About Me: Background and Biases

post by tkpwaeub (gabriel-holmes) · 2021-04-04T14:19:31.220Z · LW · GW · 1 comments

I've been a civil servant working in state government for almost ten years. I've worked at several regulatory agencies, I take lots of civil service tests to (among other things [LW(p) · GW(p)]) manage my nagging impostor syndrome, and as a result I've also had the opportunity to interview for jobs in this leviathan I expect to be connected to for the foreseeable future. Even when I didn't get the jobs I interviewed for, it's always given me an opportunity to "pull back the curtain" on a lot of the under-appreciated things that government does (sometimes unbeknownst to average citizens). 

Currently, I work as a paralegal, but I dabble with actuarial science (I passed Exam P and I'm currently studying for Exam FM). Before I started in state government I temped at an insurance company. In what now seems like prehistoric times I pursued a PhD in math, managed to pass my qualifying written and oral exams, completed a master's degree, but never completed a dissertation. Cognoscenti refer to this as "ABD" ("all but dissertation"). I'm fortunate enough to be represented by a union that negotiated very good educational benefits, and that allows me to take courses that nourish my mind. 

This gives me some insight that others might not have, but inevitably it may also bias me somewhat. Specifically, I may have higher standards than most for what "good" government systems ought to look like, particularly those that leverage information technology. Thus, while I think we might all broadly agree on Gehm's contrapositive of Clarke's Third Law, to wit:

Any technology that does not appear magical is insufficiently advanced.

I am also quite willing to concede that some things that might appear magical to you, dear reader, may not seem quite as magical to me - and vice versa. In some cases the best thing we can do is let everyone else catch up. 

Hope this helps. 



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comment by tkpwaeub (gabriel-holmes) · 2021-04-04T14:22:12.374Z · LW(p) · GW(p)

I also believe that you should take civil service exams, for your own edification and to help ensure that government workers like me are at least as qualified as you. Think of it as a civic duty, on par with voting, paying taxes, and serving on a jury.