Wednesday, 22 April 2009

P.J. O'Rourke nails it again

P.J. O'Rourke in the Aus today. Must read.

I will tell you a small story about my experience within government and why I distrust it so heavily.

Years ago, I was handed the job of looking after some offices in the country. The staff in them were really disgruntled and hated us "city folk", who never visited and simply crapped on them from high with an endless stream of useless memos that bore no resemblence to the reality they were dealing with in the bush.

I paid them quite a few visits - partly because I loved getting out of the office and going on a road trip, partly because they really needed our help and partly because they were mainly really nice people. They had none of the pretentions that their city equivalents carted around every day.

On my first visit, the manager of one site asked me for a certain bit of equipment. I asked why he needed it, and he showed me what he wanted to use it for. I knew immediately that his request was valid and that this bit of kit could make his life a lot easier, and really help out when it was needed. As soon as I got back to town, I procured it for him and was back a week later to set it up. I thought that the other sites could also benefit from it, and asked them if I should buy some for them as well.

Bugger me, but I thought they were going to tongue-kiss me.

The previous incumbent had rejected their requests for this same equipment on a regular basis for years. This bloke never paid the country sites a visit to see what they needed. If they phoned him up, he wouldn't pick up the phone. If they left a message, he never returned it. He simply thought he knew better than they did in regard to the kit they should have, and he then made sure that his mind could not be changed.

About a year before I took over, they went over his head and got approval from much higher up to have this kit supplied. When he got the order, he shelved it. He lost it. He shredded it. He deliberately denied them the equipment that even his superior wanted procured.

This sort of thing is rife in the state sector - you have all these know-it-all busybodies who think they have a better idea of how you should do your job/run your life than you do. Now, just remember that they do this sort of thing to people who they work with, in an organisation where people have some contact with each other. Just imagine what it is like when you try and get served by the guy in the field, and you have this jerk two or three times removed telling them what they should tell you.

The bloke you are dealing with doesn't know you or your circumstances from Adam - but at least he is talking to you face to face. But he is being directed by an idiot 400 miles away - an idiot that has never visited and met the guy you are dealing with, and who is wilfully ignorant of the facts.

This is a recipe for failure, and it is the way that government operates at most levels.


Pogria said...

Hi Boy, hey, sorry to go off topic, although the topic was great and it brought a definite sense of deja vu, I wanted to ask you a question.

Did you comment somewhere about not watching 24 because of that awful Garofolo sheila?

Boy on a bike said...

Don't think so. I don't watch 24 because it never really grabbed me.

Pogria said...

Nevermind. I couldn't remember who said they wanted to watch it, but didn't, because of the ugly hag Garofolo. I thought it was you.

anyway, I was going to tell you that she dies a horrible death in ep 23. Thought it may cheer you up since you've been crook.

I empathise. The four of us had the lurgy a couple of weeks ago. Lots of chicken soup was drunk!

BTW, I've never been a 24 viewer either. Was going to give it a go until I saw the ugly sheila. brrrrr, no way!

Hope you're on the mend. Remember, lots of chicken soup! It really does work.

Boy on a bike said...

Thanks Pogs. I have to be at work earlier than usual this morning and I already feel like poo.