Confessions Rants and Exploits of a Civil Servant

Rated 4.75/5 based on 4 reviews
Ramona Swann's 30-year career spanned assignments at the Departments of Defense, Transportation, Agriculture and Energy in a navigation up the civil service career ladder that plays out like a dark comedy. Ramona's world was one of excessive waste, tangled rules, indecipherable regulations and, of course, ever present politics. Confessions offers a view inside government.

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Review by: Sharon E. Cathcart on July 27, 2012 :
I have to confess, I had a lot of mixed feelings while reading this book. I spent a lot of time wondering how the author got away with as much as she did, to be honest. I'm a former Department of Defense employee who got her start in procurement before moving on to where I really wanted to be (public affairs).

Anyway, Swann doesn't pull any punches on herself in this book as she talks about her drinking, her various jobs and what she does wrong and so on.

And then she got to the retaliatory behavior after she blew the whistle on wrong-doing in her agency. This is something with which I have unfortunate personal experience, as I was also a whistle-blower. Every single thing Swann says about this experience is true: while there are theoretically protections, the truth of the matter is that the workplace becomes so insanely hostile that you are left with no choice but to leave.

More than anything else she wrote, I'm glad that Swann exposed this nasty underbelly of the Federal system. The majority of people who work for our government are honorable people who want to do the right thing. The others, who are less-than-honorable (like the supervisor on my last DoD job who threatened to write me up for insubordination when I refused to forge a signature on an official document ... and only backed down when I told her I'd do it if she put in writing that she had directed me to commit a felony), or like the people Swann writes about in her own agencies, taint the experience for the rest of us and give government employees the poor reputation that they seem to have nowadays.

If you want to see the truth about how hard it is to work for the government, read Ramona Swann's book. Seriously.
(reviewed 2 years after purchase)
Review by: Elisabeth Seiter on Nov. 20, 2010 :
A funny, candid entertaining struggle of a womans journey through life. When passed over for promotions she constantly challenged herself until she achieved the position and goals she set out to do. She overcame the struggles in a mans world and gained respect through hard work, encouraging others along the way.
(review of free book)
Review by: Pete Bridgeman on Nov. 19, 2010 :
This is a personal account of a fascinating journey from an individual who began as a relatively naive, obscure girl in the Pacific Northwest, worked her way up through a variety of government jobs, learned many lessons along the way, picked up a lot of tricks and, despite a few ethical slippery slopes, was motivated by helping other people and learned to be a good manager and leader, then decided to walk away from a high-level, presitigious position in headquarters for family reasons, found herself in a whistleblower situation, and described the trials and tribulations of dealing with that, all while she completed a personal journey towards well-being and sobriety, after years of alcohol abuse. The key to it all, though, is the journey is entertaining, every step of the way. You'll be alternatively tickled and shocked as you read this true account, and when you reach the end, you'll be disappointed - that it's over. This one's a must-read!
(review of free book)
Review by: Dick Reynolds on Nov. 16, 2010 :
I laughed and shook my head a lot while reading this. This gal has a way of telling stuff about herself that would embarrass the ordinary person, and she does it in a way that is just amazingly candid and honest. When was the last time you could say that about anyone in government?
(review of free book)
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