Into the civil service

This year I dared to add on my resolutions the following:

  1. Prepare the upcoming civil service exams.

There were of course others, and I've had indifferent success with them all, but this one was the first and highest aim. I graduated law in 2010, and due to my desire to serve the general interest, as well as more practical considerations, I atempted to sit the exams for the corps of advocates of the Spanish state. These are the civil servants who represent the state before courts of justice (not in the sense of a prosecutor, but defending the state's interests).

I spent a few years preparing those exams, and I came to the conclusion that it wasn't going to happen. The syllabus is very broad, and the initial exams are orals with stringent time limits which require one to know the topics off by heart and to be able to recite them very quickly.

Afterwards, I gave the regional equivalent corps a shot, and I realised the situation was basically the same. It was then that I tried to enter Group A1 of the regional civil service, which is the group of jobs requiring a higher degree.

These exams are easier and have no oral component, although the last phase requires reading one's expositions before the tribunal. The topics are still pretty broad, but less so (around 140 topics instead of 450). The initial phase is a multiple choice questionaire, followed by a practical, and the last phase is topic exposition.

On the 2nd of May I got the news I had passed the last phase of the exams, and now all I have to do is wait for the public administration to follow its channels. I soon will become a member of the civil service, and hopefully will remain there for life.

The system is very strange. I remember explaining it to other people and hearing them describe it as mediaeval. The attempt is to make access to the service as purely based on merit, in an objectively measureable fashion, as it can be. In this regard, the exams do a lot in terms of excluding biases, although the pure memory components seem less than intimately related to job performance for me (one can consult the laws during work, after all).

Still, I am very happy that I passed, and much as I try to avoid it, in some measure proud of it; although I had no real certainty of passing. Hopefully it doesn't change me too much, and I don't forget all the circumstances and situations which brought me here, and that things could have gone a lot worse for me very easily (though they could have also gone better).

After almost 7 years since graduating, I know a measure of peace. May it last.

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