As much as I complain about my boss and such, I really do enjoy my job. I know I am the envy of some folks when I tell them that somedays all I do is screw around on LJ and chat. Do I feel guilty? Somewhat. The core part of my job is simply to keep track of everyone's water and keep the Rio Grande flowing at a rate that meets the needs of farmers and endangered fish. It's not difficult, but there is a lot of responsibility. I tend to slack off a lot simply because I think people make things much more difficult for themselves. I really appreciate the K.I.S.S. approach of keeping it simple, stupid.
One of my faults is that I always take what people say as if they know what they are talking about. If a fish biologist tells me that fish burrow into the sand to survive droughts, I will believe them since it's their specialty and not mine. Many times I will just sit back during a heated discussion because I assume everyone knows what the issues are and are working on a solution. After working for the government for over 10 years, I am finally realizing that there are a lot of clueless idiots out there. My boss is a prime example. At first I gave her the full benefit of the doubt that she knew what she was doing. Obviously she must. She's in charge. It's only after a whole bunch of people begin sharing stories of her incompetence that the picture becomes clear.
There is an engineer working for the Bureau of Indian Affairs that is another case-in-point. We assume he is an intelligent man having a degree in engineering, but after seeing him operate, we're starting to wonder if he didn't buy a diploma from the back of a cereal box. What does this have to do with me? Well, I feel that compared to all of the other yutzes, I'm doing a pretty damn good job. Is this a good thing, comparing myself to the bottom of the barrel? No. But it really puts work in perspective. I can understand why the Communist system collapsed. If you all get paid regardless of the quality of your work, then why strive to outdo the others? Pride in workmanship? Well, I do have pride in the job that I do. And when I see something is a complete circle jerk, I run in the opposite direction. If I appear lazy because I don't want to get involved in some project, it's most likely because I see a train wreck ahead and want to avoid it.
I take comfort in the fact that many times people come to me and say, "Wow! You were right about that job. That was a total cluster fuck!" It validates that perhaps my perceptions are not that far off. I like to think of myself as Wally from Dilbert. He's really smart, and he really just doesn't care. If someone gave him a meaningful assignment where a good product would lead to some recognition, I'm sure he would do it. When you constantly see the principle of "screw up and move up" in action, your desire to work hard and make a difference goes out the window.
The other day the manager for one of the local wildlife refuges had a stroke and died. He was maybe 50. It was very sobering in our office. We all realized that all of this little shit is really not worth getting excited over. Life does not begin nor end with work. This stuff is just not that important. But somebody thinks the little stuff is. I just received our little monthly newsletter from our regional office. It is in the new style with proper font and color. Someone spent 2 years deciding what the official color and font should be for our agency. Yeah. I don't feel so bad about taking an extra 15 minutes on my lunch break.
I make good money. I like my office space. I have friends here. I will just keep under the radar and do the best job I can for the taxpayers of the USA.