Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas in the Department

Well, it all passed off peacefully. I'm really disappointed that the annual reviews I conducted with the Clerical Officers were uneventful. Apart from me feeling awkward reviewing one person who has been working longer than I've been alive - bloody hell!

And the Christmas party went very well, a rather nice feed at a swanky dining emporium (my choice!), no embarrassing incidents to report unfortunately.

It's too quiet. What's the betting that the merde will really hit the fan in 2008?

I don't care. I don't have to work till next week, and now, I'm off to get pissed.

Merry Christmas!! (My humbugs are well and truly eaten at this point).

The Birth of PMDS

‘Twas December, and Bertie Augustus did issue a decree that there would be a Census taken, and all the people would have to go to Dublin to be registered, because the CSO had exploded in a freak accident and all the census forms were destroyed.

So the senior civil servants travelled the short distance to the Department of the Taoiseach, to register themselves. Among them was one who was heavy with cakes, having eaten too many at the staff Christmas party.

This man, once he had signed his form, felt a rumbling in his stomach and thought: “Oh shit, I think I need to do a poo.” But the toilets at the Department were all full, with politicians regurgitating the excesses of the celebrations of their pay rises. So this poor burdened bureaucrat was forced to check into the nearest five-star hotel (on expenses, of course) where he could relieve himself of his heavy load.

Grunting and straining on the diamond encrusted marble jacks in his suite, the senior civil servant gave birth to a monstrosity. It was a pile of shit so large, that he had to run into the corridor shouting “come and look” to one and all. And come they did; porters, chambermaids, barmen, drunk politicians; one and all came to admire the magnificent creation. Three fuckin’ eejits walking past the hotel saw the stink waves emanating from the windows of the penthouse suite, and they followed the smell, and they too came to have a look. The fuckin’ eejits brought gifts of toilet paper, air freshener and a plunger.

The senior civil servant, breathless from his exertions, announced to the crowd “Behold my magnificent creation. I have decided that it will be of benefit to all civil servants. From now on every Christmas, all civil servants will have to endure the process I have just completed. In a metaphorical sense of course. Not all people have my capacity for cakes and gut-busting turds. No, I have decided that all civil servants will be subjected to pointless forms and chats with their bosses at this time of year. It will be just as excruciating and painful as what I have just done. I will call it PMDS - short for Pretty Meaningless Dreadful Shit."

And so, PMDS began. And people learnt to take it seriously, as it's linked to our pay awards. God Damn us every one!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bertie

Aren’t we lucky that Ireland doesn’t have nuclear weapons (At least, not that we know of – I think myself that Mary Harney is a suspect device.). Bertie’s lapses of memory recently in the Mahon Tribunal call to mind Ronald Reagan’s term of office as US President; a man with Alzheimer’s Disease whose finger was poised above that little red button that could make the whole world go BOOM BANG A BANG. Imagine if Bertie had the same capacity… “eeh, whaddya mean I started World War Three, I have no recollection of that fact, in factah, yeee’re tryin’ to stitch me up…”

The day Bertie turns up for work with no trousers on and proceeds to piss himself in front of everyone in Leinster House is the one I’m looking forward to. It’d certainly liven up Oireachtas Report.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Annual Review

Things I'd like to write about people in their Annual Review...

(This has been stolen from Impact trade union's magazine, "The Record" of December 2005)

"Upward Feedback me Arse"

Since my last report, this employee has reached rock bottom and has started to dig.

I would not allow this employee to breed.

This employee is really not so much of a has-been, but more of a definite won’t-be.

Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap.

When she opens her mouth, it seem that it is only to change feet.

This young lady has delusions of adequacy.

He set low personal standards and constantly fails to achieve them.

This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.

This employee should go far and the sooner he starts, the better.

Got a full six pack, but lacks the plastic thingy that holds it all together.

A gross ignoramus - 144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus.

He doesn’t have ulcers but he’s a carrier.

I would like to go hunting with him sometime.

He’s been working with glue to much.

He would argue with a signpost.

He brings a lot of joy when he leaves the room.

When his I.Q. reaches 50 he should sell.

If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he’s the other one.

A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on.

A prime candidate for natural de-selection.

Donated his brain to science before he was done using it.

Gates are down, lights are flashing , but the train isn’t coming.

He’s got two brain cells, one is lost and the other is out looking for it.

If he were any more stupid, he’d have to be watered twice a week.

If you gave him a penny for his thoughts you’d get change.

If you stand close enough to him, you’ll hear the ocean.

It’s hard to believe he beat out 1,000,000 other sperm.

One neutron short of a synapse.

Some people drink from the fountain of knowledge, he only gargled.

Takes him two hours to watch 60-minutes.

The wheel is turning but the hamster is dead.

Got into the gene pool when the lifeguard wasn’t looking.


And my own personal favourite:

"Someone peed in his mother."

Christmas...

It's the countdown to Christmas! 8 days to go! WooHoo!

Yeah, right.

C*ntdown more like it.

I have to get all the annual reviews for my COs done by the end of this week, god damn it fucking bastard shite.

I'm sure the reviews will turn up some funny stories, so watch this space.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Monument to the Unknown EO

I was in a shop today, winding up the Christmas shopping, and I noticed a handwritten sign by the counter, clearly stating the returns policy. At the bottom was a line saying:

"This does not in any way affect your statuary rights".

Thank fuck for that. I was always terrified that if I needed to return something to a shop, that I would forever lose my entitlement to have a statue of myself commissioned.

Phew! Now where's my chisel?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Other Departments

I walked past another Department today. I had to smile at the effort put into their exterior Christmas decorations. In fact, I wish I'd taken a picture on my mobile phone and uploaded it here.
It was a many-hued, glittering festive delight.

It was the entire contents of someone's stomach, plastered (no - hurled!), Pollock-fashion, across their plate glass double front doors.

It summed up the true spirit of the Irish Christmas.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

7 weird facts about Govstooge

Right, been tagged by Galwaywegian ... here are my weird facts...

1. I'm one of those annoying "flexitarian" people... I call myself a vegetarian but I still eat meat occasionally when the mood takes me. I also like working on flexi-time.

2. Despite having a proud association with Galway, I am no longer permitted to drink Buckfast, as it makes me utterly mental. Even more than usual. Strictly a pints woman now.

3. I actually really like my job... shock!! horror!! (Well, most of the time anyway... even on those days when I want to impale some of the clerical officers on the crudely fashioned chevaux-de-frise I have constructed beneath my office window.)

4. I scored three out of five in this year's PMDS. Huzzah! (Why my boss felt the need to apologise for the rating I don't know...).

5. I have spent almost two years of my life on the dole. And another five years in university. I'm now a civil servant. Go figure.

6. I am single, and very, very proud indeed. Although reading Bridget Jones' Diary struck a chord...

7. I'm a depressive, but writing this shite keeps me sane. I hope.

As for tagging seven others, I'm sorry, I'm just too fucking lazy.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Great Quote...

General Sir Walter Walker (Exponent of right-wing politics in 1970s Britain) said in 1981:

"Britain has invented a new missile. It's called the civil servant - it doesn't work and it can't be fired."

God, wouldn't it be great if you really could use civil servants as missiles. There are several COs in my section who fit this description, and there's nothing I'd like better than to shove a nuclear warhead up their holes and launch them in the direction of... oooh I dunno ... Washington DC? But they'd probably fizzle out somewhere over Borris-in-Ossory, the useless bastards.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Things that scare me at work

Jesus, sometimes you hear horror stories about workplaces. Rampant bullying, exploding kettles, collapsing furniture, etc. Although these things are not currently a problem, other, more surreal and bizarre things are.

There are many things about my workplace that scare me. Christ, some of them give me nightmares.

Here we go...

(1. ) One clerical officer's insatiable appetite for all things sweet or chewy. I am scared to go near this person in case one of my limbs accidentally comes into contact with their jaws. This person has an enormous arse and is also a Workplace Shitter.

(2.) The desk nearest to mine, a veritable midden of old forms, even older fruit pastilles, and - probably - rodents. Not even the person at (1) above will go near it when scavenging for food.

(3.) The occupant of the above desk, and their occasional attempts at "camaraderie" - basically handing out sweet treats to everyone - I am scared by this not only by the lack of hygiene of this person - but also because I am the boss, I'm terrified that the proffered chocolate has been deliberately laced with laxative, or rodent wee.

