Federal Workers: A Very Different Breed of Cat

Friday - 8/20/2010, 4:00am EDT

In yesterday's column about federal vs. private sector pay, I stretched a point to make a point. I said it's difficult to compare government vs. industry average pay. That's because the nature of the federal service is that most of its jobs are held by well-educated professional and administrative types. To make the stretch I said Uncle Sam doesn't do retail!

In fact he does, but not much.

I've been in a number of PXs and commissaries staffed by mostly low-paid clerical NAF (non-appropriated fund) employees. But they are a tiny minority of the federal workforce.

The best part of the column was the response it got from readers. And on a Thursday in mid-August no less! Especially this from a lady who is a legacy fed who says it much better than I could. She writes:

    "Good morning my dear friends:

    "Read your article this morning and wanted to clue y'all in to something....the Defense Commissary Agency does employ people who stock produce, flip burgers, and sell clothes. Take a look at the...USAJOBS page for DCA vacancy announcements.

    "Bottom line....Government workers work just as hard as private sector workers, we pay taxes, we support our communities, we sacrifice for our families the same as everybody else. Heck, we even watch the same types of airheaded people get promotions just like private industry folks do.

    "But here is what makes us (at least the majority of us) different, we take an oath.

    'I, [insert name] , do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.'

    "What does this translate to, I'll tell you. When that plane hit the Pentagon, yes, people ran for cover but once the initial shock faded (about a minute), you saw people running to help...not to gawk or watch others help but rather to see who they could help, what debris could they move that might bring help to someone trapped that much faster.

    "Now, in my case, working for Uncle Sam is in my blood, both Momma and Daddy retired from the Army and Air Force and then went on to have civil service careers at the Pentagon. I was raised a good southern girl, defend God, Country, Family....in that order.

    "The majority of Americans are good, hard working people but it only takes a few idiots without the brain function God gave them to muck up the waters and try and say federal workers are mindless drones with lots of perks. Here's a thought......federal workers, soldiers, the commissary meat cutter wake up every day and have made a choice to work for an agency that defends the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights, etc, so that the few ignorant jerks in our great country can get on their soap box and say whatever is on their mind....that's called the freedom of speech. Please let those particular folks know that if they don't like it here as much as it sounds like they don't (all their complaining and such), then by all means, let them go elsewhere.....I hear there is land available in Afghanistan or Iran.......cheap even.

    "Take care y'all - have a great day!" Ms Dixie

Wow!!!

To reach me: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com


Nearly Useless Factoid
by Suzanne Kubota

Mr. Causey, a shockingly well-read man, tells me he has been told repeatedly by his favorite clerks (including JCQ) at his favored bookstore ("it rhymes with Farnes and Doble") that the Most Frequently Asked Question by customers is "where is the self-help section?"


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