Re: The Worker / Employer Relationship

Ira Brodsky (
Sun, 10 Nov 1996 11:36:50 -0600

"Lyle Burkhead" wrote:

>Wow. You must have a chip on your shoulder, Mike. I have spent
>quite a bit of my life in public schools and public libraries, and I was
>always treated like a human being. I haven't had much occasion to use
>other government facilities, except post offices. I hate going to the
>post office, it's a zoo, but if I am friendly to the clerks, they are usually
>friendly to me. I have also been treated in a friendly manner by the
>staff in public parks, swimming pools, etc.

I suggest the following scale:

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT...... rude and deceitful
STATE GOVERNMENT........ lazy and slow to respond
LOCAL GOVERNMENT........ bureaucratic, polite, and mildly responsive if you
don't ask too much

Of course, you may occasionally run into someone new and idealistic.

Regarding the post office, what you are really saying is that if you only
request routine services, but act all the while as if they are performing
valorous deeds, they will respond positively -- in customary slow motion.

In general, employees of local government know they must be more courteous
because their jobs are rarely guaranteed for life, they must often deal
with the same people repeatedly, and they know there could be future
ramifications (e.g., they may discover the victim of their rudeness is, or
becomes, a person of authority).

I think Michael was trying to illustrate that government employees are much
less responsive than company (i.e., free market) employees. Lack of
friendliness is not the real issue, however, but merely a symptom.
Personally, I avoid State and Federal employees as much as possible. When
forced to deal with them -- usually because no alternative is *permitted*
-- I would much prefer they scowl at me while doing as I request in a
prompt and competent manner.

Of course, some of them have discovered a friendly countenance is
sufficient to win effusive praise from Statists.

Ira Brodsky
Datacomm Research Company
Wilmette, Illinois