Why do we reckon civil servants are lazy and stupid?

Posted on

There’s a popular conception of people who work for the government: that they are dishonest, lazy and above all, stupid!

I’m sure there must be some examples of this in the civil service but no more so than any other workplace.

I’ve known many civil servants in my time; personally and by happenstance. By and large they seem an ordinary bunch. If some apparently fit the stereotype, it’s probably just the public manifestation of a career spent dealing with people who treat them with contempt born of stereotyping.

But I can now say with certainty that the modern civil servant is neither lazy or stupid. At least not if my latest job application is anything to go by.

While I’ve now spent many weeks primping and polishing my CV — both online and off — it is all for naught if the COVER FORM I am currently compiling for an application to join the direct.gov.uk web team is not completed satisfactorily.

This includes compiling SIX 250-word essays on aspects of my career which demonstrate how I approach specified tasks (though to be honest, not very well specified).

What I’m saying is that such a task in a very limited time is quite difficult and amounts to a test of intelligence AND stamina.

And neither really denote lazy OR stupid.