Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wouldn't do in the civil service.

I write a lot about the strange people I work with, and, reading other blogs and the "Question of the Week" on b3ta.com, you would be forgiven for thinking that the civil service have the monopoly on strange employees.

This bloke who murdered a colleague for being too long on his tea break takes the biscuit. Or doesn't, depending on how you interpret it.

Give him a job in our Department, and there'd be arms and legs and blood flying everywhere. (That would send the knife related crime statistics through the roof.)

Or else he'd just explode.

My EO stinks of garlic!

I was wondering why people were keeping their distance from me today. I thought it might be the worsening scowl on my face as the work load and associated problems increased. Whenever I left the office to go to the toilet (piss only!)/ photocopier/ coffee machine, I returned to find several leave application forms waiting on my desk. Returning the signed forms to their respective owners was done in a similar way, as the COs had fled from their desks before I reached them.

My boss provided the answer. Helpful as always, he pointed out that last night's fiery curry was making its way out through my pores and, thusly, making its presence felt. Particularly the fact that I had made the curry with three times the requisite amount of garlic. I minged like a vampire's worst nightmare. It could have been worse. I could have been farting uncontrollably (oddly, given my diet, this isn't a problem for me).

So now I have another technique for repelling unwanted clerical staff, who must all have some vampire in them. I can not, however, repel my boss. Garlic to him is like beer to me. I have to do some further research into this.

Maybe I should take some tips from the slightly weird guy in the office though. Nobody ever goes near him, and I think it's because he smells of asparagus. Or maybe he did his first wee of the day (which smells like that) in his trousers.

Err... maybe not.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Can anyone tell me...

Why is Christmas lasting FOUR FUCKING MONTHS - and counting - these days? On my travels in recent days I noticed several houses and business premises still had lights and Santas and other stuff still stuck to them. OK, they weren't lighting, but are people so fucking lazy nowadays that they leave everything up year round so they just have to plug them in when the festive season begins again in August? The probability of deaths by electrocution from appliances battered by the summer deluges is astronomical.

Then again, do I really care?

Mmm... crispy...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Crapitol City

I'm in Dublin today. Work related stuff. Oh GOD what a fucking smelly hole it is. I've managed to go for a long time without coming here. It makes me appreciate my current situation even more. My crap EO salary wouldn't go very far here, never mind being able to afford to buy property.

Plus, the amount of Ross O'Carroll-Kelly wannabes is alarming. Actually hearing that "roysh" accent in the flesh was quite scary. I'd laugh, except I'm scared they'll throw their mocha-latte-frappucinos or other such poncey coffees over me.

Not to mention, it's windy and stinks of piss here.

Ok, I'm off now to remortgage my house for some lunch. Then I'm getting the hell out of here.

PS - I agree with one thing, though. The stickers on various places around Kildare Street are right. There really is "Far too much Bertie".

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I arrived home this evening to find the road outside my house being excavated by big hairy men in hard hats (A pleasant enough sight in different circumstances.). Something to do with the mains water supply, apparently.

Well, fuck it anyway. I am sitting here completely surrounded by no water. I fucking ming as a lot of my work today involved running around trying to resolve a load of issues and I worked up a bit of a sweat. Now I can't even wash the fucking stuff off.

So I have to wait until tomorrow to grab one at work, meaning I'll be wandering around the Department with a towel around my head and brushing my teeth. Maybe I'll tell everyone I'm now a Sikh.

Or, if I decide I can't wait that long, I'll turn up on a friend's doorstep in a bathrobe.

No fucking water. I can't even flush the jacks.

Jesus, I mean, there's enough of the fucking stuff falling from the sky these days.

Conversations I had today

Exchange no. 1:

Govstooge (Grumpily, swiping ID badge on time clock at 8.00 am) : "Mornin'"
Clerical Officer (Too cheerily for this Godawful hour): "Ooh, hello, how are you this morning?
Govstooge (walking in the direction of the canteen): "I'll let you know once I have my coffee"
Clerical Officer: "Ok, we can't have you falling asleep in the office."
Govstooge: "Do you think anyone will notice the difference?"

