country and to those who use the information that I am in part responsible for generating.

“Oh wow!” You say. “Where is this Shangri-la of cube life? This Valhalla that takes me a way from la vie quotidienne? This Paradise of careers? Trashy must be an adventurer! An Indiana Jones in search of fine wines and treasures in wild and magnificent locales!”

Can tell ya exactly where but suffice it to say that I’m a voyeur of sorts. Not the ilk that peers out their 14th floor window into the windows of strangers. Rather, my voyeurism is of a deeper character – much more insidious in a way than those that involve field glasses.

I survey them.

Yeah – real exciting. Not as scintillating as a frosh discovering that the apartment across the street from his is home to three Norwegian female exchange students who are really into “naturalism”.

But the stuff that I ask about nonetheless “matters” in a more global, social-good sense. For the abovementioned frosh, it’s more a of a “how-can-I-get-them-to-one-of-my-keg-parties” sense.

I get to design the best way to get the information that I need. I manage the systems that are necessary for the collection of the data and I decide on how the data are analysed, interpreted and let fly into the world to inform the minds of all Canadians of all walks of life!

(Gee – I sound like an insurance ad.)

Not only do I have all of this power (woo-hoo!), but I work with interesting, highly intelligent and highly motivated people who really do give a shit that their salaries are being paid for out of the public purse and that they should do their damnedest to provide value to the Canadian people. And they frickin’ MEAN IT!

I guess that is the one drawback to working in the Public Service. We are all painted with the same cynically-tipped brush that is used on the politicians and those very few Public Servants who take advantage of the trust that is lent to us… yes – lent to us on condition that we are honest, hard-working and forthright. But the vast majority of the Canadian public see all of us in same the dim light that has illuminated a few individuals that do not hold the same high standards that I and those with whom I work consider to be proper.

But this negative is far overwhelmed by the positives…. like a dental care plan… which is why I had to put up with a lecture given by a 20-something hygienist on the virtues of flossing.


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