ex-High Techies in the Federal Government

After this blog entry I was immediately asked about the challenges those ex-techies who joined the Federal government have found.   Here is a quick summary of what I’ve been told:

  • Being under-employed/under-challenged (compared to their personal perceived capability)
  • Being discouraged from working excessive hours (one individual told me about a situation where a co-worker took them aside and asked them to stop working long hours because it was making the rest of them look bad  – however all other individuals I know said they had never experienced this type of behavior and in fact noted that people in their departments tended to work more then the regular work hours as a matter of course)
  • Really, really bad employees who are passed from department to department like a hot potato (these employees typically know how to exploit the various government union and HR policies to effectively do nothing and avoid being fired and consume vast amounts of their managers time and reputation in the process)
  • Political wars and games where each department was working to position themselves for projects they expect to see funded

In Nortel, I personally experienced:

  • Being under-employed/under-challenged (only when working on a  product transitioning to legacy support  – when this happened I usually changed jobs)
  • Being given really, really bad employees as part of a new project team (who I first mentored/worked with to help them develop missing skills or cultural awareness, and if that failed (only on one occasion) I put them into the HR process leading to termination/transfer to a job with a better fit)
  • Political wars and games where each department was working to position themselves for projects they expect to see funded

Anyone else from High Tech who ended up in the Federal government have observations to contribute?