(4.) PMDS... oh God, oh God, it's that time of the year again when I must wander the corridors in vain with an appraisal form in one hand and a CO trailing behind me looking for a free room where I can conduct their Annual Review. I have to get all serious and discuss Key Performance Indicators (bleugh) and Critical Success Factors (Yawn). Then I have to give them a rating of 1 to 5. For Fuck's sake. It's like being a judge at a bad talent show in a community centre.

(5.) The coffee in the canteen. Once a reasonably palatable beverage, now tastes like it's been made with what's swept from the floor each evening, and maybe some rodent droppings from (2) above.

(6.) And of course, I live in mortal dread of falling asleep while my HEO is talking to me. An expert at using 100 words where 3 will do, my HEO is a tautological, verbose, circumlocutionary manager (sorry, I ate the thesaurus). I could catch a 5-minute cat nap, and still not miss anything. Does the HEO not notice my eyes glazing over, and a thin rope of drool exuding from the corner of my mouth? I can't help it.

I have to invest in some ProPlus. I have to get my caffeine somehow - see (5) above, and of course, if I take enough of them, I won't fall asleep, to be visited in my dreams by the evils listed above...

... but I may go insane. Maybe that's already happened though.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bah Humbug! (One of a series of many)

More Christmas moans...

Some of the staff in our section have decided to take the piss out of my constant grumbling and moaning (as a result of having to organise this years Christmas "do").

They are trying to suggest the person who organises the hooley should also put up the Christmas decorations in the section. We are six days into December and people are beginning to wonder when the 1980s tinsel and plastic holly and other civil service standard-issue decorations are going up to lend a bit of festive cheer to our magnolia and plywood workplace.

There is a lot of whispering in the section about this, and when my name came up today, in a whisper conveniently loud enough for me to hear, another CO said, "No, Govstooge is no use, she's too short."

There. A plausible reason for me to get out of doing the shitty job. For I am, indeed, a shortarse. And even standing on our flimsy chipboard desks, with a few extra forms for good measure, I will not reach the ceiling. I am five feet of aesthetic redundancy.

Plus, is there not a health and safety issue? As a manager, I am responsible for health and safety measures in the office. I would not be setting a good example teetering on the edge of the desk with sellotape in my mouth and tinsel in my hand, stretching in vain to make contact with the ceiling, while veering dangerously towards the open window. So I'm sitting back and sipping my coffee, while watching the tall people do all the hard work. Delegation, I'll call it.

And I could write that CO up for being discriminatory towards persons of restricted growth too. If I'm feeling generous enough for the season that's in it, I might well do that. It's Annual Review time in the coming weeks. Heh heh heh.

On foot of that, maybe I will help with the decorations to a lesser extent - I can hang a sprig of mistletoe off the back of my top, so people can kiss my arse.

Watch this space.

Ho ho fuckin' ho.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Shut the fuck up!

As a former employee of a sales office in the private sector (less forms, but with a permanently-on-the-rag nazi for a manager), I continue to be surprised by the things that people in our office get away with during work hours.

Strange things, like lunatic dancing in the aisles while wearing various items of stationery for decoration, pretending to hide in the artificial plants and jumping out at people from behind them, spending 50 minutes for tea in the canteen... ooh wait, I'm guilty of that one. But you know what I mean, silly things that wouldn't be tolerated by private sector companies.

What bafffles me, however, are the constant personal phone calls by some clerical officers (Not mine, so I can't pull them up... bah!) during work hours. Some of these calls are made to their houses which are pretty close by... to check whether the washing machine is on the spin cycle yet, to talk to the DOG, to shout (yes, shout) abuse at their husbands. Others ring their teenage children at school, to see if they ate their lunch yet, did they enjoy it, what their teacher (who is probably standing at the front of the classroom, fuming) is wearing, what do they want for dinner when they go home, etc. Other personal calls include ringing Revenue on behalf of grown-up children sorting out their tax credits and enquiring about items for sale in the local rag.

And these people are LOUD. PPS numbers, credit card numbers, recipes, shopping lists, the carryover of last night's argument, all circulating over the general hum of the office. I know more intimate details about their lives than I do about some of my own family or friends.

I don't care about the cost - either fiscal or in terms of productivity - to the office of all these phone calls. But I do care about having to listen to the details of Rover's impacted anal glands while I sip my morning coffee at my desk. I have already destroyed several forms due to involuntarily spitting coffee all over them on hearing the latest instalment in the "my husband is impotent" saga.

Short of compiling a new telephone usage policy for the office, which would be time consuming, boring and no-one would read or pay attention to it, maybe a volume control device installed on these people would help? I am thinking, of course, of a large tennis ball shoved into their mouths. Simple and cost effective.

It might cause drooling on the forms, though.

More Christmas Rant

Jesus, I'm fucking haemhorraging money this month. And I'm not talking about the heinous Christmas shopping mentioned in my previous post. No, I'm talking about all the other shite that's going on at work. People leaving and having babies, buying new cars, losing a stone off their arses, all these things have to be marked with a scrawl on a card and a ten euro note extracted from everyone. Fair dues, these are big life events (But where was my fucking card when I bought my house... huh? HUH?) and should be acknowledged in some fashion.

The big thing for me this month is having to cough up a load of extra cash towards the Christmas do (which I am organising, by the way) because I'm a fucking supervisor. This exalted status - despite the fact that there are clerical officers who make more money than I do - means I must pay more so that the clerical officers can have a cheap night out, at the expense of me and my fellow managers of various grades. This is a token of our appreciation for the hard work the clerical officers have done during the past year. Which is, also, fair enough. They do a good job. My main whinge here is that some of the other managers earn twice what I earn, and they have to pay the same. My tentative suggestion at the meeting that our contribution be made proportional to our earnings was met with stony silence. Quelle surprise.

Oh God, roll on March 1st and my 2.5% pay increase. I don't think my current pay packet can stand up to all this abuse. I might have to risk the whole lot on a horse. Tips, anyone?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Oooh Sheeet!

Just realised... it's fuckin' December! And not a scrap of Christmas shopping done!! Many of my friends and family are already done with theirs, and I have yet to start!

Every year I do this, despite the subtle reminders all around me for the past two months. A hardware shop close to where I live has had their front festooned in Christmas tat since October 9th!

To compound matters, I utterly detest town centres in the approach to Christmas, all that queueing and elbowing and trying to find the last parking space in the multi storey - when I only went in there in the first place because the sign outside said "Spaces" and when I am in, there are several fucking jeeps taking up three spaces each. Grrr! It makes me wonder why I left the house without some Semtex and an Uzi. It was much simpler when the fat bloke in the red suit did all the hard work.

So now, I have to order everything online, and pray that it arrives on time. Alternatively I can browse the shopping centre and retail park adjacent to the Department while on my lunch break, when they aren't too mobbed with people doing a fairly convincing impression of the zombies in Dawn of the Dead.

Bah humbug!!

Back on Form

I'm a lot better now, having gotten rid of all the impurities and foul phlegm from my system.

I'm just mad to get at all those forms.

Bring 'em on!!!

(Delirium brought to you by a few days' sick absence - uncertified, of course.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Fuck them! A REAL rant!!

Govstooge is one angry bitch today. Between people pissing me off and having a nasty respiratory tract infection that keeps me awake at night with a racking cough, there are many things getting right on my tits at the moment.

Property ownership is a great thing, and I am happily ensconced in my half-furnished brand new house. I still need work done, though and have enlisted the help of various tradesmen in recent weeks. Took the day off work today (leave, not sickie - that can wait till tomorrow) to admit the latest one, who was to come at 10. Maybe there was a Swiss person in my ancestry, but if I say I'm going to be there at 10, I'll fucking be there at 10. This twat turned up at 2.00, four fucking hours late. At which time I was out, having other things to do, and having already waited 2 and a half hours for the bastard to show up. And when he phoned me when I was fifteen miles away, I explained how I had taken a day off work especially, phoned at 11 and got no reply, the bastard didn't even have the grace to apologise, or even offer some pathetic excuse as to why he didn't turn up at the stated time. I'm glad I didn't hand over any cash, as I was able to tell him to shove it up his shitty arsehole, and that I hoped he and his family would drown in a torrent of cats' piss (well, maybe not the second bit). So back to square one looking for some other bloke to do the same job. Hopefully I haven't been black listed for being an utter bitch.