Exchange no. 2:
(Following on from a discussion about Scientology and Tom Cruise)
Clerical Officer (a different one): "Isn't George Bush in some sort of cult as well?"
Govstooge: "Yes, you could say 'cult', but I think the actual word is spelt slightly differently."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Uncle Arthur

I love drinking big dirty black pints of Guinness. I had a nice few of them last night. And I now know why I love it so much. Because the glass has a harp on it, it reminds me of my payslip envelope, which I am frittering away at that very instant on black beer. It's like I'm not spending anything at all.

The civil servant's liquid payslip.

(Stinks a bit on the way out, mind. Lucky I'm not at work.)

Thursday, January 17, 2008


A colleague keeps a brick on their desk. What a cunning plan.

Very useful for smashing things or throwing at people. And the hollow bit can hold paper clips. I think it's very nice, it "enlivens dull desk".

My desk is very boring. I haven't attempted to personalise my work space as I might be moving desks (again) very soon. I have a couple of posters I'm going to put up once I'm settled again. One says "Hard Work Never Killed Anybody Important" and the other says "How About A Nice Cup Of Shut The Fuck Up". And a crudely fashioned one "EO, I owe, so off to work I go".

Those, combined with an electrified barbed wire fence around my desk, an intravenous coffee drip and a Father Jack Swearing Screen Saver (yes such a thing exists - somewhere) would make my life complete and I might stay in my job for ever and ever.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Starting to have a bad day...

My car stereo is knackered. I can't plug my iPod thingy into the tape deck anymore (my car is double digits+ old. The iPod is probably worth more). So no more Ministry, Elvis Costello, Guns n Roses or Morrissey for me in the mornings to get me in the mood for work. (New World Order / Welcome to the Working Week, Welcome to the Jungle and of course, Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now were the tracks of choice. )

And I live in the middle of nowhere. The only radio signal I can get for most of my commute is some God-awful local station where they read the death notices and have ads for silage. Travelling to work is painful enough besides having to listen to that shite. It's the perfect way to begin a crap day.

So I have to make my own entertainment in the car.

I make up my own words to popular tunes and sing them at the top of my voice to drown out the clanking of my engine.

Current favourites are:
"Limerick, you're a slapper, your Shannon waters tears of blood they flow".
"I'm a civil servant and I'm OK" (a la Monty Python's Lumberjack song)
"Girlfriend with a Boner" - my tribute to the Smiths
"I'm Harney, Mary, Mary Harney" (ok this one stolen from Dustin the Turkey)
"I need a wee, I need a wee" sung to the tune of the Toreador's song from Bizet's Carmen, very handy when I'm caught short.

Jesus, I've just read back over this. What a fucking loony I am.

Alternative playlists invited!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

GovStooge's Disciplinary Record...

... nearly received a black mark today. Yes, really! This bastion of fine upstanding civil servant-ness almost got called in on the carpet! What did I do?

Did I...

  1. Set fire to a clerical officer?
  2. Set fire to a HEO?
  3. Throw my PC out the window?
  4. Eat all the croissants in the canteen, leaving none for anyone else?
  5. Kick someone up the arse?
  6. Consume alcohol on the premises while shouting loudly and then vomiting on a senior manager?
  7. Fill a load of forms up with random nonsense like "Fleeble" and "Skronk" and then make clerical officers process them?
  8. Steal Personnel records for blackmail purposes?
  9. Replace my picture on my ID badge with one of Angelina Jolie?
  10. Strangle someone with the retractable cord that connects my ID badge to my belt loop?
  11. None of the above?
The answer, is, of course, None of the Above (well, apart from 11).

As much as I'd like to do all of items 1 to 10 above, the reality of the situation is far less entertaining.

I received a call regarding some advertising I'd placed on the Department's intranet. What was I advertising? Oh, nothing like a job lot of drugs or dodgy vibrators or Uncle Eddie's Toxic Blindness Moonshine or anything like that. Just an item for sale on behalf of some friends. It's a pretty common thing on the Department's intranet. So I thought, when the corporate bloke on the other end mentioned the ad, that - yes! The ad has worked! No such fecking luck. "You'll have to take that down" the caller said. "It's a breach of IT policy. The web address on it might cause a drop in productivity if people go looking it up on the internet. Don't worry, it won't go on your disciplinary record or anything."

Disciplinary record? Moi? IT policy, fair enough, you can't argue with that. I only wish that it were being applied fairly across the board. There are several very similar ads, complete with web addresses up there since last week.

And since when has PRODUCTIVITY had anything to do with being a civil servant? PRODUCTIVITY? FUCK OFF!

