Verbatim: Defense IT specialists show staying power

Here is a complete list of verbatim comments from respondents to a GCN e-mail survey about government IT work force trends.

Respondents were asked what they liked best, and what they liked least, about government IT work.

What do you like best about government IT work?

A great range of different projects.

The challenge of doing more with less.

The job security and health benefits.

More responsibility per promotion level than in private sector.

Job accomplishments.

Variety.

NO LAY OFFS YET!

Work environment is pleasant and less stressful.

The continuity of work accomplished. There is a great sense of satisfaction attained when you start a project and are able to see it through to production.

The opportunities available.

Somewhat of job stability.

Stability and retirement benefits.

Always learning new things. The work is interesting and varied.

I'm a contractor!

I believe I am making a contribution to my agencies mission.

Job stability well-established and practice fair treatment.

Stability.

It's almost too big to fail just because of poor management.

The benefits of regular hours, holidays.

As a consultant not an employee, our team brings a depth of knowledge and experience that government IT workers do not possess or have a desire to train up.

I have been able to work on very interesting projects without having to move to a different locality every couple of years. My travel has been minimal so I have been able to spend time with my family. Friends who work in the private sector have had to uproot their families every few years and even with that they are frequently catching planes on Monday morning and not returning until late Friday night.

Defined hours and ability to accumulate vacation time.

I LIKE NOT HAVING TO WORRY ABOUT IF THERE IS A JOB TO COME BACK TO

I am a 26 year Navy vet and currently have 18 years as a civil servant. I have been committed to government service, good or bad, since age 18. When I finally hang up my spurs, no one will ever be able to say I was not faithful to the cause.

The variety of work and challenges that change every day.

Long-term project to get a deep skill in a specific field.

Most of the people in my agency that I work with

STABILITY!! I was a defense contractor for Raytheon for 12 years and worked on several different contracts. Always moving a defense dollars got tight.

partnering with a large number of contractors and vendors to bring the best IT solutions to the govt.

Public service on important issues.

Variety of tasks -- not limited to just one aspect of network support.
Supporting the troops.

Job security.

The people I work with and assist.

Within my agency and team environment opportunities of exposure & skills are warranted in many of the on the shelf software products. (I have many of the COTS products available for use).

Opportunity to help customers find solutions to their problems challenging opportunities. Complex at times.

The opportunity to work for my country in a skill I enjoy with some of the best benefits available.

Benefits.

Working with older equipment.

Security and responsibility.

Trouble shooting software problems and working on the database.

Customer contact is nice too.

Exceeding expectations is a piece of cake, low pressure'great place to learn and rest.

I feel like I'm serving my fellow man. It is public service of the highest order. Emotionally more rewarding than private sector.

Health and retirement benefits.

Benefits and working around the environment I'm used to.

The people and the constant need for work in upgrading or moving to new technology.

The people...or at least what's left...

It's relevant to the defense of our country.

The ability to use skills to aid the legislative process.

More honesty in government and military people.

Like the work environment.

Challenge to keep the bad guys out of the government networks.

Personal job satisfaction.

SOMETHING NEW EVERYDAY

Opportunity to expand technical horizons

In my agency we may not be on the leading edge of technology, but we're close. I like that, although I know that is not true in every agency.

Flex time.

Health benefits, leave benefits, retirement benefits.

Security, diversity

The challenge of different problems to solve daily.

Job security.

The government sector seems intent on retaining me as an employee.
They are dedicated to my employment security.

Work mostly on your own. Always different problems so not boring

The opportunities to change specialties (LAN, Web, Hardware, Software Development, Security) and the ongoing training the government pays for.

I work at SSA'been here 34 years, mostly building claims processing software. Unlike many government functions, we have a monthly product. In our IT shop, we can see the effect of our labor on the third day of each month -- 46 million retirement, survivors, or disability payments. Our work demonstrably affects people and the economy -- it is important and good work.

The challenges that we face in our agency.

The "challenge" of finding a way to support the mission even when you are not given the tools or support you need.

The opportunity to serve American people in providing the best service for their tax dollars.

Stable environment. Good people and work conditions.

Doesn't change much..pretty constant

Variety

It's two blocks from my house!

It's diverse and challenging.

Job stability. My experience with contractor IT work is that there is a very high turnover rate.

Not profit driven.

Job security.

I feel like I am making a difference. I am not stuck in a cubicle doing small projects.
I like the challenge and the opportunity to grow in my profession
It means something to the USA

Stability; some flexibility of work hours; helping to do good work for my community; some career growth.

Constant challenge to do more with lessening financial resources.
Wide variety of opportunities.

Order of operations chain of command.

Plenty of training opportunities

Support to national mission.

I feel like I am a part of something that is very special. I could not get this in an outside job.

Variety of projects.

There's a workload for every aspect of the IT environment.

The outstanding personnel you work with.

Opportunity to grow and learn through changes.

The jobs is never boring!

Challenging work using leading edge technology.

People are easily impressed. I come from the private sector.


What do you like least about government IT work?

No respect from the end-user.

Inability to get rid of the dead wood who give the rest of us a bad reputation.

The pay is not comparable to private industry.

Low pay.

Pay for those of us "old timers". The AF believes they have us since we are so close to retirement and do not feel they need to pay us competitively to continue service. Because of this, I am seriously considering getting out of the AF at 18 years.

LACK OF UNDERSTANDING/COMMITMENT OF UPPER MANGEMENT.

Loyalty is a one way street 'employee to employer.

Pay rate.

Incompetent management.

Too many regulations.

Supervisor handicaps and lack of recognition.

Outsourcing our jobs.

Very difficult to get a government IT position. Jobs are gotten by cronyism.

