They were the most worthless of times.

I couldn’t imagine working a single month in the worthless public service, but for some people that is their entire life. Admittedly most public servants move around a bit; they don’t stay in the one office in the same department for more than a couple of years. I mean, you have to move up the public service ladder, get some promotions, tackle the bog jobs where you get to truly terrorise those plebs who work out in the dreaded ‘real world’.

Or if you have no ambition, no true skill sets, and a desire to be a completely worthless individual, you could just stay in the same Centerlink office for your entire working life.

Cambelltown Centerlink worker retires after 45 years.

These days, staying in one job for 10 years seems rare, but 45 years? That’s practically unheard of.

But Harrington Park’s Darrell Preston notched up that impressive milestone at Campbelltown Centrelink this week – just in time for his retirement.

Mr Preston has worked with the Department of Human Services since 1973, back when it was the Department of Social Security which handled welfare payments.

He got a cake as well. How about that for all of your hard work doling out taxpayer money to dole bludgers for 45 freaking years; all you get is a cheap chocolate cake with some macaroons stuck on the top and then your face gets plastered over the pages of the local rag so that people can wonder at your sanity for staying in the one office for 45 years.

But if there is one area of the workplace in Australia where you can stay until retirement, it’s the public service. Keep in mind that Australia’s wealthiest city per capita earning and about the only one not to be suffering falls in house prices at this moment is Canberra, the city of public servants. It truly is an abysmal state of affairs when the public service is your current best ticket to riches and retirement.

To find someone else who has worked in the same office in the private sector for that amount of time would be staggering indeed. What is the most depressing about our 45 year veteran is that it’s probably not that unusual in the sense that the public service is a ticket for life if you have no personal ambition whatsoever. Indeed, why bother moving around offices at all? This guy probably had it right on the money. Just turn up, clock in, move some papers around your desk, look vaguely busy, don’t annoy anyone, be that invisible guy at the coffee machine that co-workers nod at but don’t really know who he is at all. Above all, do not stick your head above the parapet and do not under any circumstances put your hand up to move further up the ladder.

Centrelink national manager Scott Chant thanked Mr Preston for his dedication to the company.

“Darrell has been a valued long-serving member of a team that’s provided behind-the-scenes support for our service delivery operations across NSW,” he said. “Serving the public for 45 years is a significant achievement. Darrell is going to be missed by his colleagues right across the state. We wish Darrell the very best for his retirement and his journey outside of Australian Public Service.”

I mean, how pathetic is it to work in the same public service office for 45 years and to not be the boss? Did he interview for the position over the years, endlessly being passed over until he just gave up? Think about all of the computer games that he must have played; he would have seen the entire development of time wasting games at work unfold over his computer station at his desk. It truly is a time capsule for our modern world.

After 45 years in the public service this guy’s superannuation must be healthier than a baby born in the state of New York as he sets off around Australia in his mobile home. He is a man for our times. Worthless times, for worthless men everywhere.

13 thoughts on “They were the most worthless of times.

  1. Behind Enemy Lines

    I’m thinking this chap spent 45 years in the same ‘office’ rather than in the same job. In Canberra, this would be unimpeachable evidence of supreme fecklessness, slackitude, mental health issues and all-round lack of reason for existence. Out in the regions, not necessarily so. People can literally go a decade without even a sniff of a promotion vacancy. Lateral movement opportunities can be almost nonexistent too, especially if a person has dependent family, a partner with a business, etc. So it’s not surprising to see someone spend most of a career in a single office (broadly defined). I knew a number of them back in the old days. Steady hands like the old school postman or local copper.

    Small town people with small town ambitions. Not bad folk.

    Like you, I’d have gone nuts. That’s why I left.

    Once upon a time there was a lot of union-sponsored official slackness in the APS but those days have been over for a long time. My sense is that most regional offices are working like rented mules these days.

    Australia’s massively over-governed, and I’d like to see the APS and State agencies slashed back to nothing. But my targets are all at the other end of the spectrum, the Ken Henry types, the stereotypical Canberra top-end bureaucrats along with their legions of totally unnecessary agencies all busy creating work for each other in the Parliamentary Triangle.

