Dear Person in the Government Who Have Served for a While

I loved JR Santiago’s “Dear Young Person in Government” post in Facebook that I was inspired to write this version of “Dear Person in the Government who have Served for a While”. “A While” is relative…It could mean 10, 15 or even 20+ years in service. But I’m drawing from my own experience from year of service (10 years, 7 months, 5 days to be exact). Here it goes:

Dear Person in the Government Who have Served for a While,

Congratulations! You have made it this far. You’re still in a sector that has a very direct role in improving the lives of our countrymen. Here are some things I’d like to share with you which I hope you can keep in mind as you continue with your public service:

1. Be a mentor and be open to new learning. There are young ones who have the right heart and mind for service. They just need mentors who will be willing to guide them and show them by example the right values. They may also have fresh perspective which you do not have. I hope you will be willing to still learn.

2. Be humble and listen. Higher positions, better educations and awards should not be used as an excuse to power trip or frighten young ones. Rather, these achievements should be used as means of illustrating how your work can impact others and make a change. Also, young ones are colleagues whose inputs deserved to be considered for whatever output your team is supposed to deliver.

3. Be kind. Just be kind and the world will become less suffocating.

4. Be patient. Young ones do not have the same understanding of the processes and system as you do. They may not be efficient as you are. They will have a learning curve. Be patient and teach them. See coaching and training as a long-term investment.

5. Learn from young ones. They know a lot about technology that can make jobs easier. They can make your presentation visually more appealing. They can make data analysis more efficient. They can make your life simpler in so many ways.

6. It will be frustrating. Young ones did not necessarily grow up in a situation similar to yours. They may have different perspectives about values and priorities. Every now and them try to get in their shoes and see things from their perspective.

The system will also frustrate you but it needs you. I hope you will keep stretching your patience and never lose faith.

7. Young once may disappoint you. They are not as patient. They may not stick to a job for very long. When this happens, please do not see this outright as bad behavior. Please understand that young ones face more job insecurity these days. You may not solve system problems but I hope you can find ways how to make situations fairer for them. Young ones are also hyperaware and can be very inquisitive. They have easy means/access to information. Hence, they may not be as tolerating when it comes to b*ll sh*t or situations/instructions that make no sense.

Your leaders may also disappoint but I hope you remember it is not them you are serving but the people. Your leaders can change but the people you are serving remain the same.

8. Compromise is not a bad word. Compromising means recognizing differences and understanding some options may be better. Being the supervisor or the boss does not mean things should always be done according to the way you know.

9. Never lose your integrity. The moment you do, you don’t deserve the position you have. And if you stayed, shame on you.

10. Keep your cool and show young ones how to do to. You
won’t last in the government if you do not know to how to tolerate different kinds of people. Teach young ones how to be patient, rational and how to properly address criticism. They can be also very idealistic. Hence, help them understand how some people may not have the same values and mindset as they have.

11. Maintain friends. Maintain friends who are good influence to you and share your values about serving. They will be your anchors when things get very tough and when a situation makes you question your purpose.

12. Maintain allies with those who understand what public service means. There is no use for connections who only want personal gain. Also, leverage on allies to more forward/push something you know can be good for the people.

13. Dialogue creates difference. Dialogue means allowing two parties to exchange ideas, weighing in best options, and finding a common ground. Things are better when two parties are allowed to share their insights.

14. It’s not about titles. See #2. At title does not mean you are the best.

15. Your opinions matter but so does the opinion of young ones. Being older or longer in service does not mean your opinion is the only one that matters. Let them speak up.

16. And last, remember your WHY. Never forget why you joined public service. Always keep in mind, it’s not about you. Your job requires that you think and do things for the people. It’s not about what you achieved but what changes and impact you created for people.

It’s always a privilege to serve. It can be tiring but I hope you wake up everyday remembering why you do things, who you do it for and what changes you can still bring. 😊


A still very hopeful ‘young by age” but “relatively not so young by service” person in the government

If you made it this far, thank you for reading  If you saw a grammatical error, please PM me so I can edit. 


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