In the media, we so often here of public opinion towards our electeds, ranging from job performance to likability, and even for the government itself, research institutions and universities, such as Pew or Harvard, dig into trust in the government itself through polls, surveys, and focus groups. I find myself wanting however for data on not the government itself or our politicians but on public service — that is, on the people who actually do the work of public administration, why they went into it, and what’s working, and what’s not. Given the immense size of the public sector as a employer and its special role in our daily lives, I find this curious.
Which makes me think that I might just be missing something.
And so I’m wondering if anyone knows of such insight or would be interested in finding out more.
In particular, I would like to explore the following — from both current public servants and those on the outside who might (or might not) consider a government gig.
- Why did you join the public sector? / Would you join the public sector?
- What do you think public’s impression of public servants is? / What is your impression of public servants?
- What’s the favorite part of your job?
- What your least favorite part of your job?
- What support — ranging from tools and resources to additional personnel — would you want to make your job more enjoyable/meaningful?
- What would you change immediately in your role if you could?
- Would you recommend a public sector job to a friend?
- How long do you plan on staying or would you plan on staying in the public sector?
Hopefully much of this already exists, but if not I would argue this kind of insight is essential. As the economy grows more automated, technology more disruptive, and so the safety net more critical, it is essential we understand and propagate public institutions and roles for public servants within them that work.