I have been a correctional officer for 18 years and during that time I have seen many initiatives, projects and ideas come and go in regards to addressing the issues within our workplace. I had already decided that Blueprint 2020 was another attempt to fix problems and, like attempts in the past, would quietly fade away accomplishing nothing.
Then, during an evening shift I noticed a co-worker reading an email he had printed off with interest. I assumed it was work related and asked him what it was. He told me that it was an email looking for volunteers to join a Blueprint 2020 “ginger group.”Having no idea what a ginger group was and having a few minutes to kill, I read the email.
What immediately caught my attention was the Human Resources ginger group, and more specifically, the Staff Recognition sub-group.
I have a military background and the morale of your soldiers is an extremely important issue for section commanders and above. Along with training, it is the most important asset a soldier needs. We need it here at CSC too.
My coworker who showed me the email hadn’t been with CSC very long, and that is what struck me. If he was that interested in improving our working conditions, then what excuse did I have for not getting involved with the experience I had? So, I dug the email out of my deleted folder in my inbox and replied to it stating that I was interested in joining the human resources ginger group. I had no idea what I had just signed up for, but I did know that if things were going to change, it had to start somewhere and it might as well be with me and the rest of the group.
That was over a year and a half ago and our group has grown, shrunk, and grown again. I’ll admit it’s difficult to make any gains when your group partners are spread across the country in different time zones and some, like me, are shift workers. That said, we have made a lot of progress over the past 18 months.
We answer to the Assistant Commissioner of Human Resources at CSC and although this is a volunteer effort, my immediate supervisors have been very accommodating in having me relieved for the many conference calls and video conferences I’ve been asked to participate in. That has been an immense help.
Like all things in government, this has been a slow process but unlike the many attempts that have come before it, we are still moving forward. I truly believe that we will accomplish our goals. It won’t happen over night or next month, but the more that employees get involved, the quicker we will notice a positive change - something public servants have wanted for a very long time.