Things are tough all over, but they are less tough in some places than others.

Nearly 20,000 federal jobs have disappeared in the Washington area since the Reagan administration took over. About 2,900 people here were fired outright for economy reasons. But there is work, if you know where to look.

One place is the Voice of America.

VOA, which has not suffered the same degree of budget cuts as other agencies, has been trying its darndest to find someone (clean in mind, body and driving record) to chauffeur one of its associate directors around on official business.

The job is a new position, and it pays $7.16 per hour to start. Of course the government doesn't call it a chauffeur job, since that conjures up images of limousines and the like. Rather the position is "Motor Vehicle Operator, WG 5703-5, $14,892 per year." In addition to driving, the winner will be expected to "perform a wide variety of tasks associated with the operation of a motor vehicle."

This includes, but is not limited to, opening the car door, being able to double park, not eating garlic on the job, etc.

Job elements are defined as:

1) "Ability to perform the duties without more than normal supervision. (Screen out factor)." Whatever that is.

2) "Skill in operation of the appropriate vehicle (passenger sedan)."

3) "Knowledge related to operation of appropriate vehicle (passenger sedan)."

4) "Record of safe driving."

5) "Reliability and dependability as a Motor Vehicle Operator."

The job is open only to people with Civil Service status.

If you are one of the feds fired for economy reasons earlier this year, and meet the bill, get in your bid fast, because the deadline for applying is close of business Monday. The personnel office is at 330 Independence Ave. SW, Room 1341.

Who said the government isn't hiring?