Back to work tomorrow (or maybe not - considering the state of my trachea right now), back to doing the shit the HEO and AP don't want to do, including the thankless task of organising the staff Christmas "do". The HEO and AP are full of suggestions, all of which make more work and hassle for me. This I can do without, and it makes me think "Why the fuck don't you organise it instead?" I hope they get the squits. In fact, I might be able to engineer that with my contact at the venue (adds syrup of figs to shopping list, and makes mental note to ask chef how it can be incorporated into turkey and ham).

I might call in sick tomorrow. I have an important deadline next week, but it's nothing my bosses aren't able to take over, so letting them do some work for a change while I stay in bed with a decent book and a warm alcoholic drink might be a good thing.

Fuck, yeah!

----------------
Now playing: Tom Waits - Come on up to the house
via FoxyTunes

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hopeless

Lottery syndicates.

I’m not a fan. Every Monday and Thursday morning I listen to a colleague who runs one discussing the numbers with syndicate members and collecting payments from them.

I don't disapprove of them, it's just that... you know there are some "lucky" people out there who seem to win everything in sight? Well, I'm not one of them, so I'd rather have an extra pint at the weekend than stay in on Saturday night glued to the fecking lottery numbers.

Some people are just naturally "lucky" whereas the rest of us are doomed to wander the earth with a trail of spent lottery tickets and entry forms behind them.

I don't know why they bother in the Department. We ALL work here, isn’t that bad luck enough? I don’t see the point of joining something I know I’m never going to be a winner in. The combined lucklessness of two hundred civil servants makes the improbability of becoming rich overnight an impossibility.

I have never won anything apart from an EO competition, and I’m not entirely sure yet if that was lucky or not. Today I'm leaning in favour of the latter.

Asshole Register

The Civil service has some strange practices. I have worked in two Government departments and never fail to be amused by the asset register. It basically means everything has a barcoded sticker so it can be scanned for whatever sick accounting practice is done in the finance section. And it creates sticker printing jobs for people who would otherwise be standing in other government offices filling out unemployment forms.

Computers, doors, windows, chairs all bearing a sticker. Next thing we know they will do it to employees as well we will have a bar code tattooed on our forearm so that we can be scanned and sorted into our relevant cost centres. (Changes in cost centre when people move department or section can be amended by skin grafting.) This would also eliminate the need for printing expensive ID/ swipe cards with magnetic strips.

I envision a future in which civil servants of all departments, still in their stripy pajamas, troop to work under a banner which says "Schlafend Macht Frei" (Sleep makes you free), present their forearm for scanning at the door, then are herded to their sections by HEOs with vicious, starved pit bull terriers, slobbering at the mouth for a bite of juicy round civil servant arse.

Auschwitz, anybody?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Uncivil Servant’s Rant is pleased to announce:

THE CIVIL SERVICE OLYMPICS!!!!!

Civil servants from all over the world are invited to take part in a wide range of exciting activities, including:

Synchronised Skiving

The Paper Throw (similar to discus throwing, but using large wodges of crumpled up policy documents instead).

Form processing (joke event)

Weight lifting (how long can you prop up a wall while talking to your buddies)

Information Relay (how fast it takes a piece of gossip /information to travel through 100 people, one at a time, without being distorted - Current record is five seconds.)

Fag relay (how many people can light their fags off each other, and how long cigarettes lit from the same match can keep going)

Deciphering the Personnel Code (who understands it first- no-one has ever succeeded, it COULD BE YOU THIS YEAR!

In addition, participating bureaucrats will be eligible to compete for inclusion in

THE CIVIL SERVICE BOOK OF RECORDS!!

In categories such as:

World’s largest fag break

World’s longest paid sickie

Longest time spent clocked in while doing the least work

World’s fastest swipe card action

Biggest Arse (male and female)

Most tea drank in one sitting

Longest scarf knitted during work hours

Most books read during work hours

Best Pac-man score achieved during work hours (Current record: 10,341,586)


And special guest, the guy who managed to watch every season of “Friends” on his PC when he was supposed to be working. Well done. We thought you had gone mad and were laughing at the forms.

Fill in the application form below to join the fun! Yes, you'll be able to claim extra time for filling it in!


Hello.

My name is ________

I like: (a) biscuits (b) cake with my tea


Location: To be announced once someone gets round to filling in the application form for the venue.

Date: Err, you’ll have to ask my supervisor, who isn’t here. They’re on tea at the moment and may be some time.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Being an EO sucks.

It fucking does you know.

And here are some reasons.

You do all the shit the HEO doesn't want to do. Then they can be left in peace to do their fucking online shopping and enter loads of competitions on the internet. HEOs, as section managers, have a lot of responsibility, which they are more than willing to delegate downwards so they can do all that non work related stuff, as well as arse kissing the Assistant Principal.

You have to listen to all the Clerical Officers' petty gripes. And act on them. And then listen to the HEO shoot them down. And then, go back to the COs and tell them the bad news. It's EO tennis! No love there... (sorry). COs are devious buggers, especially when they get together. They get something to moan about, and they'll harp on about it for ages until they wear you down and then you have to go higher to get something done about it. I had to approach my HEO today on behalf of a CO, regarding certain IT privileges, which I myself have. The bottom line is, "The Assistant Principal won't authorise access for everyone. If the CO needs to use that particular application, they need to ask you, or any of the other EOs, to use your computers." Fucking nice. I can see the fucking COs milking this one so that I don't get a moment to myself. Going forward (ha!), I need to remember to shut down my email, delete my internet history and password protect my personal files before I let one of the COs even near my computer. God only knows what they'd get on me if they clicked the wrong thing.

Managers like to mark their territory too. Like dogs, they can piss all over you without a moment's notice. My HEO has developed a nasty little trick of scheduling impromptu meetings immediately prior to my tea breaks. It's basically to put me in my place, showing me who the real boss is and all that. I have my priorities right though. I usually make some food or caffeine related excuse which works almost all of the time: "Err... sorry, I can't deal with this now. I have a severe caffeine addiction, also if I don't get a croissant intravenously STAT, I'm afraid I might fart on you..." It's true though, I am not lying. I like my coffee. A lot. And I usually leave the house without breakfast, so the noises my stomach is capable of making by the time these "meetings" arise are pretty convincing.

It really, really fucking sucks at the moment. Having a huge debt is great for motivating myself to go in every morning. That, and the echoing of my sentiments by other EOs in the very same situations.

And, most importantly of all, what the fuck would I write about in this rant if I didn't have all that shitty stuff to deal with?

There, I've cheered myself up now. Cathartic, that was.

Civil Cervantes

I sometimes compare myself to Don Quixote.

I spend a lot of my time at work engaged in futile acts. For instance, I am daily engaged in completely pointless interactions with a wide range of inanimate objects. These can include: printers, doors, windows, toilets, certain staff members and, of course, HEOs.

I'm thinking of cashing in on this.

My epic novel could start thus:

En un lugar de Irlanda, de cuyo nombre no quiero acordarme, no ha mucho tiempo que vivía un funcionaria pública qui fue aburrida todos los dias en su lugar de trabajo, y qui queria matar su jefe.

In a place in Ireland, whose name I do not want to remember, not very long ago, there lived a civil servant who was bored every day in her workplace, and who wanted to kill her boss.

Nice.

(Apologies to Cervantes, and proper Spanish scholars in general).

Although, with the Official Languages Act, I'd probably have to write the damn thing in Irish. Or get it translated. Which would cost the State thousands. And only one person would read it.

Mierda.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Gotcha!

Today, purely by accident, I discovered the identity of one of the Department’s most notorious offenders (in my opinion). Yes, I’m talking about the Workplace Shitter.

I needed to use the toilet this morning (for number ones, obviously), and when I entered the bathrooms I found myself swathed in the most noxious freshly expelled intestinal gases I have ever come across. For a moment I thought I was in a time machine and had been transported right back to the Somme in the middle of a mustard gas attack. Just as I began to grope for the door handle – my eyes were watering so much that I couldn’t see where I was going – the toilet in the sole occupied cubicle flushed. Despite my heaving stomach and my limited eyesight, my curiosity overrode all of my physiological protests and I lurched to the window and flung it open. With conditions now marginally improved, I grabbed a paper towel and pretended to be calmly drying my hands while taking care to remain as close to the window as humanly possible without actually falling out and cracking my head open on the crappy Government issue concrete 40 or so feet below.

