When the Federal Government of Canada hired me in 1981, I felt mixed emotions about being one of those civil servants people grumbled about. Fortunately for me, none of my friends disowned me. Neither did I become greedy or have to tow a line which contradicted my Christian beliefs. Best of all, most of the people I worked with were just regular folks. My daily activities were much like what David Byrne wrote in the Talking Heads’ song, “Don’t Worry About the Government.”
In those days, I worked in the Federal Building, now owned by the Government of Alberta. Since it had no modern air conditioning, we opened the windows on sunny summer mornings. I remember one morning when the new poplar tree leaves perfumed the whole floor where we worked. I enjoyed that very much.
Another activity I enjoyed was the conversations we had during coffee breaks. My coworkers and I would gather around with our coffees and buns from the Caterplan lady’s trolly and have a good time.
The Caterplan trolly also helped support the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). Thanks to it and the cafeteria in the basement, many blind and partially-sighted people benefitted, particually by being employed there.
My coworkers were also acknowledged in The Western Flyer, a newsletter of the Airports Branch of Transport Canada. What a great feeling it was to be appreciated by the managers of our department. The article also had a nice photo of the clerks and myself. It was so good in fact that I managed to scrounge a few copies to send to my family members.
I also remember the time when the Airports Branch moved across the hall. Each morning for a few weeks, I would walk into the space I had been in for about ffive years and then realize I was in the wrong office. I saw others make the same mistake for a while. I’m not a morning person so my body tended to go on autopilot. My blundering into the wrong place became a bit of a standing joke for a while but I didn’t mind.
Though we moved into the newly-constructed Canada Place skyscraper in the autumn of 1988, I still preferred the Federal Building. It was near the Legislature of Alberta which had a lovely park. I took my lunches there many times to enjoy its scenic beauty. Canada Place had only a tiny park, frequented occasionally by homeless people. Though it was closer to stores and the Light Rail Transit, I liked the small drug store’s selection of candy and gifts. Canada Place had, and still has, no windows to open. It suffered from the “sick building syndrome” which meant many people were absent during the flu season.
I mentioned my government job and the problems certain people caused me in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. This marvelous testimony of God’s providential care is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.