    Whereas the fellow across the counter from us at the local Centrelink is getting screwed almost as hard as we are – especially if he signed on after mid-2005.

    Poor bastard will probably live two or three years then croak.

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  2. Dave

    >”He was once the organisation’s ‘pay master’, in charge of payments to staff and customers across the state.”

    Only in the public service can you score a demotion as opposed to getting fired in the private sector. This dude just sucks the life out of a room.

    >“One of my career highlights was meeting my wife Sue at work and marrying her back in 1980 – 38 years of marriage is a long-lasting office romance.”

    I can only imagine the quality women you would meet at centerlink on both sides of the counter.

    >“I have seen a lot of changes over the decades as technology has changed how we deliver services to the community.”

    No mention of course, concerning the significant change in ethnic composition of centerlink employees this dude would have had to have seen and had to put up with.

    P.S. Love the dude’s shoulders by the way, could model a ski run off them, obviously never lifted anything remotely heavy in his life, a physical indication he would have been a push-over in the real world…. I’m such a cruel bastard…. I know.

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  3. blackelkspeaks

    You don’t understand the situation here. The guy punched his ticket every day for 45 years and salted away some of his pay in little bits that have accrued him great benefits when you add his pension check and subsidized healthcare to the pot. He is like the millionaire teacher retirees who spend their latter days collecting their monies and traveling the world. What do today’s private sector workers get but job insecurity, pay cuts, no professional respect, no pay raises for over 40 years, intermittent layoffs and firings, bankrupt pensions, and ending their days without two nickels to rub together. The guy at least knows about the principles of compound interest.

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  4. Another Cog in the Wheel

    Okay, I think you’re being a bit hard on Darrell. He at least was a provider for whatever familly he had.

    We can’t ALL be entrepreneurs. Someone still has to do the grunt work. And no work, if it is done with diligence and pride, should be beneath anybody. God only expects us to do our best at whatever tasks life gives us.

    If he was the best government bureaucrat he could be, then hooray for him!

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    1. Dave

      One of the problems now with Australia, let alone the West in general, is that it does not encourage superior performance and even rewards those who are mediocre… aka this everyone gets a trophy mentality….. it’s utter bullshit.

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  5. “…public service is a ticket for life if you have no personal ambition whatsoever.”

    A childhood friend of mine once tried for years to get a job at the local power plant because they offered excellent medical benefits and a near-impossibility of ever getting fired. Show up and do as you’re told, and in thirty years you get a nice pension. That was his idea of paradise.

    This was a guy smart enough to be a senior network engineer at Cisco. But he could not motivate himself to save his life, literally. He got diabetes before age 40. I left him behind four careers ago.

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  6. Don’t knock till you try it. Clock in, clock out, make friends, have laughs. In exchange you get good money, good benefits, and lots of holiday time.

    I hate the thought of working hard in the private sector only to have the tax man take it away. Especially now that I know how much money is wasted by the government. At least I get a taste of the extortion.

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  7. Dave

    Comments section is rife with mediocrity cucking…… a sign of a declining civilization.

    I make no apologies for having a distaste for such a thing which ultimately makes a nation ripe for the taking by foreign interests.

    Historic white success was not built on pheasants who stayed home and did lame stuff all their lives, it was built upon by those who stuck their necks out and set standards along with expectations that had to be met. Take away those standards and societal shaming to enforce them and you get the failing modern white world dystopia.

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  8. The Art Of Blades

    This was a brutal article Adam and rightly so. We can make fun of the guy for being the joke he is but this article is a good reminder to any man who has some sort of masculine pride about why we CANNOT become that. We cannot follow a path that does not stand by our frame, our principles or else we will become as hopeless as this person in the picture.

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  9. Al Jahom

    That cake is a testament to his colleagues’ desire to send him away with diabetes and heart disease.

    Which is precisely why I take cakes whenever I go into the office.

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    1. PB

      The selection of the cake is a scientific indicator of the number of heavy set females working the same office. He is the recipient but he is not the intended beneficiary.

      I’m sure 106k Kath will giggle something about being naughty as she reaches for her second slice.

      Like

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