The door opened. The thought of seeing the offending arse and its owner filled me with so much trepidation that I turned my back as I could not face seeing them emerge surrounded by their own vile stench. I held my breath. And prayed that it would be over soon.

“Hello, Govstooge”, a voice behind me called sweetly.

“Fuck!” I thought.

I turned.

When my eyes had adjusted to the thick fetid atmosphere of the toilet area, I saw that it was none other than one of my section’s own Clerical Officers, who started chatting away as if nothing was wrong. I made my excuses and left. I didn’t even wait to see if they washed their hands.

Now, as I type, I can see the arse in question, and I know exactly what rank aromas came out of it earlier.

My curiosity salved, I now feel dirty.

I am not this person’s boss. But even if I was, does my remit extend to controlling the bodily functions of others? Do I have the authority to place a large butt plug firmly in this person’s anus to prevent further exudations during work hours? Can I claim expenses for the purchase of said butt plug? Is there Health and Safety legislation relating to colon gases that I can cite?

Or can I just give them a good bollocking?

Answers on some used bog roll to the above address.

I am putting barbed wire around my desk in the meantime so that this person can't come near to contaminate my work space. It has the added benefit of deterring unwanted HEOs.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Welcome to the Working Week

Monday.

It sure as hell doesn’t thrill me, and I’m not entirely sure if it won’t kill me (with all respect due to Elvis Costello).

Today I have had to cope with a homicidal printer, a severe croissant shortage, and serious systems downtime, meaning bugger all to do but draft my next blog post.

I disappeared from the section for almost half an hour this morning while struggling with the most malevolent piece of office equipment it has been my misfortune to come across. It has a room all to itself (apart from an equally evil photocopier) thanks to the awful screeches it emits, like those of a dying pterodactyl - I believe the printer is from the same era as the aforementioned bird thing. I was printing a 100-page report (unfortunately, consideration for the Environment is low on the Department’s list of priorities) and the notorious temper of this printer meant I would have to stand over it, baseball bat in hand, coercing it into doing its fucking job. Every ten pages or so it jammed up and I opened the cover and side doors to see where the hell the errant pages had gotten to. Six paper jams later, my patience started to wear thin and I slammed the cover and the door as hard as possible while muttering “you fucking piece of shit!”. At one stage I ripped the jammed paper out so furiously, that a piece of it remained behind some kind of lever, so I had to try and get this out as well, getting burnt by the hellishly hot cartridge in the process and ending up with ink all over both hands and three door handles between the printer room and the bathroom.

I hope that when I retire (I just know that fucking printer will still be there in 30 or 40 years time, pissing off hundreds of civil servants) I can take it as a souvenir and kick the shit out of it in the car park, in homage to that rather excellent film, Office Space.

And then, just when it couldn’t get any worse, they were all out of croissants in the canteen. Arse. So I had to eat a scone, which, would be more correctly described as “a stone”. I nearly lost a tooth in it. I reckon our canteen would do well in Limerick, making replicas of the Treaty Stone. It was shaped like that, and didn’t taste nearly as nice.

Level of pity elicited from readers? Incommensurable. Civil servants get what they deserve.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Swearbox!

Thank FUCK the Department isn't thinking of introducing a swearbox system to discourage employees by hitting us where it hurts most (no, not in the bollocks, for I am a lady, and I do not have these... testicles...).

No, I am thinking of suggesting the introduction of a "Management Speak" box. This will discourage managers more senior than myself from using stupid, hackneyed phrases, such as "going forward", "touching base", "implementation", "strategic outlook" and suchlike. There could be a graduated scheme of penalties depending on the stupidity of the phrase or word used. For instance, anybody saying "Key Performance Indicators" would have to cough up 2 Euro, "critical success factors" would warrant a 5 Euro fine (or a swift kick up the hole) and an instance of "touching base" would result in the perpetrator having their head chopped off.

If this suggestion is "taken on board", my section ALONE could generate enough cash to solve the national debt of Leitrim. And, going forward, maybe another few bob for Bertie.

It's a win-win situation, folks!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

You utter bollox.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2007/1025/politics.html

Bertie getting a pay rise that's quite a bit more than what I earn in a year??
It could have been even more had the review body not discounted it??

Fine Gael calling it "disgusting"? (Yeah, as if they'd turn their noses up at it.)

Jesus, the rest of us have to suffer PMDS with our bosses before we get our rises. And that's every year, not every five years!

For feck's sake, he's only going to lose it, or roll around naked in it. The gobshite doesn't even have a bloody bank account!

How NOT to greet a civil servant....

... "How's the form?"

It can go two ways...

Response 1: *THUMP*

Response 2: "Quite good actually, we've added a few extra bits on personal details, like what flavour croissant people like to eat, what colour their bedroom is, what was their childhood imaginary friend called - actually now THERE's a thing, we are thinking of doing a survey of all the imaginary friends in the country, and combining the resources of the Garda National Immigration Bureau, Social Welfare, the CSO, Revenue and the Department of Health to weed these freeloading scumbags out once and for all. Because they're not paying tax, you see. Oh and what do you think of the colour of the form? I think shit-brown was a very nice colour to go for for the first five years, don't you? The form may as well reflect the confusion and depression people feel when they see it... err.. hello? Where did you go?"

I'm fond of the first option myself.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wouldn't you think...

...that, considering how much time I spend at work surrounded by forms, that I'd actually be able to fill one in for myself if I needed to?

Not a hope. I've attempted three times to fill an application form for a medical card (worth a try) and I keep messing it up.

God, I hate forms.

Monday, October 22, 2007

What's it all about?

I went through an existentialist phase today.

I'm wondering why we put up with traffic, mortgage repayments, dodgy builders, annoying bosses and all the other shit that comes with modern life, only to die at the end of it all.

Now I'm going through an apathy phase.
Ah, fuck it, I'm going down the pub.

Civil servant with very small brain

Oldie, but too good to leave off this page:

Basically, it's about a 44 year old civil servant who has a teeny brain, who has managed to live a normal life.

http://www.techdo.com/man-lives-normal-life-with-tiny-egg-sized-brain/

What's so special about this? I know plenty of people like this. My built-in CAT scanner* says so and the fact that they dribble is empirical evidence.

I notice the article doesn't state what grade he is. I reckon he is at least the equivalent of a Principal Officer.

*warning may be a figment of the author's imagination...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Woohoo!

New study: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/10/17/nswear117.xml

Swearing is good in the workplace, apparently. It lowers stress, boosts employee morale and increases solidarity among staff.

This is the greatest news of all. Of course, managers must decide whether or not it is appropriate to swear in certain situations. In front of the public or senior management would not be a good idea, for instance.

As a manager, however, I swear quite a bit. This study will enable me to get away with more now. I have printed off the article and stuck it on my wall.

From tomorrow on, the world is my oyster. I am already looking forward to enacting the following scenarios:

1.
Before: I'm sorry, it's not possible for you to have the afternoon off. We need to have this report done by the end of the week.
After: Piss off, you fucking slacker. Get back to your desk before I kick you up the arse.

2.
Before: Did anyone see that form I had a few minutes ago?
After: Where the fuck is my fucking form? You fuckers.

3.
Before: (To HEO) Sorry, boss, I just can't get around to that today.
After: Go and shite. You just want me to do your work so you can keep a eye on that auction on E-bay. Fuck off.

4.
Before: I'm not sure I agree with the Minister's policies.
After: The Minister is a fucking c**t.

5.
Did you just swear at me????

Endless possibilites.

Thump!

That's what I'm going to do to the next person who tells me to "make an executive decision", while giggling hysterically at their cheesy joke.

It's not that fecking funny.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Knob of the week...

Oh, God, as if civil servants needed more bad publicity... this week it emerged that a civil servant in the Department of Social and Family Affairs supplied his criminal brother with confidential data so that he could extort money etc. This gobshite deserves to be prosecuted along with his brother.

Not only that, but it has also emerged, as a consequence, that it is "common practice" among civil servants to check the financial status of people they know.

