I like being a public servant. I once semi-seriously said at an interview 'sometimes the worst thing about being a public servant is the public' - which didn't go down too well. What I meant was the 'hello Channel 9, I'd like to complain' letters to the editor types. Apart from them, the public is ace. Being a public servant can give you immense satisfaction in knowing at the end of the day you can and often do make a real difference in the lives of others. Not all of us get it - especially those poor fuckers in finance - but a lot of us do.
But, the PS can also be retarded. One such example is that while I applaud job protection provisions in the public service it is counter pointed by the dross that remains in the public service. There are some time serving deadwood that I think we all have to put up with. But then as Peter in Office Space famously once said they work just hard enough not to get fired. So that's probably the case in the corporate world as well.
Anyway, moving on.
One of the most retarded things I have come across is the end of financial year budget big spend. The Public Service for some reason has this 'use it or lose it' mantra. As in if you don't expend all your budget then next years budget will be the same as last year minus the underspend. The theory is eventually it balances need against projected expenditure. Except it doesn't. Because theories get fucked in first contact with the enemy - in this case public servants. We get encouraged to spend money on crap we don't need. Like training in courses we really don't need to go on. Or conferences where there is no real gain. Or merchandise that will gather dust atop cabinets against the wall. Or new computers where the old ones are perfectly useable given their typical use. New monitors. Mugs with logos on it. This list is endless. All because we want to access, potentially, the higher level of money the next financial year.
I make it a point of pride not to waste money on crap. So I resist the call to spend, spend, spend. Hell I get quotes from over 10 companies sometimes just to get the best deal. We should all be like that in the public service. Because if we spend well, then if there's something we really need to do that will be of real benefit chances are the money for it can be found.
Anyway, if there's PS's out there who know how this retarded money management system came into being I'd like to know about it.