A "Servant's Heart"
When I started work for the Federal government in 1973 at a national demonstration project in western Kentucky, I never thought about my personal and professional work philosophy and why I was so proud to be working there.
During my entire federal tenure of 17-years, I saw myself and my role, whatever it might be, as a "public servant." I believed that my job was to literally "serve" my government, the taxpayers, and my fellow employees and colleagues.
I also believed, however, that if I disagreed with the direction or orders of my superiors, I was responsible for standing up for my position and opinions. And if I could not persuade them of my opinions and they were deeply held, my only option was to leave and find other employment.
I left government service twice in that federal career and eventually went out on my own, as they say, to develop our model of collaborative, informed consent. A model that stresses the need to inform and educate before engaging the public in decision-making that affects them and their communities.
The "servant’s heart" meant to me then and now that I was to help others in love without expecting something in return, serving in appreciation of God's gifts.
I am now seven decades and one, and I still believe that philosophy, as seemingly simple as it is. And yes, I believe that it should be what every public employee should adhere to, especially in these tribal times.