Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Out of sync....

I've been reporting to work for only two days, and yet I can't help but feel somewhat out of place.

I've been gone for more than five months, and it seems that in that time I have lost my ability to relate with the goings on at the office. To put it another way, I've lost touch...out of sync if you will.

Either that, or I just don't care anymore. Or both.

Is that bad?

A lot of things have happened, but deep down the office doesn't seem any different from how I remembered it. Goals and objectives may have changed as far as the office is concerned, but it all boils down to doing the very same things I've been doing since I first got this job. And there's still the gossip, the intrigue, the controversies, the illogicality, the senselessness and thinking that seems out of this world, all the characteristics of your typical Filipino government office.

It's just like in Scott Adams' Dilbert cartoon. Only worse.

And yet, recent developments in the office haven't struck me the way they used to. I'm feeling somewhat underwhelmed, and my attitude is pretty much blasé about anything work-related at this point.

I guess exposure to all the negativity has finally succeeded in transforming my cynicism to just plain old indifference.

Hmmm. I guess I just lost interest. Life is certainly much more than the four corners of you workplace, and the stark contrast I experienced from transitioning from life during my five month study leave to going back to work has left me nonplussed. It's as if I don't belong, as if I'm outside looking in.

Does it bother me that much? Surprisingly, no. It doesn't. In fact I rather enjoy the feeling of detachment that hangs over me. Perhaps it's this enjoyment that I find bothersome. I no longer feel like part of the family, and I really don't care.

Working in government certainly has a way of dulling your mental edge. Just ask any government employee. And after my recent ordeal consisting virtually of nothing but continuous study, it doesn't really feel right to deliberately slow myself down and go back to the mainstream.

It's not as if I have a superiority complex or anything like that. Far from it actually, considering the very humbling experience that I've recently gone through. And it's also not about me insinuating in any way that government service is stupid or meaningless. It's not. In fact it takes a special breed of person to actually want to be a public servant, knowing full well that you have given up the income generating potential of working in the private sector in exchange for an opportunity to make a difference in bridging the gap between the state and its citizenry.

Unfortunately though, government service is flawed in the sense that hardly anyone in the service seemingly puts much effort or thought in the work to be done, due in part to lack of motivation, exacerbated by the protection offered by security of tenure, and the knowledge that office doesn't operate on any particular person's funds, but funds coming from the taxpayers. This atmosphere invariably breeds a culture of complacency and mediocrity.

Needless to say, sucking up this culture can be quite demoralizing at times.

I don't know. I'm probably just making a mountain out of a molehill. But hey, it's only been two days. Maybe in a few days or so I'll go back to thinking like a typical government employee.

And it's probably that which scares me.





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