Top 5 Things I Never Thought I’d say – Public Servant Edition

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

I received my certificate for being in the public service for 10 years (only 20 more to go. Woo!)

I have seen a lot and said a lot in that time. Countless amounts of, “Huh?” and “Why?” but some things have really blindsided me.

 

5. Do we still have pens/highlighters?

A few years ago the government released a directive to lower the amount of paper we use. I never liked printing things anyway and most of my work is digital but every once in a while I need a pen and can’t find it.

There’s a little area that has some, but nothing compared to the stationary closets of the past.

4. Template, form, mock-up, or style?

Surprisingly depending on people’s background, all these things can mean the same product. It can be:

  • an example file used to recreate the same look
  • a fillable document meant to collect information
  • a technical product that has all the styles and look built into it for easy formatting
  • a list of detailed instructions or examples that show how something should be done.

It’s not always obvious what people want and trying to navigate that without sounding condescending is a pain.

3. Free food? I’ll pass.

I love free food, like a starving college/university student loves free food.

There are a lot of events that are held where they give free food. I’m still learning which ones are worth it and which are, “standing in line for an hour in the hot sun wishing I was dead”.

Some of these events are just not worth the burger and bag of chips that’s offered.

2. My Agency has an Instagram strategy…

It was bound to happen. I’m so old and out of touch with social media and tech that my agency is outpacing me. They are looking into Instagram as a way to spread the accomplishments of the public service.

That means that it’s possible that my workplace will have an Instagram account before me.

It both makes me want to sign up and not want to… yikes.

1. You’ve reached a government phone… stop calling me

Three years ago my office got rid of landlines in favour of cellphones. That, unfortunately, meant the death of extensions and government specific numbers. Which meant the rise of spam calls.

Since I don’t deal with clients directly I get very few, real, calls.

The fake CRA scam, duct cleaning, credit card scam, Chinese Embassy, and people looking for Genevieve call me on a regular basis.

My favourite thing to do is answer the phone with my name, position, and agency and then repeat it twice. Most of them hang up or laugh and then threaten me.

 

What odd things have you said in your day job?

Éric

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