jenga | The Life of K: jenga

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


you know what i would like to do? i would like to convince every single canadian who is working for the government through an agency or on casual - any kind of non-permanent employment - to quit. just walk out. see ya, government!

and i would love to see how badly the whole government would deal with having all these holes. and the best part would be that since most of the temp help is in support roles (admins, it, other support) the government would crumble pretty quickly is my bet. and if a group could deal without their temporary employees they would certainly run out of pens soon enough and not know how to deal.

it's never going to happen and it's not because i couldn't convince everyone. it's because for every temp employee, there are 5 more waiting, without employment, for a job to open up. if i convinced everyone to walk out, the government would find more people to fill the spots. it's a nasty and endless circle. kind of like the no experience no job, no job no experience rut.

the government makes due with temporary employees because they are quick to get in, cheap and plentiful. the temporary employees work contract because they can't afford to not work and they can't find a permanent position. who will break this trend?? it has to be the government. the government is a huge body capable of surviving temporary losses in income/capital whereas your regular temp employee has to feed themselves and possible others.

government, if you're listening, i'm asking, nay pleading, that you look at the situation you have created with temporary help and HIRE ME!


  1. hire me too? Pretty please?

    Way to hit the nail on the head with the temp agency situation. The irony of it all is that, not only would the government collapse, half of Ottawa business would implode as well since the number of temp agencies that exist to skim 10-40% off of government temp contracts is mind boggling.

    An equal (or bigger) problem is that government does not have to be profitable. billions of dollars in debt? no problem! Employees that do nothing but keep the chairs from floating off the ground? Sign them up! The situation could be easily(?) cleaned up by following the private sector model where if you suck at your job you get canned. I think it all boils down to true accountability (and not the Harper-ese version that is bandied about these days). Every government employee should be required to a) justify their decisions reasonably well and b) actually make the decisions they have been hired to make. It's part b) that's really lacking here. It doesn't matter how many review processes and checks and balances (read: red tape) an employer uses, if employees refuse to actually make decisions in the first place then no benefit is gained.

    Which brings us back to the temp problem. "Real" government employees refuse to make decisions because it may come back to haunt them ( because of accountability rules), so they hire desperate underlings (temps) that they can blame their mistakes on. If temp A gets blamed for decision #1, no problem, just fire him/her and hire temp B. Because there are so many waiting in the wings, this can go on forever.

  2. ALSO I've found, at least in groups I've worked in, that the temp employees work a lot harder than the regular employees. Example: right now my little group of 8 has 3 full-timers, 3 casual/agency, and 2 on stress leave. How does that make sense?

    And it really sucks for the temp employees when, say the stress leave employees come back... well I'm out of a job. They would have to let me go. I understand they can't bring on a full-time replacement for the people on stress leave because they don't really know when they'll be back.

    I think it has to do not only with accountability problems but that the government tries *so* hard to be accountable to ALL canadians and has all these policies in place where you basically have to shoot your boss to be fired and even then your union might be able to get you your job back.

    There are so many people who work for the government (I have three in my bigger group alone!) who are just a drain on the system and all the people around them. They are the ones who make me hate coming in on the chance that I'll have to deal with them. They are also the people who are so secure in their employment that they do whatever the want and complain because they aren't being paid enough. Well, they are. More than they're worth.

    Maybe the government will slowly reform once our generation gets older. I feel like our generation will be changing a lot of things once we can. But who knows, maybe I'm in the minority.

  3. Call me a pessimist, but human nature says that once all the dead wood retires, the new generation will expect to get paid just as much (or more) for doing the same incredibly small amount of work. "We've earned this right" we'll say, "because we spent years slaving away as temps for half of what we were worth". It's hard to admit, but I can even see myself doing it. Do you know anyone that asks for a pay cut because they're being paid more than they are worth? I sure can't think of anyone.

    I hope it doesn't turn out that way, but I feel that this kind of change isn't going to happen from the inside, because everyone is comfy in there. It's got to happen from the outside and most of the people on the outside just doesn't know how bad it really is. Just look at the sponsorship scandal. It's practically disappeared off the radar now. Joe Canadian thinks that since the "thieving liberals" are out of power the issue is solved. It was never a liberal party problem; it has always been a public service problem. It's just that the liberals couldn't keep it under the rug.

  4. that is how i feel: i should be paid more for what i'm doing even now. and i feel that way because i see how little some people do and i have a pretty good idea what they get paid.

    i wonder how different it is in the private sector though. sure the employees might be better at their job, but do they not pay themselves in other ways? my last private-sector boss for example would take his whole family with him on his business trips. plus he never actually worked, he just made sure he had solid people under him that could take care of the job and show him where to sign what papers when he came in.

    i like the idea of the job security the government offers but think i would give it up if it meant the dead weight could be fired/let go and the best people for the job moved on (regardless of race/visible minority/women status).

    you should hear my brother go on and on about how he, as a white male in his twenties, can't get so many jobs because they are going to visible minorities or women - people that are not necessarily as qualified as he. you can tell he hates it, but i guess this is a whole different can of worms.