I think I've pinpointed the noticable issues with my life lately. The generally unchanging ones, being my family, are still a very big issue and source of stress. But I think I've found what has genuinely been upsetting me as of late. It very much just seems to have dawned on me this afternoon. Things just seem to have clicked, and I feel the need to share somewhat. I'd like to start off though by saying that I feel the chorus of 'Candle in the Wind' seems very appropo at the moment. If you don't know it take a second to Google it or something because I think it'll help to understand my feelings at the moment. Because I feel it applies so very very relevantly.
First off being my job. Not my job itself which while busy, as it gets during the summer months, isn't actually the problem. It's the politics around it affecting me. It's more the fact that I'm assumed to be a desk jockey wafting through the system with a cushy job. That I have no accountablity and that my job is ultimately lesser than that of someone in the private sector, of which there is no geologist in the private sector that does every aspect of my job in a singular postion like mine. I do the jobs of 3-4 people in terms of bridge inspections, geotechincal investigations, claims investigations, and ultimately blasting plans. And I do make considerably less than people in these positions even with benefits. Especially now that I am furloughed every month.
I guess I should go through and explain what I do. For bridge inspections I should clarify I only inspect the footings of the bridge. I do drilled caisson inspections, for which I get lowered into the shaft by either a drill rig, crane with proper safety protection, or a tripod with a winch. This is actually the most nerver wracking of my job and something Gus can tell you causes me a great deal of angiush and upset. It's not the only aspect of my job but it's one that can and does upset me some. I also inspect spread footings which are just big open sections we pour concrete into and form it up around rebar, etc.
Geotechnical investigations are pretty numerous and there's probably something I don't cover but I'm going to hit on several. I do preconstruction surveys which I survey houses, walls, and other man made structures for damage before construction, so that if we have a claim post construction for damage we have a basis for comparison. I do soil surveys for construction and I am the consultant for testing and rock identification. Testing is pretty broad but basically when we need to do test drilling, and analysis it's brought to me. I don't do the actual testing, but interpret and graphically project the results.
Claims investigations are where I go out and meet with people that file claims against the department for various reasons, and I only get involved in the ones about property damage. That's typically when there's damage to a lake, siltation issues, cracks, etc.
Blasting plans are what they sound like. I approve and deal with them for the office and go to meetings about them.
I do all of these things for the state and to be fair I like my job most of the time. It's fulfilling and engaging work. I also feel it's rewarding work from the standpoint of just completing it. I knew going into work for the state or any government entity other than the military that it's also thankless work. I don't ever do work so people will laud me. I don't even laud myself that much. However I never did quite expect the level of vitrol I get from people about it. Frankly it's the levels of poisonous words against people like me, people that work a job for the state like hundreds of thousands of other people, that have escalated that have become part of why I'm so unhappy. Everytime I open up any kind of comment section on articles pertaining to my department or the government (not politicians or Congressional policy/D.C. Politics) all I see is just venom. As an example I was reading a NYT article on furloughs not being very helpful for employees, and generally they were talking about the state workers in California that are having to work regardless of mandated furloughs and the general feelings of guilt associated with taking them. I will admit that I do often feel very guilty for taking them even though they're manditory. I don't know if work will be done when I get back, because often if I'm not on top of reminding people it won't be done. Also I worry about that if my work isn't done I'll be the one penalized because it is my responsibility that it get done. This is something my mother deals with as well. I will say the thought of no accountability in government is hogwash and devised by a person that has never worked at the state or local level. We're regularly reminded if our work isn't done that we'll be written up. And my mother has to work nights and weekends to make sure she is caught up. She can't even take weekends off anymore.
And note that this is all uncompensated work as well. She has no recourse, they will fire her if she were to file a suit even though they're in the wrong for no compensation. She's terrified of losing her job because my father was forced to retire or be fired. I'm not terrified of losing my job however. That's not stressing me out any. But it's more to show how hard and honestly people like my mom, dad, and I work only to be repaid with scorn, hatred, and indifference. Often I see people treat state workers like we're subhuman. We should be subserviant to the public and not act with integrity and authority to protect their intrests and assets like responsible citizens. My father did that for 25 years and is a man of the upmost intergrity and honesty. You can't really find a better man than him, but still people treated him like a disposable commodity.
The 'I pay your salary' line comes up very often. Yes and I pay my salary too. I'm not exempt from taxes and I pay the exact same ones that you do. That doesn't give you remotely the right to curse, insult, or act as though I owe you anything. I am a person and I face the same hardships and problems that you do. I owe the state the best work I can do because I am their employee. I am not in fact your employee despite how much you wish to claim so because you pay taxes. I am here because ultimately your money doesn't do the work on it's own. The state directs me how to act and it is their name on my employment agreements and not yours. The state is the one that answers to your beck and call, not me directly. Recall I chose to do this job and serve the public intrest. Try to excercise a bit of respect and humanity when dealing with people.
It's very easy to say I personally should be the one to take the paycut to make ends meet. I know it's very easy not to care if my salary is cut. To be fair I don't care much about whether or not yours is either. However targeting me and saying I'm paid too much and that is why there are budget problems is just downright ignorant. And it does piss me off. I'm THE major income in my household now. And I make less than 60k a year combined with my mother's income. So yes, I'm totally making waaaay too much.
I work a job, same as anyone else. What I don't really get is why people are so stupidly against me? I'm in the same boat as everyone else. Instead I'm a communist. I'm a lazy desk jockey. I couldn't get a job in the private sector because I'm incompetant. I can't be fired (to be fair, I laugh at this because it's stupid since I'm at-will. I could be fired for no reason.) Which leads way to complaints about the government. Which I'll preface with my belief that the government cannot be run as a business. It can't because it's not a business meant to turn a profit. It's actually the only place where profit is irrelevant, note that doesn't mean that wasting money is okay. But the goal is to provide governance and services. How well and how much is actually where the debate is in my opinion. I don't talk about my political leanings all that much here but I can't really get around it with this subject. I'd probably be classified as libertarian (fiscially conservative, socially liberal) but I don't like them as they're a useless bunch of 3rd party sods. I typically get more into the democrat area due to the social aspects. I'm unfortunately very vocal about inadequacies in social areas.
I always feel like I'm in the crossfire in political discussions but I suppose that is because I am. I feel that way in my job when people all around me sound off like I'm some kind of monster or sloth that needs to be burnt in effigy. And truly that is how I feel. I feel there is no middle ground for discussion anymore in America. That you're either polarized one way or another. With the unabashed rantings of the political pundits on the radio and their dominance on the internet I'm kind of left feeling there isn't a refuge anymore for people like me who at the end of the day look at people as people. Which is why when people sound off on subjects to villify the opponent I find it horrendous. I look at people and try to understand them and not judge too harshly even if I don't agree. However it seems like everyone has ideology and no compassion or empathy. And to me an America sans empathy is the scariest place in the world to me. And it comes down to I wonder what place is there in this world for a person like me.