Training – There simply isn’t the budget and will to allow staff to develop skills by attending conferences out of the province or country, training sessions and courses on a regular basis. Fortunately, there is now Google and an abundance of on-line courses so I can maintain my skills, but a good portion is at my own expense and time. I can’t imagine how staff 20 years ago maintained their skill set. In fact, I can see that a lot of staff hasn’t. This is particularly short-sighted initiative from the government. You don’t know what you don’t know and the only way to learn things is to see what other people are doing, including in other provinces and countries. It’s one thing to sit around a room and discuss things, but the conversations that happen at conferences are probably where I’ve learned the most. I’ve also made some great connections, which means when I get stuck with something I can email someone I met in Las Vegas or Montreal and ask what they do in the same situation.
Speed – The rate of change in government is extremely slow. For someone like me, with not a huge amount of patience, waiting 6 months for the latest version of software or getting a new piece of software is extremely frustrating.
Collaboration – There really is a lack of collaboration within government, with respect to people working together. I’m not sure why this is, or if it’s just the ‘culture’ where I’ve happened to work. I can definitely say the best places I’ve worked, have emphasized collaboration. When collaborating, there’s always someone to say well-done and why did the hell did you do that. Those simple checks can go a long way in accomplishing projects.
Lack of bonuses – The base pay within government is not bad, but there are no incentives to work harder. There isn’t any options to reward staff who’ve done well, even with a day off, an extra something in the pay check. If you’re lucky you’ll get a beer and some wings.
Mandatory union and pension contributions – The upsides of being in a union and pension are definitely weighed down by the expenses, specifically the pension contributions. I take home less than 60% of my actual pay check but live in the province with one of the lowest tax rates. A large portion goes to the pension contribution. When I’m just starting out, I’d probably prefer more to put on my mortgage and get a new car, but I don’t get the choice. In the long run, I’m not sure this is bad, but right now its a pain in the ass.