This put me in a bad mood.


When I first wrote about Brinton, I was going by the media’s reporting that he was a Biden appointee in the SES.

He is not.

The President is allowed to appoint up to 10% of the SES, the rest are career employees.

In theory, the career employees are supposed to be qualified and the Presidential appointees can be whomever, hence the 10% limit for appointees.

Understand that a career SES employee is a civilian with a rank equivalent to a general officer in the DOD.

Again, I looked for his qualifications.

A BS and MS from MIT in nuclear engineering and some time in think tanks.

He has never been employed as an actual nuclear engineer at any time.

He is 33 years old and his longest job was with a LGBT rights organization.

I didn’t like him as an appointee, but that I understood.  They found someone with a nuclear engineering degree and had a unique sexual identity.  He checked the right boxes and he was in to do a sinecure as long as Biden was President.

But for him to be a career hire meant that the government actually intended to give him actual responsibility across multiple administrations in a job many people have for life.

With only the poorest of qualifications.

Seriously.  There is more published by him on how to have sex with a man in a puppy mask than nuclear energy.

This shit hits me hard.

Understand that I spent a while in the government contracting world.

I tried to get hired by the government a few times.

I was always rejected.

For some reason I was “highly qualified” but there was always someone more qualified who got the job.

I have a BS, MS, and Ph.D. in engineering.  I’m a PE in five states.  I have 10 years of engineering field experience in industry and manufacturing.  I have been published multiple times.

I’ve applied at NASA, the DOD, and to a few DOE government labs.

Rejected every time.

For the life of me I legitimately cannot fathom what qualification or skill I’m missing that I keep getting passed over to be an engineer making missiles or rockets for the government.

But this guy gets to be a deputy director of an agency.

At this point I can only come to the conclusion that my qualifications are what disqualified me.

Our government is made up of utterly incompetent people who only hire other incompetent people, that way nobody makes anyone else look bad by actually doing a good job.

At every fuck level.

Our United States assistant secretary for health bumble-fucked his states response to COVID, killing the elderly when he was Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Buttigieg has proven to be utterly useless, which should have been evident since he came from McKinsey.

The entire Flag Officer Corps lost Afghanistan in a few weeks.

And it all makes me so angry.

I grew up on The Right Stuff and Apollo 13.

Deep in my soul engineers at NASA or Sandia are the elite of engineers.

They put men on the moon and split at atom.

I wanted to be one of them.

One of the elite.

To be rejected by them hurts so fucking much I can’t stand it.

Then I see this and I realize just how fucking broken our system is.

And I hate it.

I hate what we’ve become.

I hate that I can’t reconcile the reality of what I see with the dreams and aspirations I had and still have.

I hate it all so much.

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By J. Kb

14 thoughts on “The incompetentocracy”
  1. For what it’s worth, I understand.
    To my eternal gratitude, the part of the scientific-government complex I’ve worked in, isn’t nearly as bad as this. But do I worry? Yes.
    And … I should probably end this comment right about here.

  2. That’s just your white rage talking.

    Also it’s racist of you to assume that one needs “skills” and “knowledge” to be a skillful and knowledgeable person.

  3. 1 – I work in the chemical industry and if you’ve ever had the privilege of being audited by OSHA, EPA, etc., you’d know right away that those auditors were the ones who barely passed school and couldn’t engineer their way out of a paper bag. A coworker who was involved in a fatality investigation stated that OSHA walked onsite and immediately stated that they were there to assign blame and figure what amount of money to fine the company. No care or thought of actually investigating what happened, just how much money.

    2 – Another coworker had an offer from the state to hire on as an environmental regulator (not EPA, just state level). He already had 25+ years in industry but figured he would get better insurance and retirement from the govt job (and he’s probably not wrong). Of course he only got the offer because of his contacts. He ended up not taking it. After talking to others that worked there, found out that he’d probably die of boredom. They had an entire building of people that sat around most days doing nothing. Anyone with talent would wither up and die in that environment.

    3 – at one time we hired a consultant to help with enviromental permitting (EPA federal level). The consultant had worked for the EPA for his 20 years, retired, got the full pension, then started a consulting business helping companies wade through the horrible regulations mess he created. His words, off record – “no one there understands these regulations, but they’ll fine the shit out of you if they think they can. The trick here is to act so confident that you meet all regulations that they cave under and go look for some other company to dick with.”

    Nope, they are not the best and brightest. I actually know a NASA engineer, decent guy. I asked if it was exciting to work there. He shrugged his shoulders and said it pays the bills. You ain’t missing nothing staying in private industry.