This gives an image of civil servants as being the electronic equivalents of "curtain twitchers". In last night's Questions and Answers, the phrase "Valley of the Squinting Windows" came up. Would you give your local nosey old biddy behind her nets your confidential financial information? I think not.

I have access to sensitive information. I have seen stuff in files that would make great tabloid headlines. I'm not putting my job at risk by breaching the Official Secrets Act, though. I have to pay for my house somehow. So there will be no leaks here, apart from random rantings about people pooing at work (haven't even had one of those rants in ages) and general office bullshit. That's plenty to be going on with.

People distrust the government enough already as it is. If the remaining trust in the civil service goes, who will fill out the forms? Are we to fill them out ourselves using silly names in order to have something to do? Or will we just go to the canteen and have another nice cup of tea, leaving the forms to gather dust, unloved, in a corner of the office? Or can we stay in bed and call it "teleworking"?

Actually, I quite like the last one. It might save me from being lynched on my way to work.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

My Evil Plans

I don't do mornings. In fact, I absolutely detest the fuckers. Particularly at this time of the year when it's dark and shitty outside. However, I have no option other than to get up early in the mornings because of (a) fairly long commute to work and (b) bloody traffic. Of course, (a) is added to even more if I get stuck in (b). On the rare occasions when I don't leave the house at an ungodly hour, I know I have to face into at least one one-kilometre stretch of road which it will take me twenty minutes or so to traverse. This causes me even more stress and strain than even getting up at 6.30 in the morning does. I find myself cursing everything - including my inability to buy a property closer to work, and I sometimes get this horrible image of myself turning into the Michael Douglas character in that film from a few years back, the one he goes mental in with a baseball bat. "Falling Down", it's bloody excellent. And it's how I feel.

To avoid actually acting on these feelings, and getting into trouble, I decided to find some way of amusing myself on the way to work in the mornings. My new entertainment is excellent fun and simple to do. I call it "Pissing off Jeeps". It's basically a tactical driving game in which I give as little lee-way to jeep drivers on the road as possible, by not letting them join the flow of traffic when entering from a minor road, or to change lanes on a dual carriage way. I score bonus points if they get pissed off and show it, either by honking at me or giving me the fingers (which is a gesture I return, by the way). I lose points if there is evidence that the jeep has been in a field or on a country road (i.e. used properly), so I try to ensure that the ones that I piss off are shiny and driven by either a woman or a man wearing a suit. It's ace.

One of them knows where I work now though...

Still though, mornings are a lot more fun.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Cliche

A few days ago I was heading off on one of my many tea breaks, and as I was making my way to the canteen a sight greeted me that left me shocked and stunned for the day.

It was an employee of the Department (unsure what unit/ section or grade), waiting by the clock staring intently at it. In his hand he held his swipe card, poised, ready to swipe. When the clock went from 15.59 to 16.00, he swiped, and in a split second, he was gone.

For god's sake, man, if you are going to do some clock watching, at least do it in a less obvious manner.

You're giving the rest of us a bad name.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Overtime

There was a big write up in the papers last week about civil servants getting vast amounts of overtime pay. Apparently there was something in the region of fifty million in overtime paid out to these civil servants. Some of them earned even more than the public sector average earnings in overtime alone! (Public sector average earnings are available here, and are in no way an accurate representation of my salary, but then again I blame the fat cat Sec Gens and senior managers for skewing the figures.)

I want to set the record straight. Not once, in all my (admittedly short) career as a civil servant, have I earned overtime pay. Working in the private sector, earning not much above minimum wage, I embraced every "time and a half" hour I could get. Overtime just isn't available in my area, and I feel cheated.

I think these rich colleagues of mine should share the wealth. Guys, if you're reading this and have some to spare once your fridges are replete with champagne and caviar, my address is in the top right-hand corner of the page. Please give generously. The bank owns me.

----------------
Now playing: journey - Don't Stop Believin'
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Management training

I am on a management course this week. So my brain is overloaded at the moment with lots of stuff about Maslow and organisational psychology. Yecch.

Just a taster of what I am suffering right now..

THIS IS MANDATORY TRAINING FOR ALL MANAGEMNENT GRADES AND WILL INCLUDE A TALK by HR ON PERSONAL PROBLEMS OF INDIVIDUAL STAFF WHICH YOU CAN USE TO BLACKMAIL THEM BY TELLING THEM YOU WILL TELL EVERYONE IN THE OFFICE THAT (eg) THEY WET THE BED.

Role of the Line Manager Supervisor (HITLER AS A CASE STUDY)

Module on Leadership (HITLER MODULE 2)

Management Theory (HOW TO TELL PEOPLE TO JUST F***ING DO IT! WHY THE WORLD NEEDS MORE MANAGERS.)

Assertiveness Training (DO IT OR I WILL F***ING KILL YOU!)

Delegation (YOU DO IT FOR ME OR I WILL KILL YOU. I WILL TAKE ALL THE CREDIT. I'M OFF TO THE PUB)

Time Management (YOU'VE GOT 5 MINUTES TO DO THIS OR I WILL KILL YOU.)

Coaching (YOU HAD BETTER DO IT RIGHT OR I WILL KILL YOU).

Motivation Techniques (DO YOU SEE THIS KNIFE? I WILL USE IT ON YOU IF YOU DON'T WORK HARDER)

Staff Management - Monitoring Performance & Disciplinary Issues (I'M F***ING WATCHING YOU!)

Yikes.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Promotion time

No, not for me, worse luck. I could do with a promotion, or maybe just the extra money. I have a giant fucking mortgage. I have to wait until March 1st before I get my next pay rise under benchmarking.

I had to assess one of the COs for promotion to EO today. It involved filling out a stupid form with a list of EO competencies on it (eg managing and developing people) and assessing the CO using them - most of which haven't been displayed. That's not the CO's fault; it's just the nature of their job. When your job is primarily processing a load of boring bloody forms, filing, scratching your arse etc., how the hell can you get a chance to display supervisory competencies?

It's no wonder some clerical staff resent people like me who waltz into the civil service from university or the private sector and are immediately put in charge of people who have been in the job for years. I know I would.

I could have said "excellent" on the form for each of the competency categories, and wrote a load of twaddle about how great this person was at everything, but the form has to be signed off after me by the HEO, who I knew wouldn't accept it like that. Anyway, I wrote that they were fit for promotion nonetheless. Who am I, as a fairly ineffectual EO, to stand in someone else's way of promotion. I don't think I'd measure up to a lot of those competencies myself.

And anyway, the fucker annoys the shite out of me. I might get rid of them this way.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I fancy a new job

So Brian Lenihan is setting up an internet safety office. It's to be part of the Department of Justice. Sounds like legislation for this office would be hard to enforce. And open to ridicule like the Censorship of Publications Act (that Brian's kinsman, namesake and predecessor in Justice amended some 40 years ago) was.

I'd love to see how it would work.

Can I be one of your EOs, Brian? I'm very good at looking up inappropriate content on the internet. I can even work with multiple Firefox tabs. And I will make sure all the COs I supervise look at a minimum of ten pictures of naked hairy arses a day.

Imagine not getting told off for looking up porn and Youtube on the internet at work!

Fucking heaven.

But leave my blog alone, you bastards. It's not my fucking fault my hands have Tourette's and make me type swearwords. Piss shit fucksticks. Shitbags arsewipe sheepfucker.

Bollocks.

Soylent Grey

I sometimes think that the civil service is fattening us up for slaughter. The canteen is full of lovely things (Yes! An office canteen that doesn't serve watery slop with a side order of listeria!), all of which contribute to that lovely fluffy stuff in our arteries and our big bouncy bottoms. The fried breakfast, for example, or the things that comprise pastry and chocolate or cheese. Not chocolate and cheese, though, that would just be wrong (but maybe just right for a person who has just smoked a particular herb).

Civil service office blocks are like great big farms with nice fat edible employees roaming freely around the corridors and going to the toilet whereever they please.

But they are not slaughtered on site. No, that would be too crude. In fact, they are not slaughtered. The cardiovascular system does all the work so others don't have to.

They are let retire first. An unreliable statistic suggests that the average age of death of retired civil servants is 67. So it takes an average of 40 years for a return on the investment of fattening up these employees.

I dunno. If I was investing money I'd go with the post office if I wanted to take that sort of risk.