This lad's mammy must be very proud of him. The Departmental HatchetMan.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Award! Award!

Jesus, the nerve of some people. I was told recently, rather aggressively, I thought, by a certain member of my clerical staff that they should have been nominated for a workplace award. I nearly spat up my coffee all over them in derision. FUCK RIGHT OFF, pal. I hate you. Any time I want work out of you, I have to stand over you to make sure it's done. I have to ask you for everything fifteen times. I am far too patient. And you want an award. How's about I award you with a firm kick up your hole.

If there's anything this person should be given an award for, it would be for the unfettered mediocrity they display in their working day. Consistent mediocrity, no less.

OK, maybe we could make one up for this person. The Golden Clerical Officer. It'll be like the civil service Oscars. On a big plywood stage in front of the Department. With cheesy tinfoil-covered outlines of clerical officers doing what they do every day, processing forms, typing letters, drinking tea etc.

This CO would win in all the categories listed below:
Most spiders in desk
Largest collection of vintage forms
Ponciest voice
Best ability to make co-workers vomit/ scowl/ run away

Yeah, I can see it becoming an annual event. Let's hope there isn't one for EOs.

I would win for:
Most coffee drunk during work hours
Biggest caffeine-induced tirade against nothing in particular
Loudest yawn/ sigh
Most swearwords in one sentence

And the prizes? Just some cheap shitty statues made out of recycled forms.

Now playing: The Polyphonic Spree - Light And Day
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I don't like Benchmarking anymore

Yeah, so it's on my profile that I like benchmarking. Not any more, for obvious reasons. The lack of a pay hike for us poor overworked servants of the public wouldn't smart so much were it not for the exorbitant increases granted to the politicians and top brass back in October... polarising the public service is going to have some ill-effects in the long run, just wait and see. On a happy note, this doesn't affect the National Wage Agreement, so we can still benefit under that. Along with some private sector firms, so they can shut the hell up.

Honestly, the amount of ill-informed public sector bashing that has appeared in Independent.ie (Comments on the benchmarking story) and discussion forums (such as askaboutmoney and boards.ie) is alarming (but entertaining also). Do people really hate us that much? Or is it just begrudgery of our "jobs for life", our flexible working hours, pensions and pay increases more or less guaranteed?

I admit, these things are all great. But there are downsides too, sharing an office with several unmotivated cynics riding it out till retirement at the top of their scale can wear you down and you'll find after a few years if you can't beat them, join them. PMDS is another pain that we'll never get shot of. I've only been doing this for about two years, and already I have a large collection of useless PMDS forms. Also the bureaucracy, how many layers of management does information have to pass through before it's distorted beyond its original meaning? And no matter how hard you work, the slacker/ moron at the next desk will get a pay rise the same as you?

It's not all cakes and tea breaks. No, that's only 95% of what we do.

To digress slightly, I have read the report of the benchmarking body and can pat myself on the back as one of the 472 EOs offered appointment out of over 11,000 applicants from the 2005 open EO competition, a 4.7% chance of getting a job(page 56). A nice statistic.

OK, well, I'm off to the pub now to drink my non existent pay rise.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Other Bureaucrats

I learnt a new piece of useless information today. Apparently, hares live in forms.

Further research on the definition of "form" in this context led to me discovering that a "form" is a depression (oh yeah) in the ground where the hare sleeps.

Hares must be nature's civil servants, then. Like hares, civil servants do lots of sleeping on forms.

And they can move fast enough when they want, especially when it's their tea break the dichotomous fuckers.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A new rule

I think we should have a new rule at work. NO EATING. Why?

Because I happen to have the desk that's closest to the section's resident filth monger, who I shall call "Untidy Guy". His desk is like a fucking bomb hit it. Old forms, dead Post-it notes, snot rags (at least, I hope it's snot - well, he doesn't have internet access), orange juice cartons, sweet wrappers, stale biscuits and - quite possibly - the last resting place of Shergar.

It reminds me of series 3 of that rather excellent comedy "Teachers" on Channel 4, where Bob has been living in his office and there are mouldy sandwiches in his files.

His work space should be encased in a plastic bubble with BIOHAZARD signs on it.

Eating is fine if people clean up their mess afterwards, which, in fairness, the rest of us do. It's also fine if you have decent table (desk?) manners and can chew your food without making sounds like a rabid dog chewing on a postman.

