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How to know you are not fit for the civil service?

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 19-09-2020, 04:14 PM
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Unhappy How to know you are not fit for the civil service?

A bit clickbaity title, but I just wanted to get a gauge if this kind of struggle is normal or if it's indicative that I'm just not a good fit for the civil service.

I just started my job in January at MOE HQ and it's been 9 months. I seem to be struggling a lot more than my peers. It's always the little errors that get to me. Every single time I send out a submission, my boss will IM me telling me something I did wrong.

E.g.

I should have listed out the person's full name according to their email.
I should have used a comma instead of a semi colon.
I should have linked this instead of attaching it.
I should have used "Regards" instead of "Faithfully yours".
I should be very formal with this officer from another ministry, but not this one, even though they are of the same standing.

It's gotten to a point where I stress over it so much and take so long to send out submissions. I literally wait with dread for the next few minutes if my boss will IM me. It's not only that, even the work I produce often gets criticized heavily. E.g. Formatting, this is not useful for gov, this should be phrased another way...

Nowadays, I just don't know what sort of mindset I should have - sometimes, little things that I change seem minor so I change them and send it out, but I get it pointed out and that I should have informed the boss. Other times, I follow exactly as they say and then I'm asked why I didn't make the changes by myself as they are minor and don't need approval. Things that are fine for me are not fine for my boss (e.g. should have used a certain font size, should have added paragraph break). Things that I find weird are not weird for my boss.

This feels like a huge warning sign bcs these are minor things that I can't even get right. Which means even if I work harder, it won't change that I just lack the intellect for the civil service. [Basically, I'm stupid lah hahaha]

I'm not here to ask everyone to judge if I'm right or I'm wrong; I see myself as wrong for the system. My boss has outright told me I'm making a lot more mistakes than the normal newbie and has been implying that I'm slow or not thinking hard enough. I feel like I just don't have the correct mindset for CS. I know I'm more careless than the usual person, but even with the amount of time I spend just obsessively looking through the email, I still get at least one thing wrong.

My boss is kind and I hope it doesn't sound like I'm painting him as a bad person. He has told me he doesn't want to nitpick, but he does it because it just is the culture here. So now, I'm not sure is it something that I can continue picking up or by 9 months, it's indicative that CS is not a good fit for me. Because every single submission I've sent out in the past month has gotten me into minor trouble.

I'm not going to quit my job now as I'm more than grateful to have one now, but I'm thinking more long-term as I feel like these are warning signs. Have you guys gone through such experiences before? Did things get better, and how long did it take?


Last edited by terriyaki; 19-09-2020 at 04:18 PM.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 19-09-2020, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terriyaki View Post
A bit clickbaity title, but I just wanted to get a gauge if this kind of struggle is normal or if it's indicative that I'm just not a good fit for the civil service.

I just started my job in January at MOE HQ and it's been 9 months. I seem to be struggling a lot more than my peers. It's always the little errors that get to me. Every single time I send out a submission, my boss will IM me telling me something I did wrong.

E.g.

I should have listed out the person's full name according to their email.
I should have used a comma instead of a semi colon.
I should have linked this instead of attaching it.
I should have used "Regards" instead of "Faithfully yours".
I should be very formal with this officer from another ministry, but not this one, even though they are of the same standing.

It's gotten to a point where I stress over it so much and take so long to send out submissions. I literally wait with dread for the next few minutes if my boss will IM me. It's not only that, even the work I produce often gets criticized heavily. E.g. Formatting, this is not useful for gov, this should be phrased another way...

Nowadays, I just don't know what sort of mindset I should have - sometimes, little things that I change seem minor so I change them and send it out, but I get it pointed out and that I should have informed the boss. Other times, I follow exactly as they say and then I'm asked why I didn't make the changes by myself as they are minor and don't need approval. Things that are fine for me are not fine for my boss (e.g. should have used a certain font size, should have added paragraph break). Things that I find weird are not weird for my boss.

This feels like a huge warning sign bcs these are minor things that I can't even get right. Which means even if I work harder, it won't change that I just lack the intellect for the civil service. [Basically, I'm stupid lah hahaha]

I'm not here to ask everyone to judge if I'm right or I'm wrong; I see myself as wrong for the system. My boss has outright told me I'm making a lot more mistakes than the normal newbie and has been implying that I'm slow or not thinking hard enough. I feel like I just don't have the correct mindset for CS. I know I'm more careless than the usual person, but even with the amount of time I spend just obsessively looking through the email, I still get at least one thing wrong.

