Most federal civilians have really good job protections: while they are subject to furlough and sequestration, taking actual punitive actions against a general schedule civilian employee is pretty uncommon. In particular, things like the Employee Rights & Appeals process, and Merit Systems Protection Board exist to protect employees, and they do this so well that when I was a military officer with civilian subordinates, I was candidly advised not to bother – demoting or firing civilians was just too hard. (Unless their performance was really bad.)
Now, if you had really strong job security – as most federal civilians do – you could afford to take a few risks, couldn’t you? So long as you aren’t committing an actual crime – what’s the worst that’s gonna happen to you? If your project doesn’t work or you make a mistake, you’re gonna come to work tomorrow and keep collecting the same pay.
So why are federal civilians so unbelievably risk averse? Continue reading