Government Jobs

August 22nd, 2017 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 6 comments

As you teach in your books and podcasts, to have money in my wallet is a sign that I pleased another human being, a sign of clear virtue. Since I work in private sector, I hold this to be self evident.

This clarity got severely shaken by a friend of mine. He has recently graduated, master in chemistry. Despite his little experience he cashes in extraordinary sums of money. How? Simple, he has 4 parallel jobs, all of them for the government funded university. These jobs are not demanding at all, while averagely paid. Since nearly NO results are required of him, he can manage 4 of them at the same time. Although averagely paid, four times average is still a great deal of money. And yes, it is legal.

What bothers me is, how does he know he pleased another human being? The university spends public money and cares not for the results as long as the money is spent. How should we look at the usefulness of government paid employees?

This example is from Europe, where about 50% of all the transactions are government related. There is a great deal of people who make their living this way.

May the lord bless you,

Martin

Dear Martin,

I (Rabbi Daniel Lapin) frequently speak in public about money. I sometimes ask everyone to take out a dollar bill and hold it in the air. I then ask anyone who got that dollar by mugging a little old lady on the way to my talk to put it away. I then ask those who got the dollar by robbing a convenience store to put it away as well. The rest of the people, I say, can know that they got the money by pleasing another person.

I’m going for a certain dramatic effect when I speak rather than compiling an exhaustive list of every exception to the rule. You are raising one of the exceptions. There are certainly people who work for government or heavily government supported institutions, whether in the United States or in other countries, who are hard-working, responsible people of integrity. However, because it is almost impossible to be fired from many of these positions and because, too frequently, government departments do not have to show value in order to be funded with money confiscated forcibly from citizens through taxes, these employees do little more than waste or misuse taxpayer money.  Their paychecks are not connected to pleasing any other person, other than a supervisor, who is also part of the same corrupted system of growing government.

We personally know a few people who were hired for government positions and left these well-paying and very cushy jobs with great benefits because they found them to be soul-sucking. They were discouraged from working hard or doing valuable work and felt their spirits being corroded by the time they wasted simply putting in their hours. This isn’t automatically true for government supported employees—active military obviously aren’t  paid enough—but it sounds like your friend falls into this category. He is, in effect, participating in the legally sanctioned stealing of money from tax-paying citizens.  But as you sagely say, it is all legal.  Which makes one think, doesn’t it? A number of the early founders of America recognized that society’s laws only work if the populace is composed of good and moral people. Without a majority of people having internal controls and self-regulation, a legal system cannot make for a successful society.

You are correct to feel that a side effect of your friend’s employment is to make those of us who do work hard for our money and who run the risk of losing jobs or businesses if we do not give value, feel dispirited.

The bottom line is that it is good to be able to look at oneself in a mirror, and see an honorable face.

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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6 comments

Mary Anne says:

My father in law worked at an air force base as an environmental engineer. His most difficult challenges at work were dealing with the people that couldn’t be fired. He had horrible staff at times that he could not fire. He had terrible bosses that did nothing. Even being around these people was soul sucking! As a populace, we should demand that government workers be subject to the same standards as the private sector – being able to be fired!

Ruth says:

Common sense that cuts to the heart. God bless you.
Ruth

Mountain Queen says:

I agree. That’s why I pledged to myself as a teenager never to work for the government or a union unless I was the only one who could do that job and they desperately needed my skills. I’m now 60 years old and this commitment has been a very freeing concept in my life because God’s wisdom and understanding have allowed me to make good decisions without the help of a third party or the government for my careers choices. I wish others had done the same because it would certainly help in the oppression of Americans by having smaller government the way the founders intended this country to be.

L Maslonka says:

Myself Edgar Albert Guest

I have to live with myself and so
I want to be fit for myself to know.
I want to be able as days go by,
always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don’t want to stand with the setting sun
and hate myself for the things I have done.

I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf
a lot of secrets about myself
and fool myself as I come and go
into thinking no one else will ever know
the kind of person I really am,
I don’t want to dress up myself in sham.

I want to go out with my head erect
I want to deserve all men’s respect;
but here in the struggle for fame and wealth
I want to be able to like myself.
I don’t want to look at myself and know that
I am bluster and bluff and empty show.

I never can hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know,
I never can fool myself and so,
whatever happens I want to be
self respecting and conscience free.

Susan Lapin says:

Wouldn’t it be nice if children still memorized poems like this one? Our children learned a similar one called, “The Man in the Mirror.”

Carl from SC says:

WOW-THX, did 5 years active duty Navy/Marines, then worked for the
VA, Quit in 5 years. Could have retired by now but without a soul……my goal is to never retire…..
Am working to start a business with HEMP, with the business concept of ‘Able’ based rather than ‘Cain’ based.
When are you going to do a study/CD on Solomon and his demise, besides his ‘Bill Clinton’ mindset…..

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