Must run this new rule past the HEO, but my preferred way of dealing with it would be to knock his teeth out with a crowbar and then weld his mouth shut.

Had a laugh though, recently. I watched the drama unfold as a piece of chocolate found its way onto his trousers, melted and then took an onward journey to his seat. There was much panicking, for, as we all know, melted chocolate looks like poo...

...which you might also find if you looked hard enough behind all the other stuff on his desk. Seriously.

Some day, in the dim future, when all the oil has run out and the civil service has been outsourced to Mogadishu, I reckon he will be sitting back and laughing, because he will have the market cornered on old Post-it notes (having seen a way to fuel cars with them) and will own a mansion where he will employ hundreds of out-of-work EOs to do his bidding.

Monday, January 7, 2008


I have a migraine tonight.

No, I didn't eat anything I am intolerant to (there are only two things I am intolerant to, Stella Artois and Quorn, and they have not passed my lips since my last two near-death experiences).

I was at work today, and I did fuck all except scowling moodily at my monitor and growling at some clerical officers while sucking on a big coffee mug and plotting ways of getting out of supervising too many people.

It hurrrrts...

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Think happy fucking thoughts...

OK, so I've been ranting on about how shitty work will be for the foreseeable future, but over the weekend I've been doing a lot of thinking, which, of course, has been precipitated by an alcoholic (Tuborg) haze.

I came out of the haze thinking that it's actually not that bad, compared with the other three proper jobs I have worked at in my lifetime:

For instance, when compared with Job no. 1 (sales order processing monkey in a family - not my family - owned business), at least my desk doesn't wobble, I am not sitting in a draught and I am not being bullied by a skanky piss-stinking illiterate. Yes, that's right, piss. Covered up with cheap and nasty perfume. Also I am not being talked down to by someone who got to be Financial Controller because their father was a director. This company was so fucking tight, that they wouldn't heat the offices and warehouse for a couple of hours on a Monday morning before everyone came to work. I spent many mornings hunched over my crappy 80s keyboard and a stack of order forms wearing a coat and two jumpers. I must have looked like Bob Cratchit with boobs. If the outline of my boobs could be seen under all those layers, that is. What a super introduction to the world of work.

Job no. 2 was tinged with serious crapness too. My boss was an utter c*nt. Someone who had been with the company for 20+ years, even the MD was scared of her. She was so awful, new girls would work there for a week, and then not show up the following Monday, or indeed, any other day. It was a great testimony to one's character (or idiocy, or complete apathy) to have worked there for longer than six months. I lasted three years. Well, the company itself was fine. The last eight months I spent there, I did not speak to her about anything other than work. Despite sharing an office with her. She just didn't like staff standing up to her when she was on a power trip (well, NOBODY shouts at ME!). At least my current boss is a very decent and normal person, even if mildly annoying at times.

No. 3 was my favourite job of all. I used to be able to sleep on the job. That's right, sleep. Sometimes in the employee break room, sometimes at my desk. I installed shitloads of games on the PC in the office, so I could amuse myself while looking busy. When there was work to do it was not taxing (Well, I wasn't working for Revenue). It was fucking brilliant. It was also my introduction to the civil service - as a clerical officer. The only disadvantages it had over my current role was the crap money and the fact that it was not, not ever, going to be a permanent arrangement. Once the "lifer" I was replacing came off sick leave, I was gone. But I got the EO before that happened.

So, to summarise, at least I have a permanent job, don't have a wagon for a boss, am not being bullied and the office doesn't have a Dickensian air about it.

Yeah, it's not so bad when put in perspective.

But I'll still have a moan about it. It's in my nature. If moaning was an Olympic sport, I would be a gold medallist. In the "audible at 100m", "audible at 500m" and "moaning while impaling someone on a javelin" categories.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

What to do with all these extra minions?

Having a think today about what the hell am I going to do with all these extra clerical staff I'm getting soon. I don't even know much about their work, even though they're all in the same section (yes! for this is the civil service!). I'll have to learn, and I bet it's fucking boring. I should make it fun while I'm learning, at least for myself.