Usually stuck wherever an empty spot is available and not always able to get parts and equipment. Employees fulfill the stereotype of government workers. Most things are done in slow motion and the need to focus on red tape minutiae is profound. Too many "rules" are subject to the whim of the person who is impeding the progress of an action (i.e. purchasing-individuals determining that non-purchase requisitions cannot be made).

The red tape and dependence on low bid as opposed to quality and future vision.

The absurd annual "continuing resolution" budgeting processes imposed by our Congressional "Board of Directors." It makes our planning and managing so much more difficult than it need be.

The lack of team work in some areas. Most people not remembering in running a network, the right hand should always know what the left hand is doing so that things to not become redundant or people becoming overworked because one division has their own vision of where they would like to go without teaming up with other teams so that things can run smoother. Also do not like the fact that you have some managers that do not know how to manage and refuse to assist when it comes to training, especially seeing that automation changes every day.

The bureaucracy, politics and total contempt of government workers by all of Congress and the White House for the past 10 years. It does not matter how committed you are or how good a job you do, all you hear form Washington is how bad government workers are and how good it would be to replace them with contractors.

Being treated as though we are expendable.

Lack of funds for projects.

You are stuck in one position because of lack of training.

Classification of workers. 2210's and 335's do pretty much the same work, however, 2210's get bonuses.

Mindless policies and controls.

With the exception of my current manager, government managers are a pitiful excuse for managers.

Not enough staff to do the work

The public perceives federal employees to be lazy, non-motivated people who spend their days filling out on-line questionnaires.
Too many regulations.

Low pay, limited opportunities for promotion

Overworked and underpaid.

Often training needs are not met due to shortage of funds.

Personnel rules, budget process/cycle; appears that justification to receive funding will exceed effort or make up major portion of all IT initiatives; lack of cooperation within and among departments; still stovepipes; lack of coordinated purchasing reduces purchasing power...
salaries generally lower than private sector; less or nonexistent incentive pay; less or nonexistent bonus pay.

Need to justify each action. Decentralized decision making is needed.
too many management layers!

Pay scales and advancement.

There are many capable people who aren't being utilized. They give the majority of the work to a select few and very little work to others.

Revolving door management.

Pay and training.

Regulations and requirements.

Not having the budget to get all the tools necessary to maintain every workload.

Unjustified outsourcing.

Agency centralized control'not sufficient administrative rights on equipment sometimes to perform the job properly.

Micro-managers and politics!!

Too many rules and reports!

No comprehensive /knowledgeable management.

Politics.

Payscale and not keeping up with the latest computer innovations.

The bureaucracy is far too thick to deal with.

The senior leadership know-it-all attitude about what they want versus being standard for all to use.

Future uncertain.

NOT MUCH CHANCE FOR LEARNING NEW SKILLS. NO MONEY FOR TRAINING.

Opportunities are limited.

The turnover of contractor personnel. Frequently, a contractor or group of contractors work on a system only to leave right before or during deployment. This frequently leaves a mess for the tried and true to clean up, try to fix, or if all else fails, reprogram.
The lack of good training.

The threat of my job stability !!!!

The disrespect dished out to employees; not receiving enough training to keep up with the continuing growth of IT technology and applications, and doing a lot of it on my own time.

The sheer volume of work.

The manipulation of the union by some employees.

My contribution is undervalued and under appreciated.

Long time procurement. Credit card ceiling.

Noncommitment from management.

Bureaucracy.

No bonus for good performance.

Procedures are sometimes too rigid to allow for timely reaction to changing conditions. You just about have to have a crisis before serious change occurs.

The lack of equitable pay

They do not listen to and follow through with best business practices.

Not being allowed to run my organization like a business. Too frequently we are pressured to purchase from companies who are politically friendly to the party in power. Too frequently we must develop systems or make changes to system to satisfy the whims of politicians rather than do what makes good business sense.

Procurement of IT needs bureaucratic. Micromanagement of our work and our agency from other departments.
The lack of training initiatives and the lower pay scale.

The tendency of later administrations to FORGET the promises and agreements made by previous administrations. They always give lip service to services rendered but their actions indicate they could really care less.

Lack of a clear policy in certain areas of my job. It's nice to have the ability to be flexible but some areas need better guidance.
Feel the upper management doesn't care about the IT concerns of the end users.

Inefficient, overpaid, lazy government co-workers as well as overpaid, underworked contractors.

The problem with the government is that it not only outsources the job (for three times the cost), but then it retains the position, never eliminating the government job! Quit outsourcing and start firing unproductive government workers. There is a glut of IT workers unemployed due to the dot.com bubble bursting.


Constant "data calls" from Congress and OMB for statistics to use against the Govt. The worse thing is the data collected is ambiguous and inconsistent.

Worker's belief in job entitlement.

Never enough time or people to get to all the details and "would be nice to get done" items to be more organized.

To much work and not enough pay.

The pay.

Gov't doesn't recognize GIS as IT work, how much more 'information technology' can you get with Geographic Info Systems?

Everything.

Red Tape.

Being forced to compete with contractors who hire people right out of college with no practical experience then having to train them. Especially when there is no team values put in place. Morale gets very low.

Political aspects

Unreal expectations by managers that e-gov will solve all their problems when they need to do some old fashioned managing...
Not enough IT to support our division, which results in burnout.

Workers who don't do their job and can't be fired without an act of GOD!! This is why outsourcing works better than government employees.

That expectations are so low 'that technical knowledge is so lacking, that people are generally so unmotivated.

Budgetary constraints-impact on training, software purchases, hardware purchase/lease, limited opportunities to reward staff.
Way too much outsourcing is occurring.

Getting outsourced.

The politics between functional areas. They are too busy worry about what is theirs to control than about the mission of the army as a whole.

Contractors....slugs for the most part.

The red tape and bureaucrats.

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