14 March 2008

Life's tough at the top

| neanderthalsis
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Totally unconfirmed rumour / scuttlebut getting around that a number of Kevin Rudds staff resigned late yesteray afternoon citing overwhelming work pressure.

Can anyone confirm / deny this?

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Sounds a bit like being a Fireman! Long periods of sitting around, with occasional life-threatening emergencies.

Ingeegoodbee11:42 am 17 Mar 08

Over the weekend I had a couple of beers with a couple of people who deal with Krudds office on a daily basis – no one was aware of anyone with any clout/prominence resigning last week.

Staffers hours can be pretty long, but their often pretty boring. If Parliament is sitting late you spend endless hours sitting around doing Sweet FA, just on teh off chance that you’ll get a call from your boss wanting somthing, cards, corridor cricket and office affairs are often great ways to fill in the tedium.

Kevvie is trying to reduce the staffing levels as part of his ‘no fat’ govt.

Looks like he might have to reconsider.

yebbut, cameron, you choose to have your business – these public servants enter a workforce with core hours and supposedly regulated 35 hr working weeks. if your employees worked 110 hrs, what would you pay them? the same as if they worked 35hrs?

my old man had his own business and worked every day, long days, hard work – so i’m not decrying the businessperson who puts in the slog – just seeing what the remuneration and justification for long hours in the ‘public service’ (i stress the sense of the term!) should be just ’cause you work for an elected official. if they’ve that much work, they should have an appropriate level of staffing. shouldn’t they?

His staffers can cry me a river. I run my own business and have worked 110-120 hours per week (on good weeks) for seven years. I’m sure there are people who have done it for a lot longer than that too.

I believe the Min staffers aren’t being paid highly and yup, as AG Canberra said, they’re mostly youngies, with a few older ones borrowed from Departments to provide actual knowledge.

Rudd’s at it from about 4am on, he doesn’t sleep much, so it passes on.

Where I work the SES are still swanning in at 9.30, some of the minions are instructed to come in early – like 7.30 – and the middle managers with Blackberries are required to be on call at all times.

How much should you earn to before you are expected to donate 110 hours per week? $150K, $250K? I bet most of the people in the government are on packages well short of that. This is how they justify downsizing staff

That’s the problem when you try and run a centralised administration. To maintain “control” you have to be there from start to finish….

I attended the PM’s pep talk to ministerial staffers on the first sitting week – and there were very few people over 40 there – it’s a young persons game at the moment.

Work harder, die younger, and have no fun in the meantime – no amount of remuneration or ‘prestige’ is worth that. Good on them for putting themselves first!

If more people cared about themselves and their family as much as they do about impressing their boss and making money, the world might not be such a shit hole.

I have been doing some work with a pretty standard sort of Commonwealth agency with a normal business day supposed to be worked between 8 am and 6 pm. Which does not prevent a fair number of e-mails being sent anytime between 4.30 am and midnight from work and at even longer hours from home machines. And, yup, there are enough people there before 7 to mean all the lights are on. Psychic income has a lot to answer for …

While not employed directly by a Minister i work in a Dept where as of last week, expectations were that you be available for work over the weekend if needed. Our boss routinely is sending emails to us at 11.30pm to 12.30am so it seems yep the expectations are there to put in the big hours.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy1:37 pm 14 Mar 08

The private sector company I work for has a number of people who routinely work those sorts of hours. Given how executive salaries have increased over the past 10 years, perhaps companies are expecting to get value for their employment money.

Of course, I wouldn’t expect the minister’s office to pay people like private sector execs, but nonetheless the attitude of working crazy hours seems to be becoming more prevalent in Canberra.

Maybe they’re all sick of typing the words “working families” on media releases/speeches/briefing papers 480000 times?

All that hard work and still not much to show for it. Petrol prices up, interest rates up, groceries still expensive, my internet is still too slow, freaky hot weather in March even after ratifying Kyoto.

the Age Michelle Gratton article says this:

“The Rudd office is a sort of disciplined sweat shop where people think nothing of 5am starts, and policy advisers regularly send out briefs about 2-3am.”

Stateline, ABC TV 7.30pm tonight has a story on excessive pressure and work hours under the new government. “Working 9 to 5? You wish. Kevin Rudd’s Canberra.”
That story will get a kick along if the rumour has anything to it. Is the tail wagging the dog here? There are some pretty crazy work hours expected at all levels of the bureaucracy and especially at advisory level. But that’s not new.

neanderthalsis1:07 pm 14 Mar 08

The mole / rumourmonger suggested one-third of his staff were shuffling off.

They start work at 5:00am on West Wing!

Working for Ministers has never been easy or able to be done in a normal working week. It’s worse when the Ministers are almost all new to the job (as they are) and energetic from a long time in opposition and it’s getting up to Budget time. And, with a new government, it’s possible that some of those who found work with Ministers have worked out that it’s hard and grinding, except when it’s like tightrope walking. I don’t blame those who walk because they have the integrity to admit that the job they’re doing is not what they thought it would be.

While I cannot speak for the Rudd administration, I know that when I worked for Beazley, under the same Chief of Staff, 110-120 hour weeks were the norm.
There for the staff meeting at 8am, there until midnight most evenings. And weekends weren’t much different except ties weren’t standard then.

I know of one that was planning to resign due to excessive work hours.

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