Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Work smirk

Living in Canberra gives you a pretty good opportunity to examine the differences between private and public servants.

Being a pube myself, I'm all for the Public Service. Whilst I can totally understand the arguments against it - people can easily get lost in the system, there is little competition, it's not what you know but who you know etc - I must say it's a pretty good deal for me.

I came into my job with no actual qualifications - I'd finished just over 2/3rds of an IT degree, had just spent the best part of 12 months waitressing under the bus interchange and they took a chance on a young one eager to learn. They've trained me up and encouraged me to be the exemplary employee I am today (if I don't say so myself) - I work hard for the wages I earn, I'm always polite and helpful and I always do my best. In return, I have leave for when I'm sick, when I need a break, when I've worked extra time or when I need to study (in the degree for which they are reimbursing the student fees). I have job security - I won't turn up and be told I'll be out of a job in six months time, I have a fairly decent PC and internet access, Stationary and an OHS friendly workspace and on the whole the people are great to work with.

The Hun was a pube for a short while, but his qualifications (double degree + honours) means he is best suited for a job in private enterprise. From what I understand, private enterprise can be fantastic for go-getters -people who are willing to go out on a limb, take on the hours, give it their all and then reap the rewards. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

The Hun has worked in the same position for almost three years now and has never had a payrise - basically, he is losing money by staying as everything has gone up in price since his commencement. He works long hours, he manages three other staff, he gives it his all and he has had to put up with some real wankers. Seriously.

Late last year, one of his three staff members left after realising he was working for dickence and could get closer to fair pay by applying for graduate work. This year, another of his staff members commenced a frantic dirvish of submitting resumes and writing applications. Last month, The Hun asked his immediate boss if he would be so kind to act as a reference for him in the future - causing the managers start a round of appraisals.

Long story short, The Hun's manager was quite shocked to realise that The Hun was actually being paid close to $10,000 less than he thought. That is, irregardless of the fact there has not been even one cent of a payrise over three years, he should have earnt an extra $30,000 in his time there. They asked him what salary he though he should be on, and he indicated he believed he should be being paid $20 - 25,000 more than what he was - the managers indicated they would get back to him.

Today The Hun received an email - that as a result of their discussions, they have decided to increase his salary by roughly $10,000, effective immediatlely, and that a review would be held prior to the next financial year.

That is, to reward The Hun for all his hard work - for his commitment, for the way in which he is basically keeping the company together - they have generously bumped his pay up to that which they thought they were already paying him.

My darling boy will hear from another company in the middle of this month, letting him know whether or not he has been succesful in his application.

Please keep him in mind when you're doing your happy thoughts? I'm tired of seeing him overworked, overstressed and underpaid (notjustbecauseoncehehasadecentjobwecanactuallycommencethewholehousesavingandweddingstuff- I'mnothatselfish!)


Amanda said...

I think the thing with pubes vs private is that while public service leads to pretty similar conditions across the whole range of departments (barring of course individual annoying/ difficult people), private can vary a huge amount depending on the individual company. I'm in the private sector, but the conditions are much like the public sector- job security in particular, pay gets automatically assessed each year for inflation. In the time I've been here, I had an 8% pay rise just for inflation (which varies between pay scales), and an 8% payrise which was based on merit (but I did ask for that). However, the red tape and bureacracy is appalling- I'm technically doing two jobs, with no hope of that being reduced to one, but I'm being paid not only for one job- but at the level of the lower job. Equal pay for equal work seems to be a joke. Perhaps I should ask for back pay again, for the last few months, before I leave... hmmm.

So, I've had some movement, and I've only been here 18 months. The Hun has been there 3 years with nothing, so there's huge differences between different companies... I don't know how you guarantee that the company you're going to work for is one with good treatment/ conditions though. I don't know about Canberra, but here employers are so desperate for staff that they will do practically anything to pull them in.

Enny said...

amanda - that's true - there would be a big difference between different private firms, and there is just as much red tape for the pubes, I guarantee!

Anonymous said...

That is absolutely appalling. They should back-pay him for those three years! His boss is probably patting himself on the back for getting away with it for so long. Bastards.

Good luck with the job interview. I have worked in recruitment in Canberra, in the private and the public sector, for the last ten years and good staff are very hard to find. Shame on employers who don't properly reward their staff! There's no excuse for it, especially if your staff are the ones holding your company together.

Enny said...

trish - I know! I have no idea how they can possibly feel good about that sort of decision... so I hope this new company recognises what a hard worker he is and brings him in.

Boysenberry said...

Gawd, makes me feel a bit guerilla - I'm about to ask for a 5-10% payrise just for the company to keep me :(

Enny said...

Mr B'b'rry - like as part of an annual thing? Are you a pube or a non-pube? I'm sure it's something you're entitled to - it's the involuntary ripping off that I'm totally against! :o)