Civil Service

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

My fa­vorite dis­cus­sion this year in my Public Administration class cen­tered around whether civ­il ser­vice was a call­ing [or not]. This led me to think about why I get so much sat­is­fac­tion out of my gov­ern­ment web de­sign gig. The an­swer I usu­al­ly shell out is be­cause every day I get a chance to im­prove the way gov­ern­ment in­ter­acts with its cit­i­zens. Despite this be­ing true and the most im­me­di­ate re­ward of my job, I fig­ured there has to be more. It’s my fam­i­ly, and Catholic school.

My grand­pa fought in World War II and then was was a mail car­ri­er with a rur­al route for the Post Office for years. My moth­er taught spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion her whole life. The Holy Cross broth­ers at Notre Dame al­so em­pha­sized ser­vice. After awhile it gets in­grained. I en­joy work­ing for the gov­ern­ment be­cause it is ser­vice-dri­ven, not prof­it-mo­ti­vat­ed. Whenever I get a call for­ward­ed to me from the help desk, I al­ways make sure I don’t send them around on an­oth­er bout of trans­fer-tag. If I can’t an­swer their ques­tion or help them out, I make sure that if I do have to trans­fer them, they get sent to the ex­act­ly cor­rect per­son, not just the cor­rect of­fice. The re­ward is their grat­i­tude.

So, I guess it is easy to see where I fall on the ar­gu­ment. I feel called to civ­il ser­vice, so I think it is a call­ing.

It might seem like an ex­cep­tion, but the Selective Service (a fas­ci­nat­ing Wikipedia ar­ti­cle), and the fact that I had to reg­is­ter for the [non-ex­is­tent] draft in or­der to re­ceive fed­er­al stu­dent loans is a big rea­son why I nev­er signed up for the Armed Forces. I’m non-com­bat­ive by na­ture, but I’m al­so stub­born as hell when some­one tries to force me to do some­thing. It is fit­ting then, that I would re­sent sign­ing up for the draft; it is an en­forced civ­il ser­vice (among oth­er things), and there­fore in­con­sis­tent with my opin­ion that civ­il ser­vice is a call­ing.