  4. Not only did our current Assistant Secretary of Health bumblefuck our state’s response to COVID and killed countless elderly in nursing homes, he/she/it pulled his/her/its own mother OUT of a nursing home BEFORE implementing said bumblefuck response! He/She/It KNEW exactly what was gonna happen by implementing that policy! Directly responsible for God knows how many deaths, and will never face justice for a single one.

  5. There are two silver linings here:

    One, by all accounts this… uh… person is a big, big proponent of nuclear energy. That’s something we need, posthaste, regardless of if we go back to drilling or not.

    Two, there’s no way anyone can blackmail this guy. It’s ALL OUT THERE and he doesn’t care. Refuge in audacity, perhaps, but still.

    1. Proponent of nuclear energy? I wonder. An affirmative action candidate put into the position by the Biden administration (“career” or not) doesn’t spell “proponent” to me. But I’d love to see data saying my first guess is wrong.

      The educational background reminds me of a conversation I had, decades ago, with a Physics MS looking for work. What I learned is that, in that field and many other sciences (though not computer related ones) an MS is basically good for nothing; it might move you slightly higher on the priority list for a high school teaching job. The only degree that’s viewed as serious heavyweight credentials is a Ph.D. So here too, I’m wondering: does it mean he dabbled in science but not enough to get a doctorate, which would actually amount to real credentials?

  6. “But for him to be a career hire meant that the government actually intended to give him actual responsibility across multiple administrations in a job many people have for life.”
    No the government did not intend anything. If you can make it through three years without doing anything so bad that you end up fired, you become a Career Federal Employee. Very few exceptions to that rule.
    As soon as you get those three years in, it is almost impossible for you to get fired. In fact, it is easier for you to get promoted. (Yes, promoting problem employees to get rid of them is a thing.)
    Additionally, your first three years you get low level meaningless assignments. Even if you wanted to stand out, you cannot.
    Finally, after three years of doing nothing (basically) it becomes a habit. You start thinking five meetings a day, and answering e-mails is productive work.
    “For some reason I was “highly qualified” but there was always someone more qualified who got the job.”
    That is because HR is the first gate you have to go through. They have a list of key words, and quals you have to meet. And, let’s not forget the extra “points” for former military or current Federal employment. (Clearly described on the application materials.) Plenty of well qualified individuals do not make the cut because it is full of useless feds, and supply clerks. Then they added the affirmative action crap.
    The reality is Government work is project management and chasing money. There are a few agencies that still do research, but for the most part, they contract that research instead of doing it in house. If you really want to do engineering, tech work, or research, do not bother applying to the Federal Government. Apply to their contractors. (And, not the big ones, they are basically government.)

  7. Be thankful that government is mostly incompetent. If they had the kind of resources (your tax dollars) they have, and actually were competent, they could do real damage.
    As it is, they are generally simply ignored or worked around.
    Remember – in most cases, and in most circumstances, the best thing government can do is nothing. That especially applies to Congress. Thank God for the fillibuster.

  8. S.E.S. The -bane- of the DotGov and the very proof of the existence the Deep State… a perfect modern bureaucracy at it’s finest… once you get the coveted “Career Fed Employee” as commenter above stated it’s inconceivable to get fired.

    Case in point FedBro, my lil IRL brother worked a case of a “mad crapper” in one of the Legions of the FedGov Orifices. No joke, someone was deucing in the coffeemaker unbeknownst to his apparently hated co-workers. FedBro spent almost $300k in resources, cameras surveillance, you name it to find out just -who- said “Mad Crapper” was, and when he was finally found out, (9 months later) they put the Crapper on psyche-leave for the three remaining years he had til he hit his 20 year marker, and then got to retire with the full DotGov deck…

    Part of the reason I’m blackballed from working certain contracts overseas is that I pissed of the Senior S.E.S. guy in charge by asking too many ‘uncomfortable questions’ regarding the perks and bennies of being such an exalted one… found out he purely hated being mocked (I was) and I got blackballed because he was just a dick.

    My experiences with them all is they’re ALL dicks… incompetent ones at that

  9. I was lucky when I was working on government contracts. Almost all of the people I dealt with were very good, better than average. On the other hand, we did a lot of “You have no idea what the F you are talking about. You’ll be getting a call from you boss in the next hour. While you are waiting for that, go read x,y and z. Make sure you have a,b, and c ready to go. My contact number is ….”

    Then we’d talk to our SES tell him where the hammer had to fall and why. Generally call backs were within 30 minutes.

    There are way to many government employees that are there for the security and salary. We were there for the freaking toys.

    Everyone of the people I worked with could have left government service at anytime and gotten a huge salary increase. But then they would have been begging for the toys. Heck, how often does a civilian get to go drive an M1A1 around the course because they wanted to understand it better?

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