Strong Feelings

I enjoyed "Generation Passion" (December 2006) and think a brief follow-up article may even be appropriate.

For example, what does the government need to do to guide these young people in the right direction? When passion is misguided and without direction, it can overwhelm and cause problems, even innocently. When it is blocked by years of bureaucracy, it can die a miserable, painful death. The right people need to be mentoring these young people so they can direct their passion to make the changes that years of work have clouded for others, and so they can be aware of areas that may need clarification or modification. We don't need to leave them to their own devices, and we certainly shouldn't believe that just because they are younger and may be more educated that they have all the answers.

What would work best is a team approach that uses these young people, combined with the more experienced ones who can help change the walls and ceiling surrounding government. What we can't afford to do is to team them up with those who have been part of the problem all along.

A second consideration is that we shouldn't assume the passion exists only in those young people coming in. I'm amazed at the government leadership that seems to ignore the passionate ideas, dreams and suggestions of the existing workforce in lieu of contract or consulting employees regardless of topic. There are government employees in their 30s, 40s and even 50s who, after years of being deflected, still have that passion for excellence in the government and in their lives. They are just waiting to be heard.

From my perspective, bring on all the impassioned people you can find, regardless of age, including those being let go by private industry, who are willing to work together to make things better.

Tom Sullivan

I just received my copy of the December 2006 Government Executive magazine. As a public servant with over 40 years' service, I believe the cover photograph of a young woman with a nose stud and multiple earrings fails to portray the professional appearance expected of a government employee. I, for one, find it offensive.

Mike Tarman
Greer, S.C.
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