Monday, June 18, 2012

You shall not leave!

....the German Civil Service!

The benefits of Germany’s 4.5 million Civil Servants (Beamter) are enticing. They have a job for life, health insurance and a generous pension.  Among the Beamter are the German professoriat, which indluded me from 1998 until 2007.  Now I had always assumed that some measure of employment permeability between the German Civil Service (Beamtenschaft) and rest of the world would be actively encouraged. Not so, it seems…

 Now there is indeed a strong conflict of interest argument against too frequent personnel switches between the high-level bureaucrats, who regulate industry, and industry itself. However, for most civil servants, including the professoriat, hindrance is against the national interest.  But, as Ansgar reminded me in the pub last Monday, in Germany employment as a Beamter is expected to be marked by a higher-than-normal degree of loyalty on both sides, with the above-mentioned benefits being matched by faithfulness and dedication to the State. Indeed, the new Beamter's first task is to swear a solemn oath of loyalty. Leaving the Beamtenschaft is tantamount to treason, so that’s why in doing so you forfeit your pension, you see. It’s a punishment for failing in your loyalty.

You have revealed your true colours.  You shall not leave.

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