Forest Service Job
I worked for the Forest Service for 30 years and 0 days.
I hope you got a great retirement package after that length of time!
I tested for a federal position once. Passed with high marks but decided that the bureaucracy would drive me crazy and ultimately passed on the offer. I'm glad I did.
I worked for a large State agency for a while and after a few weeks observed more than a few coworkers were pretty much worthless, away from their desks often, phones set to "leave a message", sleeping in their cubicles, surfin' the Web, etc. More than once I'd request some work from a slacker and be told they'd get right on it and after a few weeks realize they'd never git her done, just keep responding "Yah, I'm working on it" forever. Quicker just to do it myself.
I finally talked with my boss about my problems with some of my coworkers and he said he was well aware but crippling union policy dictated "rehabilitate, don't terminate." His said his practical solution was to shuffle them around to where they did the least damage and when the opportunity arose promote them to a different department. He said the only way to quickly fire somebody was if they killed a coworker or stole something.
The only exception I witnessed was a few months after 9/11 when the FBI hauled off a Middle Eastern employee, his computer and all his cubicle paper records, never to be seen again. Rumor was that he was a member of a US based terrorist organization; and please Wendell, I'm just reporting my observations, not denigrating any ethnic group.
An unpleasant memory of those long ago days just popped into my head. There was a gal in charge of supplies and she ran a tight ship. If you wanted a pen, magic marker or pencil you had to turn in the empty pen/pencil stub to get a new one. If, perish the thought, you needed a CD/DVD you had to fill out a form describing the reason and billable project number and in a few days she'd get back to you after checking with the project manager. I finally bought a spindle's worth with my own money to avoid the aggravation. She was also in charge of ordering business cards and somehow we got off on the wrong foot so I never got business cards during my entire stay.
Oh, and the chair situation. If your chair broke it was a mound of paperwork to request a new one and it could take months or even be denied if your chair was still "serviceable", i.e., only missing one wheel. So everybody would dump their broken chair in an unused cubicle or in the back of a storage room and scrounge up a better chair from somewhere. I had a fresh nice captain's chair (I'm 6'4") and behold, I show up one morning and my chair is gone, replaced by a cripple scrounged from junk chair storage. I went ballistic and spent over an hour searching the entire building (600 employees) and found it in an upper level supervisor's luxurious corner office as a seat at his conference table. I told him "that's my chair!" and he said "I don't know what you're talking about" so I grabbed the chair and told him to "talk about this" and wheeled my chair back to my cube and dumped the junker behind a gap in the cube walls.
A few days later my supervisor called me in and told me not to mess with that guy as he's an axxhole and could make trouble for our department, but technically I did not steal so my supervisor refused to write me up. He advised me to respond to any inquiries concerning the incident with "I don't know what you're talking about." He then stood up, shook my hand, winked and said we'd never speak of this matter again. I have several other chair stories including the "flying chair" and the 450 pound employee's battle for a medical chair but I'm trying to be brief.
So if you win an interview for a government job on the second face to face meeting meekly ask for a tour of the facility, be observant and if it's a beehive of activity that's a +1, but if it's as quiet as a morgue with junky equipment that's a -10.