The Shotgun Blog
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
"It's the most transient, fluid, unsettling work environment on the planet"
No, not I-banking, or a Bay and King law firm, or even a hospital. It's the Public Service:
Depression among Canada's public servants is the country's biggest "public health crisis," says a leading mental health expert.
It's an affliction among the country's nurses, teachers, police, military and bureaucrats at all levels of government, undermining innovation, productivity, quality of service, policy-making and even the relevance of our democratic institutions, said Bill Wilkerson, founder of Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Mental Health.
Notice how cops, nurses, teachers and soldiers get mixed in with paper pushers. They're all government employees, but they are not all bureaucrats.
"The public service is a tsunami of distractions -- meetings, everything questioned, delegated, people moving ... and no one is really in charge," said Wilkerson. "It's the most transient, fluid, unsettling work environment on the planet, so why wouldn't people be anxious and in distress? They are human beings."
Yes, it sounds like a normal office.
But Wilkerson argued the big savings will come by reforming management in the public service, which will go a long way to reducing disability claims. He said the across-the-board cuts that government's typically resort to will only eat into the public service's productivity.
How do you measure productivity in the Public Service? They don't produce anything. Miles of red tape generated per annum? Number of regulations enforced per week? Amount of wealth looted per hour?
The tragic death of Ottawa police Const. Eric Czapnik and the mentally ill Kevin Gregson, the former Mountie who is accused or killing him, raised questions about the responsibilities of employers to promote mental health in the workplace.
Now there's a fine bait and switch. Conflating stressed and unsackable bureaucrats with a front line cop, killed by a sociopathic ex-Mountie. What does one have to do with another?
Posted by Richard Anderson on January 13, 2010 | Permalink
But it really is unsettling to go into an office full of people sitting in front of keyboards, yet not hearing the click of a single key.
Posted by: K Stricker | 2010-01-13 8:39:31 AM
"Amount of wealth looted per hour?"
I almost spat out my water Publius. Good one.
Posted by: Charles | 2010-01-13 8:56:02 AM
Aside from the obvious redundancy of the purpose of those jobs, no mention of the loss of (or at least the pretense of) professionalism. The unionization and politicization of the "workplace" tends to make for pretty nasty places to spend your 37.5 hour week. Its hard to focus when the union is expecting every good member to fight the last election or the next election on behalf of the NDP during every coffee break. Although one could argue that the omnipresent NDP pathology might help in rationalizing their "dead hand" impact on the "evil" private sector.
Posted by: John Chittick | 2010-01-13 10:18:07 AM
"The tragic death of Ottawa police Const. Eric Czapnik and the mentally ill Kevin Gregson, the former Mountie who is accused or killing him, raised questions about the responsibilities of employers to promote mental health in the workplace."
No, it raised the question of why we let, nay encourage, mentally unstable people to inhabit the police forces across the country. Don't shed too many tears for Eric Czapnik I sure he did more than enough in his life to deserve it.
Posted by: DrLiberty | 2010-01-13 10:20:27 AM
Tough job? Boss and co-workers getting you down? Finding it hard to concentrate and get things done....
QUIT! Don't go on stress leave, don't call in sick 3 days per week.. quit the job you hate so much and go do something else...
Quitting your job 'out of the question' due to bills and college tuition?
THEN SHUT UP, SIT DOWN, AND GET BACK TO WORK!
Your REAL boss is ME and every other citizen. We are really getting pissed off with the perks and benefits you public sector workers have, namely: stress leave, paid days off, paid sick days. We pay your salary and yet we don't have the 'option' to take stress leave and collect 80% of our pay for playing video games at home all day.
So do yourself and all of us taxpayers a huge Favor and either quit your job or DO your job.
Posted by: arctic_front | 2010-01-20 10:30:02 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.