Radwanski’s defense: He had no control over his office

September 23, 2008

Interesting to follow the Rawwanski trial, if only for an example of an office which wasn’t working well at all and weak leaders.

Yesterday, Radwanski pleaded he had to spend so much time in restaurants because his office was such a chaotic place:

“It was so difficult to go five, 10, 15 minutes (in the office) without an interruption of some sort,” he said. “It was just the process in which I worked.”

Say again? He had so little control over his own staff that they felt free to just walk into his office while a meeting was in progress? That’s his excuse?

He also testified than he was so “bad with numbers” that he let his staff deal with all financial matters, rather than try to understand what was put in front of him.

Crazy. Just crazy.

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Poll: Public Service out of style

August 6, 2008

What is surprising about today’s Angus Reid poll on where Canadians want to work is not that the Public Service is out of style, but rather that the situation is apparently far worse than people think.

Among those still interesting in becoming a bureaucrat, women in particular wish to join the Public Service “to better balance the demands of work and family. The problem, says Linda Duxbury of Carleton U and reporter Kathryn May’s go-to woman for anything PS-related, is that they will quickly become disillusioned because public servants, especially managers and executives, are overworked and putting in long hours. The benefits, hours and flex time is on the books and the perception is this is utopia for work-life balance, but they will quickly find out that is not what they will get.”

So… people have a generally negative image of the Public Service and what they think is good about it actually isn’t true?

I don’t know… Sure, the PS is a hellhole of regulations and the current landlord may send any of your initiatives to the shredder without having to provide a justification. But from what I can see from my little corner of Paperpusherland, the money is fair, there’s not too much unpaid overtime, it’s a great place to learn new skills and there’s usually somebody reasonably qualified to do your job while you enjoy fairly long paid vacations. On top of that, your continued employment doesn’t depend on the sales of your company’s latest dangerous gadget.

And yes, serving the public still counts for something. Absolutely. Even the poll says so.

Seems to me there’s still enough good selling points for a recruiting pitch.


E.X.: Spam column

July 17, 2008

Does anyone read E.X. in the Ottawa Citizen? It seems to be the perfect example of a good idea, badly executed.

Of course there is a market for a column about the dysfunctional side of the Public Service in a city like Ottawa. I love those hilarious water-cooler conversations about HR processes gone bad, unprintable intranet forms and paperwork for which there seems to have no useful function whatsoever.

Instead of laughing about it, which is what public servants do, the Citizen is running a column that is bland, boring and leaves you with the taste of ashes in your mouth. Like Spam.