And anyway, who the hell would eat them? It would be like eating the rind off some hairy bacon. With a nice juicy lard topping. And some forms on the side.

Mmmmm. Forms.

I think too much.

I'm going to eat some lentils now.

(Today was a bad day.)

----------------
Now playing: Frank Black - I Burn Today

via FoxyTunes

Meetings...

Aah meetings. Or group time-wasting activities as I call them. Today I had a group time-wasting activity with my bosses.

It was a meeting about a meeting.

No fucking joke.

I am now to hold monthly meetings with my staff to address issues that arise, progress updates, etc. Fucking great, eh? Especially when you consider I sit only six feet away from some of them. I know exactly which window the draughts are coming in from, how many forms were processed today, who's fighting with whom. In short, I am an omniscient overlord (BWAHAHAHAHAHAAAA! Kneel before me, minions!). Taking people into a meeting room and talking crap at them for half an hour is just going to slow things down.

Except I can't hold one for at least another month, as there will be at least one person on leave every single day until the third week in October.

The place might as well burn.


----------------
Now playing: Interpol - Evil
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sickie

Dear Boss,

Please excuse my absence from work today.

During the course of the weekend there was an unfortunate incident involving a spiral staircase, a bottle of Buckfast and my arse.

As a consequence of drinking the Buckfast and then attempting the descent of aforementioned staircase, I received a rather nasty bruise to my posterior.

I am now unable to sit down, and as such, cannot come to work today. My arse is so sore, that I can't perform my duties to the optimum level; i.e. sitting on it all day .

Yours etc,
Govstooge

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A great idea for a TV series...

I had one of those today.

A TV series filled with people running around like loonies, with shit and puke flying in all directions, top heavy management bound in strictures of bureaucracy, completely random acts of violence, all set in a large, ugly building filled with outdated equipment.

I will call it EO.

Now I will sit back and wait for the TV production companies to ring me.

I realise I may be waiting some time. So I might do some work instead.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Executive Relief

My job title is crap. Executive Officer - for fuck's sake it sounds ten times better than it actually is. The uninitiated confuse it with CEO... for instance Michael O'Leary is the Chief Executive Officer in Ryanair. There is a big difference between his €1 million a year and my paltry salary which equates to about a thirtieth of what he earns.

I have fuck all "Executive" powers. Most of the time it's the HEO and the AP working through me.

Today I would have loved to "Execute" someone. One of the COs spoke openly in the section about a private conversation I'd had with them about a minor issue (at the behest of the HEO and AP, I hasten to add - I didn't even notice, and if I had, I wouldn't have cared).

That's the problem. The CO sees me as someone hung up on minor details, maybe even as someone with a grudge against them. But I am merely following orders, in the finest Nazi tradition. I couldn't give a flying fuck if the CO picks their nose at work. I would only notice it if they flicked the snot at me. I'm so caught up in my own work that I barely have time to notice these little things, unlike my superiors, whose work I am invariably doing.

I will probably have to have another private conversation about this soon. Just to reaffirm my role as the manager, marking my territory and all that rubbish. That's all I can do, which means waiting for a meeting room or a private office to become free.

That's if I don't go mental first, breaking out the fire axes and running maniacally through the corridors swiping at everything and "executing" everybody who dares to get in my way, screaming swear words and foaming at the mouth. Or I could strangle them with their lanyards, which would make a lot less mess.

Powerful Alfresco Dining

I was at Electric Picnic last weekend. It was fucking excellent. Between the line up and the general friendly atmosphere, it was the best fun I'd had in a while.

And yes, as a desk bound fat arsed (nearly!) government employee, I include the camping in that.

And the toilets. Famous as I am for complaining about poos in toilets, you expect to see a bit of gross stuff as night falls at a festival, however for the most part they were clean. And I have to admit I did contribute to some of the nastiness and stinks in the loos. I couldn't help it, it was all that Amstel and festival food. I hadn't eaten that much fried stuff in ages.

The line up was excellent; I managed to get an earful of The Chemical Bros, Warlords of Pez, Sonic Youth, Beastie Boys, Bjork, Hot Chip, Soul II Soul (nostalgia!) Jesus and Mary Chain (super!) and a truly wonderful Dublin band called Channel One.

Only complaint? That it was impossible to see everything I wanted to see. There was so much going on, we had to make some sacrifices.

Hats off to the organisers. And not a single form in sight.

On a sad note, my sympathies go out to the family and friends of John Fitzpatrick of Cork who died suddenly on Saturday night.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My eyes are burning!

The front page of today's Irish Examiner scared me. I am still shaking.

Maybe I am not so old after all.

Ladies of a certain vintage would go all weak at the knees at the sight of it. I, however, screamed in the canteen when I was presented with it by a cruel co-worker, arousing the attention of several Department staff, among them senior managers.

What was this thing?

A topless Wee Daniel. Och, bless him.

Even now, the sound of ripping paper and snipping scissors carries on the breeze from the nursing homes to my window.

(SHUDDER)

Edit - I would post a link, but once was enough! Go find it yourselves!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Further thoughts on ageing

I was born a few days after the demise of Elvis. His passing overshadowed the rejoicing that should have accompanied my glorious birth.

Could I be the reincarnation of the King? - I once mused. No, for he had more talent in the clippings from his big toenail than I have in my entire body. I can not sing, gyrate my pelvis, play a musical instrument, or perform any kind of dance. In short, my work does not enrich anyone's life.

However, given my current occupation, it is likely that I, too, will meet my end being overweight and sitting on a toilet.

Grey Anatomy (Special Edition)

I turned 30 today. And I found a grey hair.

I'm getting old.

Which means I can bitch and moan even more than usual.

So I went to work today, took an extra long tea break, sat in the sun at lunchtime, then did another little bit of work in the afternoon before going to tea yet again.

Didn't advertise the fact at work. Too fucking embarrassing. Nothing worse than co-workers coming up to you with cheesy greetings. Or buying cakes. Any excuse to buy cakes. Civil servants love cakes. Big feckin' chocolate cakes. With double cream.

And then going home some cunt in a jeep turning right at a "Yield" sign cuts right across me (when I had right of way), at which point I live up to my blog title by honking my horn and extending my middle finger and swearing a lot. Cunt. Jeeps should be banned. In fact, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to get all the jeeps (except the ones that actually go in fields, like farmers' or builders' ones) in the world, put them on an island somewhere, then nuke the fuck out of them all. Then become ruler of the world and make everyone drive non-intimidating cars that don't belch out so much carbon monoxide (It being Ireland, public transport isn't really a viable option for most of us). Al Gore would be proud of me.

Hope I make the grade as an old person.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Grey Anatomy Part 1

The civil servant, or functionarius indolentus, has many distinguishing anatomical features, all brought about by a swift evolutionary process which has its origins in the civil servant's environment, namely, the Department. In fact, it could be said that this evolutionary process is the quickest and most efficient system in place in a given Department at any given time.

Many of the anatomical changes begin from day one of a civil servant's career. It is actually possible to arrive at a reasonably accurate estimate of the time at which the process begins. 11 a.m. This is the beginning of the legendary Departmental "Tea Break". In no other organisation will you find this. Private sector employees daily scald their tongues on their coffee before running back to their posts. Civil servants, on the other hand, allow their coffee to become pleasantly warm each morning as they stuff their faces with butter-laden croissants, greasy sausages and great big lumps of foie gras. And when the last mouthful of substandard coffee has vanished down the oesophageal tract, they remain in position, ruminating, almost, as their buttocks make a near-permanent, sweaty impression on the seat. Indeed, retiring officers have often been presented with a handsome bas-relief of their favourite canteen chair, with a perfect rendition of their arse thereon.

The cumulative effect of many years of Departmental "Tea Breaks" bring about two major anatomical changes:

1. The very large bottom. This appendage eventually becomes disproportionate to the rest of the officer's anatomy. It can be quite alarmingly so. Even on the males. Arses on some male officers have been recorded as being so great in circumference, that they could block out the sun if the officer stood in a particular spot. The Gluteal Eclipse is a phenomenon of mythical proportions, and no Government department has ever admitted to keeping a record of one. They are probably far too embarrassed.

2. Colonic changes. Widely documented in this blog, a combination of unhealthy diet and sedentary occupation bring about this aspect of the government employee's anatomy. Post 12 p.m. on a daily basis the Departmental lavatories are a no-go area, as those who didn't go at home when they got up like normal people evacuate their lower intestines.

