FCW blogger John Klossner does his part to restore the self-esteem of feds who have been the target of so many congressional attacks.
I've become worried about government workers' self-esteem. Not that this should come as a surprise: As a group dealing with high-profile projects in a stressed-out economy with highly partisan oversight, how can they not be a little jittery in the self-worth department? Public employees have been blamed for everything from the economic crisis to Charlie Sheen's behavior.
Many of these attacks focus on the purported problems caused by public employees' collective abilities. In the name of fair play, I think we need to consider the potential of the public employee community. At the risk of being more simplistic than usual, I wish to contribute to the restoration of employee self-esteem. We're talking numbers and, as the old African saying goes, "Working together, the ants can defeat the lion." (I'm paraphrasing here, and I'm not sure if there also might be an old African saying that goes "But the lion will work extra hard trying to stop the ants' collective bargaining rights" or "The lion will wage a publicity campaign alleging that the ants' benefits packages are causing the wildebeest population to dry up.")
In searching for actual numbers of public employees, I have encountered a wide range of figures. For that reason, I have decided to use the unscientific figure of "a lot" to describe the number of public employees working for our various governments. Taking this number into account, the following projects are possible (all statistics unsupportable):
* Piled together, the public employees could form a wall big enough to block a mid-sized metropolitan area from a tsunami.
* If every public employee held their breath for 30 seconds each day, we could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 5 percent.
* Collectively, the public employees could beat Watson, the IBM supercomputer, at Jeopardy.
* Allowed on the field all at once, the public employees could defeat the Washington Redskins.
* If that isn't so impressive, how about the Steelers?
* As a group, the public employees could defeat Chuck Norris in a tug-of-war fight.
* If every public employee stood atop each others' heads, we could put a person on Mars.
* Arranged in formation, they could spell out the Constitution at halftime of the Super Bowl.
* If every public employee worked out at the same time, and each treadmill was hooked up to a generator, the public employees could produce enough power to light up the Pacific Northwest.
* If every public employee in the greater Washington area took the Metro one day ... oh, never mind that one.
* If all public employees avoided bathing for one day ... ditto.
* If each government worker brought in a covered dish, we could feed (put your favorite community/cause/third world country here) for a day.
* If all the public employees chanted "We are here" together, they would avoid being dropped into a vat of boiling oil (wait, that's "Horton Hears a Who").