Working Late

Lights on at the Supreme Court

Lights on at the Supreme Court

My truck is at the shop today, getting an oil change.  This isn’t big news or anything, but it did cause me to walk to and from work.  For lots of folks, that would be a delight, and today, for me, it was as well.

I only live a few blocks from where I work, and the crime here is that I don’t walk there very often.  Walking slows us down and allows us to see, to think, to ponder, to understand in a manner unknowable when we are speeding from one place to another in our cars.

Tonight on the way home, I walked past the State of Wyoming’s Supreme Court building.  On the south wing of the building, a lone light shone out of the halls of justice.  It was about 6:00, a time when most people who work downtown – lawyers, bankers, state employees, and those of us at the chancery – had already gone home.  I tend to work until this time more often than not, as it affords some uninterrupted time in my office because my coworkers have already left.

But tonight I saw evidence that a state employee working after hours.  It doesn’t surprise me at all, as I know a few people who work in that building, and their work ethic is such that staying on the job after hours is no surprise.

I spent a dozen years on the State Retirement Board serving the people of Wyoming.  This was pretty much a volunteer position, appointed by the governor, and I always considered it a privilege to be a part of the organization.  I was never a state employee, and I do not have any eligibility for a state pension.  I was truly an outsider.

We all know about the caricature of government employees as a bit lazy, and bureaucratic, and certainly unwilling to do more than they are assigned to do.  Yet my experience with public sector employees never bore out that picture.  The people who worked for the Retirement System, and every other  employee in the system whom I came across, including teachers and cops, were enormously dedicated and worked very hard, oftentimes without any notoriety, lower comparative wages than their private sector counterparts.

No surprise in the late night light in the window.  There is important work going on in that building that doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it nonetheless affects the daily lives of more than half a million Wyoming residents.

I need to walk more often.

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