In Part 2. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and its sister condition, Inky Fingers.




Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What the hell is this?

Those were my very words (barked, Father Jack-like at no-one in particular) as I wiped the goo from my eyes this morning and looked out the window before making the daily crawl to the Department.

Sun?
Sun...
SUN!

Fuck this, I said, and decided to call in the old flexi time. I've none left now, and have to go in tomorrow. Knowing my luck, it'll be even nicer tomorrow, and utterly shit at the weekend.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Shut the fucking windows!

What the fuck is it with the weather these days? Sun beating down one minute, sub-Arctic conditions with a nice Polar wind thrown in for good measure the next. Some fucking August.

As a consequence, civil servants in the Department are getting loads of much-needed exercise jumping up and down to open and close the windows in their sections as the weather dictates. Recently the wind has been blowing relentlessly through the aisles upsetting the forms all over the floor and causing a lot of people to bend down more often than they are used to. There should be danger money for this additional strain on our flimsy functionary functions. And there is real danger of someone's fat arse emitting a loud fart as they crouch down to pick things up. It hasn't happened in my presence, but it's not a pleasant thought (My feelings in relation to bodily functions in the workplace here). It can set off a chain of events that can be damaging for people's careers.

Imagine, if you will, a mini tornado blowing around the section I work in, and a form has just fluttered to the floor.
Me: Oy, you, pick that up at once!
CO: Yes boss.
(CO bends over to pick up the form.)
CO's Arse: Brrrrrap!
CO: Oops!
Me: You dirty bastard. I'm writing you up for that.

And this problem isn't necessarily contained within a given section. Neighbouring sections, separated from ours only by thin partitions, who insist on flinging their windows open with wild abandon whatever the weather, could have a lot to answer for.

So think before you open a window in these unsettled times.

Think, god damn it!

The ultimate insult...

Overheard:

"You are SUCH a civil servant..."

Ouch.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

We are still here, you know.

That is what Senior Management said to me the other day. Not in so many words. Nor, indeed, directly to my face. Nope. A directive came down to me, through the ranks. At precisely the time when I was thinking, "Gosh, I wonder what all the senior management folk are up to today, in their big offices. Filming their bottoms, maybe, with the videoconferencing gear."

Suddenly a piece of paper that I'd worked on six months ago and forgotten about, thinking it all to be signed off, landed on my desk, courtesy of my immediate supervisor. "They want this bit changed, and can you insert these two words here?" said el jefe.

They were tiny changes, which took me five minutes and which made absolutely no semantic difference to the text.

Sometimes I think senior management get a map of the building with everyone's desk on it, stick a needle in it and say:
"Who shall we piss off today? Oh look, it's an EO. Let's give them some meaningless task to do, just to keep them thinking that we are working up here, and that we know what they are up to."

Cue image of senior managers sitting around a big table sniggering, the blood from the recently sacrificed chicken still coagulating on its surface.

Yes, guys, I know you're still there. Thank you for caring.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Institutionalised

I had a glimpse of the future today. I saw myself as a fat, waddling, decrepit civil servant, chained to a desk worrying about benchmarking and forms.

I should get out, I know, but I can't find the door.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Bring back the dress code... now... PLEASE????

Our workplace has a more or less non existent dress code, particularly for those of us not in very senior management or who don't face the public very often. We can come in wearing tracksuit bottoms or jeans or tee shirts with swearing on them. I myself am a scruffy bastard, and like to wear all of the above. I also like to change my clothes when I come home from work (damn the years of school uniforms!), and if I wore these, what the hell would I change into when I get home? So I tidy up a bit for work by wearing trousers that don't have rivets or draw strings, and tops and ladies' shirts with collars.

Having a relaxed dress code is a great thing, but it could be tightened up, just a little:

Three reasons why I say this, based on random observations of people in the corridors:

1. Middle aged women who don't wear bras. Bras should be forced on them by law. There should be a Bra patrol. The security guys could have a reserve of bras under their desk for women who forget to wear one. Actually, they probably do already, the dirty feckers.

2. Girls who wear those tops and jeans that show off the tattoo above their arses that are supposed to be unique but in reality everyone down the local meat market night club has one. A really apt one for that particular part of the lower back for people who work in our office, would be an arrow pointing downwards bearing the legend: "Poo comes out here".

3. Flip flops. They should be banned from the office. There is nothing that distracts and disturbs me more at work than two COs walking up the aisle discussing Saturday night when wearing flip flops:
"And he was GORGEOUS!" **WHACK, WHACK**
"Really?" **WHACK, WHACK**
"Yeah, so I got off with him..."**WHACK, WHACK**

Fucking flip flops. It's not even a proper fucking summer for fuck's sake. And then they wonder why their feet keep getting wet.

As for the blokes, they are less offensive. The ones with dandruff or who smell like cheese could do better, and the ones with nicely sculpted pecs and arses could wear things that give the ladies a better eyeful.


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Anal prob-ation

I had yet another probationary review recently. Apparently I joined the civil service too soon - if I had started around a year ago, my probation would only last a year. For me, it's two years, ending in a few months. So I have to keep my nose clean until then. I just wipe it on forms anyway.

Apparently I'm doing fine, even if certain work practices that I adopt don't really meet with the approval of my boss - but they are effective. The ends justify the means anyway, so fuck off boss.

I dread the day when I have to fill one of these new forms out for one of my staff (at the moment, they're all out of probation, but this may change), it's like a mini PMDS form where the supervisor not only has to give an overall rating on the scale of 1-5 (like the annual review stage), but also on each individual competency. It's several pages long, and has to be signed off on by the jobholder before being submitted to Personnel for filing. In a dusty file that'll only be opened again when the jobholder retires, commits suicide, gets welded to a toilet seat or explodes.

Is it any wonder the civil service is such a slow moving monolith of an organisation, when all this internal stuff gives so many people so much to do. I sometimes wonder if there isn't a toilet paper requisition for when you want to do a poo at work (which, if you have read my previous postings, is a popular activity in my workplace).

I reckon there is an entire division of civil servants in the Department of Civil Service (wherever they are) who spend the day dreaming up new forms to keep themselves and thousands of others in jobs. Form Creation Division, it'll be called. It'll have round-the-clock tea breaks and incubation units for newborn forms. There'll be a Research and Development Unit, where forms will be stress tested, strapped to crash test dummies, set alight, shoved up a HEO's arse and thrown off a tall building. The only assessment that won't be done will be an Environmental Impact study on the number of forms to be binned because they have the wrong contact number or a tiny typo in the small print. This would prove the civil service to be one of the biggest producers of waste in the country.

And I'm not talking about the smell in the toilets.


Saturday, August 4, 2007

Upward Feedback

Dear Boss,

When I am on the phone, please do not stand directly behind me eavesdropping on the conversation, and, when I hang up, stand there criticising my phone technique.

Unlike you, I don't suffer from paranoia, thinking that every single external phone call is a threat to the integrity of the Department. Nor do I have your ability to turn a simple statement into a sewer full of verbal diarrhoea (which is a wonderful strategy for deterring people from ringing government departments, by the way).

What I mean to say is...

FUCK OFF
FUCK OFF
FUCK OFF!


You bollocks.


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

A Typical Civil Service Day Part Two

So, following on from the previous posting in this series, I enter my section and await the replacement HEO squad, which takes five minutes, possibly the quickest thing ever to take place in the civil service. The replacement HEO looks identical to the one whose head exploded earlier and leads me to think that all middle to senior managers have clones waiting in the basement.

The HEO leaves me alone for a bit, which allows me to boot up my computer, which whines like every one of the fifteen or so sets of double doors I have had to walk through already this morning. I can check my email, have a quick game of Arse Race and scratch my head while I wonder what to do this morning.

Oh yeah, see what the COs are up to. Or else the HEO will ask for a progress update and I will look like a tit if I don't know. I approach the nearest one, known to all the section for being a bit weird. I intend to have a bit of banter about last night's soccer match, but it dies on my lips as the CO's head rotates slowly away from his monitor and towards me, for what seems like an eternity. When he is facing me full on, his cervical vertebrae do not stop there. Oh, no. His head just keeps on rotating. Until it reaches a full 360 degree revolution. I stand there, speechless. When his neck has gone full circle, it suddenly starts to spin faster, and his eyes light up red. "YOUR MOTHER FILLS FORMS IN HELL", he screams at me. I begin to retreat to the safety of my desk, but I am too late to avoid the green pea soup type substance that erupts from his mouth and spatters all over my top.

