If there are two words that make me shudder at my office every time I hear them, it’s definitely these:
Job Security is a term that is thrown across the wall, down the hallway, into everyone’s little cubicle and spewed at every division meeting. It’s something the Big Boss likes to talk a lot about, especially when things are getting pretty shitty. Like, for instance, now.
It’s not entirely hard to understand, really, why this term is thrown around. We don’t make money in the government, so there’s no need to retain people who might make the company a lot of money but are complete assholes. At the same time, there’s no monetary incentives for anyone to work really hard, either. So instead, the government forces you to reach arbitrary “goals” to keep whatever GS (government pay scale) level you are. You might have to process 8 claims a day in order to reach, say, the level necessary for a GS-10. If you surpass it, that’s nice, but not really needed. They have to sweeten the pot somehow, so without money involved, it ends up being about being able to keep your job. A bit sadistic, right?
But job security cannot only go so far. People do get fired, and for several reasons.
- They don’t like you. This could be for a myriad of reasons. It could be that you’re just an asshole and you don’t get along with anyone in the office. It could also be that you’re constantly talking, which, as I’ve said previously, is a big fucking no-no. They might think you’re flighty, or that you break their arbitrary rules like taking 20 instead 15 minutes for your break and getting caught. My friend Elizabeth almost got fired because an assistant supervisor just did not like her, and used to watch how much time she would take for breaks. People also are not liked if they are too stupid to play the game. The guy who recently got fired was told part of the reason was because when the Big Boss asked him what he was doing one day, he replied, “Nothing.”
- You don’t meet their stupid goals. Most people have a tough time with these goals because they’re set by people in DC who have never performed these jobs. Our production goals are also checked along side quality and timeliness goals. This all means that they want you to process as many claims as you can, do them as perfectly as you can, as fast as you can, every single day. Your work is checked and rechecked for errors. If one thing is wrong, you’re fucked for that particular claim. Sometimes, this is all up to interpretation. We use so many legal documents, manuals, etc to process our claims that it really does just become an administrative decision as to whether or not you did it right. If you don’t meet all of this shit, they get rid of you, and get rid of you quick. The last person who did meet their goals was fired on New Years Eve.
- Reduction in forces. This is, perhaps, the biggest mindfuck of them all. This is not really a problem at the moment, but awhile ago, Old Man Reagan thought it best to fire a shitload of government employees because he hated the government so much. Now, I have to say, both Bush and Obama have been pretty good about leaving us alone. But Reagan was not so into keeping anyone. Apparently, he used to send little messages telling Big Bosses across the company to pick a few employees to axe, and that they couldn’t refill positions once the person left or retired. In essence, he was a massive dick about it, because for all the talk about government being evil, he really just screwed people out of their jobs. And if there’s one thing about most government employees, you get sucked in for life. Can you imagine putting 25 years in, and finding out you’re getting fired because the President is a tool?
So, all that talk of job security really can’t protect you from reasons why they can still just fire you. Job security is really just a term thrown around to quell any rebellion.
Next up: How not to get fired