My confession: I work in local government and I have a non-job


We hope our author doesn't do one of these (it's from the Mail in case you couldn't guess)

Here at welovelocalgovernment we do like to publish guest posts sent in by our readers. Today’s piece addresses the issue of non-jobs and has been anonymised by the WLLG editors.

My name is xxxxxx and I have a non-job.

There, I’ve said it. I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

I have never worked directly with a member of the public. I have not cleaned streets, looked after disabled adults, planted flowers, been a lollipop lady, cleaned a sewer or even planned a new traffic scheme. Looking back on my career I cannot point to one example where my work ‘directly’ benefitted a member of the public enough that they would be able to say; ‘that xxxxxx, she did  a really good job for me today’.

What is more; I get paid well for my non-job. I’m not on a Prime Ministerial salary but I make more than the national average and certainly more than some of the care workers, caretakers and street sweepers the public really value.

But how did it come to this?

I went to a good university, got myself one of those degree things and then, I guess because of my sense of public duty or something, headed off for into a public sector job. I guess I should look back on this with a sense of regret but little did I know at the time that my idealism was mis-placed and that I was applying for a non-job. What’s more I didn’t realise I had set myself on a long-term path to lifetime non-jobness.

But I progressed well. I was good at my non-job; sometimes I even excelled. This opened doors for me and before I knew it there were non-job promotions available.

So now I find myself at a cross roads. I’m a non-job lifer and I’m good at what I do. The public might not see me or care whether I exist or not but my colleagues seem to value my work. I’m also fairly certain that if my job did not exist then someone would have to invent it or front line staff would be doing it in their ‘spare’ time.

But should I continue? My skills would probably be useful in the private sector too and at least then the morality (has it come to this? Morality? Really?) of the situation would be resolved. But would I get the same satisfaction in the private sector? Despite everything there is still a sense of idealism to my work and if I do my job well then I believe I make the public sector just a bit better.

I want to keep that feeling.

And yet and yet… It may be because of Eric Pickles and co or it may just be the impact of the job losses but sometime I think that even I would let me go if I thought it would protect a few more social workers or street sweepers.

After all, my name is xxxxxx and I have a non-job.

Should I go cold turkey?

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7 Comments on “My confession: I work in local government and I have a non-job”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Your post was really refreshing – there’s not many of you like that in local goverment. I too have a non job and acutely aware of it, although I have had more of my working career in contact with local residents, I made a conscious decision to apply for a job ‘behind the scenes’ to try something different. 5 years later and having survived a so called re structure, I am wondering what I’m doing! HOwever, if your job is making a differnce then stay, but good on you for being so honest, there are 1000’s out there who arent!

  2. Another Performance Officer Says:

    I’m another Council officer and I have a non-job too (see my title!)

    But I’m proud of my non-job, and I feel strong in defying Pickles and saying that I actually make things better. Maybe Mrs X will never know that I actually made her day better, but I do by helping services improve themselves.

    I say all us non-jobbers need to stand up and admit that what we do matters, it does make a difference and not give in to this shameful bullying.

    Anyone for a T-shirt ‘Non-job and proud’?

  3. A Researcher Agrees Says:

    Excellently put!

    I could earn more in the private sector; it would cost my authority exponentially more to externally contract the work my team and I do and I really do have a massive level of job satisfaction in helping point the right research at the right decision makers.

    I still get branded a non-job. This brainless bullying has gone beyond cultural shorthand for a cheap efficiency-based dig and has become government policy. It is dull, slow-witted and oddly aggressive – the law of the playground written in Whitehall – New Politics indeed.


  4. […] basically have a back office job. If I’m not in today, no one is going to […]


  5. […] the LGC. However, our favourite post by far was a guest post from someone describing themselves as having a non-job: My name is xxxxxx and I have a […]


  6. […] spoken about non-jobs from time to time on this blog and every now and again we check in with the wonderful taxpayers alliance […]


  7. […] writing about feelings of survivors guilt, concerns over one guest-blogger’s feeling that they have a non-job (whatever they are) and another’s lack of really caring about their job (despite doing it […]


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