A common topic of discussion when you work for a government agency (at least mine, anyway) is how good a value we are providing to the American taxpayer. One of the many reasons I work where I do is that people work very, very hard, often with very little, and go without so we can stand behind our public service. We collect money for people's birthday cards. We pay for our own pizza parties, and hold potlucks instead of catered affairs.
At lunch today, the following suggestion was made:
Some person: Hey, you know what we should do to save the taxpayers some money? Why the heck are we paying all this money to have people empty our garbage? We can do that ourselves. Hell, I empty the garbage for my office suite at least once a week. Who's with me?
Me: Absolutely not.
That person (somewhat taken aback): Are you serious?
Me: You bet I am. We are professional and we deserve to work in a professional environment. We shouldn't be spending our time emptying the garbage - that's a fine job for someone else.
No one at the table agreed with me, which I found a little unfortunate.
What's next - we bring in our own pens?
Yes, there are ways to cut corners, but an office - any office - has certain base expectations: Electricity. A fridge. Chairs. And basic sanitation services. If we are expected to produce, we should be treated as valued employees.
Call me spoiled, but in past jobs I *have* emptied the garbage in addition to my other duties, and I can tell you that it was demeaning and highly demoralizing.
Hell, if Wal-Mart can hire janitors, why can't we? (Plus, we have Unions.)