After I go and clean myself up, making a mental note never to wear dry clean only tops to work, I return to the section, throw a sick form at the CO with a post-it stuck to it saying "Damien, do you need to go home for the rest of the day?", and duck for cover. No more pea soup is forthcoming.

By now, it is time for tea, and as I exit the section, the HEO pounces with some work he couldn't be bothered to do. I say I need my caffeine fix first and I do, I really fucking do. He can see the caffeine withdrawal in my expression, and backs away, for fear that I, too, might puke green vomit on his shirt. I have to sit alone in the canteen due to the funny smell off my clothes. Fuck. I still take 50 minutes though. And a quick trip to the toilet, to make it up to an hour. Or so I think. The toilets fucking ming of raw anus. That, combined with the malodorous top I am now wearing, make me throw up my entire breakfast all over the toilet, the seat, the wall, the door, the ceiling, basically any surface I could reach with my anti peristaltic trajectory.

"Serves the workplace shitters fucking right", I think, and run out before anyone can see who was responsible.

Back in the section, I glance nervously at the clock. Lunch is in half an hour. I still haven't done any fucking work. Damien is scowling in a corner doing some filing and doesn't acknowledge my note, and I really don't care at this point.

I spend the next 20 minutes getting updates off the remaining clerical officers. Then I go back downstairs where I look at the clock, waiting for the beginning of the lunch period, ready to swipe out and go home for a change of top. This I do, and I drive merrily out of the main gate. "See you in two hours, suckers", I say to no-one in particular.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Chain of Command in an Open-Plan Environment

I've moaned about the open-plan office environment before. But today I want to moan about something completely different, within the context of the open-plan office.

The Chain of Command (or COC, as I call it) is the means by which the Civil Service communicates. All information is transmitted downwards from the head cheeses, through the various strata of the hierarchy, until it reaches the people who are actually affected by the information. Information is very rarely transmitted upwards. If it is, it doesn't get very far. The COC is incredibly formal and rigid.

The open-plan office messes up the COC a bit. In the Department, we minions of the open-plan areas are all allocated the same amount of space, be we management or clerical staff. We are all equal. There is no hierarchy determining who gets to sit near the windows. There is fuck all privacy.

So when my boss comes to me with a work plan and discusses it with me, with various information to be transmitted downwards to the clerical staff, all I have to do afterwards is wander over to their desks and say, "You heard all that?", and they invariably have. So my job is more or less done for me.

Hey, maybe it's not so bad after all!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Govstooge's Handy Guide to the Structure of the Irish Civil Service

Suggested by a non-civil servant friend, here is number two in my series of handy guides. And like the euphemistic Number Two, it is a pile of shit.

Enjoy.

(Touch it to watch it grow large.)

Supervising the Union Man

I have a Union Man on my staff. Before I go any further I want to explain... I am in a union myself, but I'm only in it for the group schemes and the bland bi-monthly magazine with pictures of vacuous executive grade civil servants on the front. I am not motivated by any left-wing ideology (I am a lefty, but far too lazy to be an activist). The Union Man is different. He attends meetings/ conferences and distributes ballot papers. He also adopts aspects of the "Union Man" stance towards management - i.e. never gives us a straight answer on anything.

The guy should be a politician. He is wasted as a civil servant. For instance, when I ask him a question, he manages to - albeit politely - not answer it at all. I can almost hear the tiny cogs in his brain whirring and clunking as he tries to remember the official union "line" on the exact matter I am asking him about, no matter how mundane and trivial - and we get a lot of mundane and trivial in the Civil Service, mark my words. I could ask something completely boring like, "How is that new filing system working out for you? Is it easier to find things now?" and get the response, "Eeeeeeh, weeeell, ummmm, sometimes it is, and, ahmmmmmmm, sometimes it isn't." On these occasions, I have to turn around very quickly to hide the broad grin that begins to spread across my face like the acne on his.

Specifics are not his forte and, once I get my face straight, I don't approach him for further details as I believe he is just trying to be awkward and piss me off. If he knew that I was actually crossing my legs to avoid pissing myself laughing, I might earn a representation on his behalf from a very irate shop steward.

A minor annoyance, which I can exploit anonymously for the purpose of comedy. The faint smell of cheese and the fact that there should be a "BIOHAZARD" sign on his desk are also funny, but I have other plans for this material.

Sometimes I think it's a shame that my boss and I belong to the same union.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Feck it!

Back at work today, looking forward to a nice easy time for the rest of the summer.

No such fecking luck.

After yet another meeting with my superiors, I've got a long list of lovely fun things to do.

Dammit, I had the travel Scrabble all ready to go tomorrow.

It's just not fair.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Virtual Work

I'm not at work today. I'm recovering from the five weeks' work I had to do. Oh lordy, it was hard going.

So I'm just sitting up in bed with my laptop looking up property porn.

This should ease me back into the normal scheme of things when I return to work later this week.

I'm going to get up soon for a virtual tea break and sit at the table in the kitchen drinking coffee and shouting random shite at the wall, in the absence of co-workers.

As a consequence I don't have anything silly to say.

Oh, wait.

Wibble.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Performance rating in the Civil Service and why it's a big pile of shite

I hate the whole process of performance rating.

I don't disagree with it on principle, I think it's a good thing in theory, especially when you have the right to tell your manager about any problems you have with them, and they have to listen (a process called upward feedback), but the practice is very different.

Why I hate it:
Reviews etc tend to have impossible deadlines set by senior management, usually around peak work times in my area. And I supervise quite a few clerical staff, and must meet individually with all of them, amidst doing our other work.

A quiet, private space to discuss things is a must. Not having your own office is a serious disadvantage, and the number of meeting rooms is rapidly declining to make more large offices for senior management. Grrr. So if someone else has booked the meeting rooms that are left, you have to wander the corridors like a besuited hobo for a vacant AP's office to use.

Managers don't always listen to the upward feedback you give them. Mine didn't listen to the complaint I made about "pestering me with stuff that isn't even relevant to my area, particularly when I'm busy, makes me want to scream." I listened to my staff's upward feedback. It wasn't a critique of me, they were expressing their dissatisfaction with the HEO and the AP's management styles through me - the "proper" chain of command. I'm not sure what I can do about it, but I wrote the comments down and filed them for future reference. And I will use them. I'm still idealistic enough to think that I can help to change how things are done in my area.

Alternatively, I could just sit back and do nothing. I would still get paid. But I would lose the respect and adulation my clerical officers hold me in. They would stop buying me coffees laced with alcohol and giving me shoulder massages while I labour over complicated documents. Also to go would be the CO standing behind me with a giant fan on hot days. And the one keeping the toilet seat in my favourite stall warm on cold winter mornings.

It's a hard life.

Govstooge's Handy Guide to Performance Rating in the Irish Civil Service

You may have come across the term "PMDS" in previous posts, and wondered, what does it all mean?

Well, wonder no more, for here it is, at last.

PMDS (Performance Management and Development System) is a mechanism by which all civil servants receive performance appraisals. It was introduced long before I became a civil servant, and only recently has it been linked to our pay awards.

It is an annual cycle, comprising three stages, all of which involve filling out forms and discussing them with your supervisor. It gives your supervisor something to do, apart from looking up porn or the latest deals on lastminute.com.

The stages are:
1. Role Profile Form - fancy name for job description for the year ahead. Gives a list of measurable objectives and critical success factors (ie, stuff to fall back on if you need to cover your arse). Training needs also identified (my request for piano lessons was, sadly, turned down last January).
2. Interim Review - Usually around June, just to discuss progress so far.
3. Annual Performance and Development Review (APDR) - This is the big one, usually around Christmas. Your supervisor will assign you a rating on a scale of one to five based on your performance in the past year. If you disagree with this, you can refer it up to the reviewer, usually your supervisor's supervisor.

Here is my cut out and keep guide to the ratings system (click to enlarge, if you really want to):

Oh go on. Click it, it likes to be touched.




And if you're wondering, I got a "3" in my last APDR. WooHoo!