My boss is kind and I hope it doesn't sound like I'm painting him as a bad person. He has told me he doesn't want to nitpick, but he does it because it just is the culture here. So now, I'm not sure is it something that I can continue picking up or by 9 months, it's indicative that CS is not a good fit for me. Because every single submission I've sent out in the past month has gotten me into minor trouble.

I'm not going to quit my job now as I'm more than grateful to have one now, but I'm thinking more long-term as I feel like these are warning signs. Have you guys gone through such experiences before? Did things get better, and how long did it take?
Sounds like youíre just not used to your bossí micromanagement style.

I am from a CS too while I detest the stupid pedantic way of writing emails, itís not much of an issue.

Perhaps maybe my role is more quant-focused and whatever content in email correspondence are all menial tasking that my boss is willing to overlook.

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Old 19-09-2020, 09:06 PM
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<hugs>
OP, i also came from private sector. It's normal to feel this way. Just hang in there until you can change jobs ��
As for the emails, your bosses change it because they need to prove they value-add. I made a 200 page manual of things I should look out for so that i won't forget and make the same mistakes twice.

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Old 19-09-2020, 11:11 PM
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Just reply "ok, will take note for next time" to your boss and move on. These type of things are really too minor to fret about.
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Old 20-09-2020, 04:47 PM
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working in MOE HQ for 12 years. 2 pcs of advice to give. don't beat yourself too much over email etiqutte. everyone has different tolerance level. generally we are quite chill over the choice of words as long as the tone is OK. over time, you get a feel of the right tone.

2nd pt is that there is surely some senior or mentor figure (not necessarily your RO) in your section, that can help you vet submissions and double check. pointing out mistake AFTER you send email is counterproductive. better to send it to one person, WA him/her to ask gor help to review and learn from the edits made.

we want to set up our fellow colleagues for success and not doomed for failure.
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Old 20-09-2020, 10:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terriyaki View Post
A bit clickbaity title, but I just wanted to get a gauge if this kind of struggle is normal or if it's indicative that I'm just not a good fit for the civil service.

I just started my job in January at MOE HQ and it's been 9 months. I seem to be struggling a lot more than my peers. It's always the little errors that get to me. Every single time I send out a submission, my boss will IM me telling me something I did wrong.

E.g.

I should have listed out the person's full name according to their email.
I should have used a comma instead of a semi colon.
I should have linked this instead of attaching it.
I should have used "Regards" instead of "Faithfully yours".
I should be very formal with this officer from another ministry, but not this one, even though they are of the same standing.

It's gotten to a point where I stress over it so much and take so long to send out submissions. I literally wait with dread for the next few minutes if my boss will IM me. It's not only that, even the work I produce often gets criticized heavily. E.g. Formatting, this is not useful for gov, this should be phrased another way...

Nowadays, I just don't know what sort of mindset I should have - sometimes, little things that I change seem minor so I change them and send it out, but I get it pointed out and that I should have informed the boss. Other times, I follow exactly as they say and then I'm asked why I didn't make the changes by myself as they are minor and don't need approval. Things that are fine for me are not fine for my boss (e.g. should have used a certain font size, should have added paragraph break). Things that I find weird are not weird for my boss.

This feels like a huge warning sign bcs these are minor things that I can't even get right. Which means even if I work harder, it won't change that I just lack the intellect for the civil service. [Basically, I'm stupid lah hahaha]

I'm not here to ask everyone to judge if I'm right or I'm wrong; I see myself as wrong for the system. My boss has outright told me I'm making a lot more mistakes than the normal newbie and has been implying that I'm slow or not thinking hard enough. I feel like I just don't have the correct mindset for CS. I know I'm more careless than the usual person, but even with the amount of time I spend just obsessively looking through the email, I still get at least one thing wrong.

My boss is kind and I hope it doesn't sound like I'm painting him as a bad person. He has told me he doesn't want to nitpick, but he does it because it just is the culture here. So now, I'm not sure is it something that I can continue picking up or by 9 months, it's indicative that CS is not a good fit for me. Because every single submission I've sent out in the past month has gotten me into minor trouble.

I'm not going to quit my job now as I'm more than grateful to have one now, but I'm thinking more long-term as I feel like these are warning signs. Have you guys gone through such experiences before? Did things get better, and how long did it take?
I also did work in MOE HQ though I think your boss is not my boss.... haha

During my 4 years there, I was there to learn how to beautify my powerpoint slides, every font and colour, or even background count. Email communication is secondary.

The most is how draggy the approval process took or how fast we needed gather any data due to public request etc.
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Old 21-09-2020, 02:40 AM
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Sounds like it's your boss. Not every civil service boss is like that. As it's only 9 months it's unlikely you can ask for an inter-departmental switch. Start looking for a new job now, but don't quit till you find one.
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