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Chicomm Blog

20 Inspirational Quotes for Government Employees

Posted by Lisa MacGillivray on Tuesday, December 28, 2021

inspirational-quotes-for-government-employeesGovernment employees make the world go around. They’re the ones driving and operating the buses, garbage trucks, snowplows, maintenance equipment — and so much more!

Day after day, rain or shine, and in the midst of a global health crisis, essential workers who serve the public are hard at work meeting needs in their communities.

Whether you create the systems that keep facilities running smoothly, manage transportation fleets, and ensure that parks and public spaces are safe and clean, or play another crucial role, the quotes below are here to inspire you.

From Chinese general Sun Tsu to Maya Angelou, the following people share life lessons, wisdom, and gratitude for hardworking public servants.

On the unpredictability of the job

Chinese General Sun Tsu: “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity.” 

On the mission of public service

French philosopher Jean‑Baptiste Rousseau: "As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall.”

Iain Pears, author of The Dream of Scipio: “Virtue comes through contemplation of the divine, and the exercise of philosophy. But it also comes through public service. The one is incomplete without the other. Power without wisdom is tyranny; wisdom without power is pointless.”

President John F. Kennedy: “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Former Senator Margaret Chase Smith: “Public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation.”

On the value of public employees

Benjamin Franklin: “What vast additions to the Conveniences and Comforts of Living might Mankind have acquired, if the Money spent in Wars had been employ'd in Works of public utility!”

Author Michael Lewis: “It is a calling. They do not need other motivations when what they do is the right thing to do. We need to honor these people. We would tease more out of the population if we created a culture of recognition around what it means to embrace shared responsibility.”

On the challenges of the job

St. Francis of Assisi: “Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.” 

Singaporean politician Nicole Seah: “When you are in the public eye, in the name of public service, you have to understand that the more people know about you, and the more people say they want to support you, the more you have to work even harder to uphold that trust.”

On the importance of water and sanitation workers

Scientist Albert Einstein: “I speak to everyone the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.”

Medical doctor and philosopher Deepak Chopra: “Although we take it for granted, sanitation is a physical measure that has probably done more to increase human life span than any kind of drug or surgery.”

Former Secretary‑General of the UN Kofi Annan: “We shall not defeat any of the infectious diseases that plague the developing world until we have also won the battle for safe drinking water, sanitation, and basic health care.”

Actor Matt Damon: “You will never solve poverty without solving water and sanitation.”

On striving

Boxer Mohammed Ali: “You could be the world’s best garbage man, the world’s best model; it doesn’t matter what you do if you’re the best.”

Sled dog racer Susan Butcher: “I do not know the word ‘quit.’ Either I never did, or I have abolished it.”

On gratitude and appreciation

President John F. Kennedy: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Author Maya Angelou: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

Former U.S. Representative Lee H. Hamilton: “I can assure you, public service is a stimulating, proud and lively enterprise. It is not just a way of life, it is a way to live fully.”

Suffragist and educator Margaret Cousins: “Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.”

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