I went to work for my Uncle Sam almost 11 years ago. I knew that the job was never a path to riches, but it was good, honest work in support of the republic. I had the idealist’s faith that I was doing good works and in exchange I’d be afforded a decent salary and benefits commensurate with my professionalism. Maybe that was true once… or maybe that’s a past world that only ever existed in my imagination.
This is going to sound strange coming from a cynic, but I still feel like I’m doing good works – that what I’m doing does, or at least should matter. What I’ve lost, though, is the faith that I’m doing the right thing for me and that my time and talents wouldn’t be better spent taking on some other challenge. That’s a startling realization after you’ve spent most of your professional life following what you thought was “the one true the way.”
After three long years of hiring and pay freezes, furloughs, impending shutdowns, an apathetic administration, and serving as the legislative branch’s favored whipping boy, it’s really a marvel of human endurance and fortitude that more people aren’t just walking away from the whole damned mess. I’m not on the cusp yet of having my “mad as hell and not taking it anymore” moment, but I’m sorely tempted on an almost daily basis.
I may have lost my faith, but like everyone else on the planet I have bills to pay and promises to keep… and that’s likely enough to keep me on the straight and narrow even when the thrill is gone.