I could:
  1. Take them all into a room, leave and lock the door, come back in 5 days and whichever one comes out alive gets to make my coffee. Extra PMDS grade if they have eaten one or more of the others. Less for me to supervise. Bwahahahahahaha!
  2. Send them on crazy errands around the place. Make them get me things like cups of dust from the canteen (easy enough), bottled poo smell from the toilets, a glass hammer from Woodies DIY, grind some beans and make my coffee, completely random and pointless stuff like that. It doesn't differ too radically from the nature of a civil service job anyhow, it's all bloody pointless.
  3. Make them all address me as "Evil Overlord". Hey, it's EO for short, too! The creator of the most innovative and sycophantic alternative to this acronym gets to make my coffee.
  4. Make them take it in turns to collect me at my house in the morning and bring me to work, and home again in the evenings. Even if they live in the opposite end of the county. I don't care. As long as I'm not the one driving the car in gridlock. Then they can make my coffee.
  5. Build a "tent" in the office using forms and sellotape and some rulers. Then make them all live in it for a fortnight, "I'm a Civil Servant, get me out of here" style. They will have to eat things like staples, forms and big cakes. They can use Untidy Guy's desk as a toilet (it won't look any worse). Every night other people get to vote on who stays and who goes. The winner gets to make my coffee.
That's it. I'm bored now.

Govstooge - putting the PERV in "supervisor".

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Worst day ever...

It was the worst day ever, this first day back at work of 2008.

I was told this morning that the number of staff I supervise is to increase threefold. Well, bollocks anyway. It's going to be in double digits. If this was the private sector, I would get more money, but no, it's the fucking civil service and we have it too good already. My whole working day will be taken up with signing leave forms, doing role profile forms, attending to disciplinary matters, and other associated staff management wank. I won't have any time to look at the internet! Jesus, it's not fucking fair!!

It put me in a bad mood for the day. Not even the fact that I will no longer be supervising the section nutcase could alleviate it.

And the fucking office was freezing all day. What are they trying to do, kill us?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Jaysus, is it that time already?

Fuck me, it's 2008! And I'm another year... well, day, older and deeper in debt!

And I'm sitting here wondering what the FUCK was all that about? Don't know about anyone else but my Christmas was pretty uneventful. Christmas in the Govstooge household included the following sensational highlights:

  • PASSING out in front of the TELLY after Christmas dinner and too much SAUVIGNON BLANC. I was watching a BORAT DVD and missed the NUDIE WRESTLING bit (thank God).
  • FARTING without the aid of BRUSSELS SPROUTS. Everyone hates the nasty little fuckers, so we had BROCCOLI instead.
  • 4 days of CONSTIPATION, I had to resort to an overdose of ANDREWS (Yecch!) so I could fit into my festive gear to go out. My stomach sounded like a SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA tuning up in a sewer as a result.
  • NOT stabbing any family member in the eye with a fork. This was the toughest challenge of the season.
  • Much DRIVING around the country to visit friends. Well, either that, or scowling at family and wrestling for control of the remote. Give me driving in poor conditions any day (see below).
  • NOT going to the sales. I fucking hate Christmas shopping, and I also hate the early days of the sales. I was held up in sales shopping traffic when driving through Limerick last week and it made me want to blow up the entire Dublin Road retail park/ shopping centre district. Why didn't Santa bring me a copy of the Anarchist's Cookbook?
  • Being a big softie really because I cried reading Marley and Me by John Grogan, an account of his relationship with a big clumsy Labrador. Read it. Go on.
New Year's was slightly easier; a night with some friends at their place watching Jools Holland while quaffing some very nice Lidl Champagne and being very sensible - at least, compared to last year, when I passed out in public in Spain and don't remember anything between that and me waking up in bed with a bitching hangover. No, it was very civilised. I was actually able to function on New Year's Day and actually did some work in my house.

The weather was another highlight, two incidents stick out in my mind; the telly aerial falling off the roof of my parents' house in the high winds at a critical point in a film and me almost having a crash in a remote part of the mid-West due to floods on the road, I ended up skidding so badly I found myself facing in the direction I'd come from!

And I'm not even back at work yet. Tomorrow's the day; oh the delights I will encounter on the first day back at the Department. I have a stack of role profile forms to do, more report deadlines, meetings to organise, training... oh, FUCK! FUCKITYFUCKITYFUCK!!

Oh, by the way, happy 2008 to everyone. Hope it's a good one.

Now playing: Morrissey - Sunny
via FoxyTunes