Coming out of the midterm elections, I was neither upset nor happy with any of the results. I was disgusted by how far we’ve fallen on the talent funnel. Let’s be honest. No one was really ever impressed by very many politicians. It’s not just an American running joke. It’s a worldwide running joke. Basically, only major narcissists and idiots want to be politicians everywhere. We luck out if one of those giant narcissist idiots actually has a brain.
There’s a rule in talent acquisition, and organizational behavior – “Bad hires worse.”
So, if you fill the government with idiots running the show, they will hire bigger idiots to help them run your country into the ground faster. Red, blue, purple, it doesn’t matter. Bad hires worse.
Recently, I’ve had a number of conversations from the federal government down to local city government leaders, all facing the same problem. They can not get anyone of quality to apply for their jobs. In many cases, this hiring problem is market driven. A software engineer making $250K in private industry is not going to take $85K to work on dated systems and technology, no matter how much they might love their country, their state, or their city.
But it’s not just compensation.
Great talent also doesn’t want to work with a bunch of fools who are unmotivated to change the broken system and make it better. They have too many options. For decades the government has developed a process of hiring where they believed they had all the power and would make people jump through endless hoops to get one of these “amazing” government opportunities. Believing this aggressively long process would end with only the best. What they got were only the desperate few who wanted a job they would never get fired from, regardless of how awful they performed. They didn’t get better talent. They got survivors of an awful process.
Government: “Tim, how can we get candidates interested in our jobs?”
Me: “You’re f*cking kidding me, right?”
Government: “No, seriously, we need to fill these roles.”
Me: Giving an exact plan on what needs to happen.
Government: “Yeah, we can’t change anything. So, what else do you have?”
Look, I get there are some great people working in government jobs. I know some of them personally. To a person, they will tell me it’s a hopeless cause. They are surrounded by too many peers who show up and do the minimum and don’t want any change because that might mean they have to do more. The system has stage 5 cancer, and the patients don’t want a cure. They just want more pain meds to live peacefully until they die.
Now, you would think we all see this, and our elected officials see this, and they would be like, we have to cut out the cancer and start over. But bad hires worse. Our elected officials are too dumb and too narcissistic to understand they are surrounded by idiots. They are surrounded by “Yes” people. They’ve surrounded themselves with people who think they are working for a rock star.
Okay, you bitched enough. What’s the plan?
We have to stop electing idiots—all sides.
In less than two years, we will have to choose between two giant idiots for President. One who can’t put together two coherent sentences in a row, and one who thinks this is all just some gameshow on tv with no consequences. That’s the “best” America has to offer us! This is where we are in hiring for America. Two final candidates you wouldn’t allow to watch your children for an hour unsupervised!
We have to demand smart, ethical, and hardworking people lead us. We have to compensate these people at the level top talent can get. Why? Because we pay them like crap now and then, they use their position to get wealthy and stop acting in our best interest.
Great leaders hire great talent. And that rolls downhill into government positions that aren’t hired directly by politicians. We have to stop acting like the government and start acting like we need to run a profitable business.
All levels of government basically only hire kinds of people right now:
- Entry-level with degrees that couldn’t get them a good job.
- Experienced low performers who got fired from every other job.
- Dreamers who have been disillusioned, yet.
They can not compete with private industry unless they drastically change. Part of that change has to be their ability to get rid of low performers easily. Right now, that does not happen. It’s a two-sided issue. You can’t bring in better without getting rid of the walking dead. Accountability has to start at the top and filter down into every level.
Bad hires worse. Rant over.