Having worked in the government for several years, I am now used to negative comments about my job. In our country, a regular government employee is perceived as lazy, incompetent, inefficient, a clock-watcher, and discourteous to the public.
How do you change that kind of public perception? Well, you can't. Not alone. Not overnight, anyway. It will take years to change that kind of perception and bring prestige back to the civil service. But there are small and big steps that you can take to make sure that people do not see you as a regular government employee. Below is list of things that government employees can individually do to help change public perception of their profession.
- Always start work on time. This is especially true if your job requires you to deal with the public on a daily basis. One common complaint that people have about government agencies is that they always start their services late, especially after lunch time. As such avoid being late. If your work policy says that you must begin service at 8 o'clock in the morning, or 1 o'clock in the afternoon, then make sure that you are catering to the public at that time.
- Be courteous and friendly. It does not take much effort to smile and greet the person you are dealing with. In fact, it stresses you more to frown at your customer, and your next customer, and the customers after them. Frowning will get you nowhere; it will only make the customer feel antagonistic towards you. Try smiling at each of your customers day in and day out, five days a week and you will notice that customers are easier to deal with. And all because you just pulled a few facial muscles to smile.
- Find ways to improve your own efficiency. As processes and policies change over time, there will always be better ways to carry out your job properly. Maybe you can ask a kind-looking customer for a brief feedback on your service. Use that feedback to improve how you do things.
- Take pride in your work. This is one thing that seems to be lacking among government employees. They dismiss their work as something that needs to be done in order to get the machines of the government working, and there is nothing particularly significant about it. But if you start taking pride in your work, if your start taking pride in the service that you provide to the people, then your performance will definitely improve. And your customers, the public, will see it.
These are just small steps that you can take to change public perception of a government employee. Just imagine: if every government employee does the same thing, then the government, as a whole would make a giant leap of improvement in terms of customer service. The public will definitely take notice and change their perceptions about your profession.