Monday, April 28, 2008

Shi(r)t Happens...

I'm rubbish at domestic things.

Today I destroyed a brand new (3 week-old) shirt. It came from a posh label and set me back a good few more quid than my usual Penney's or Dorothy Perkins apparel.

A stray sock got in with it (its very first wash, having only been worn for the first time on Friday) and my other light coloured things and discoloured the collar a murky shade of pink. Even though I had one of those sheets that catch runny dye (on the off chance that a red sock got in there - I am notorious for this) in the machine, the shirt collar decided to relieve it of its responsibilities.

A swift application of colour run remover, and what was once a blue and white striped shirt is now pale pink and green on an off-white background.

And I didn't have any gloves, so the eczema on my left hand is starting to throb. Must resist the itch!!

Bugger anyway. So much for my fancy notions.
Yes, I'm going to complain. I can't not complain. It isn't in my nature. But in the meantime, it's back to Penney's for me. Where I belong. But not on a Saturday, life's too short to spend three hours queuing.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


My job is making me sick.

The stress is getting to me.

My sleep is broken. I am waking up at all kinds of odd hours.

Like 10.30 a.m. for instance. But at least that's just about a quarter of an hour away from tea break time.

Really fucking pathetic fallacy

My iPod gadget which I use for in-car entertainment when driving to and from work is a great device. I have it on shuffle, meaning I can have anything from Cannibal Corpse to Corelli, or from David Bowie to Ella Fitzgerald. And yes, I have some cheesy eighties stuff thrown in.

Sometimes it even seems to pick up on my mood by selecting a few highly appropriate songs in succession. I love this when it happens.

My journey homeward this evening in the pissing rain was one such occasion.

Firstly, I had Ron Sexsmith's (wonder what's the origin of that name?) April after All "It's really coming down... the rain has got to fall, it's April after all..."

Followed immediately with She's Lost Control by Joy Division. Perfect, as I have indeed lost control - not of the car, thank fuck, but of my sanity, for at least six hours and fifty seven minutes a day, when I have to sit in the Department and fret about how little I know all over again.

The effect was spoilt somewhat by Goldie Lookin' Chain and Your Mother's got a Penis.


Civil servants make good

This evening, on BBC2, a panel of four senior Civil Servants from the British Ministry of Justice won the "University Challenge The Professionals". They proved very erudite and capable adversaries over the National Physical Laboratory.

Senior civil servants? Pah. I don't know how it is in the UK, but if that were an Irish programme, there would be a bunch of graduate COs and EOs under the desk whispering the answers up at the mandarins, and getting kicked if they didn't provide the correct answer.

The Commonly Held Perception of the EO's Role

Conversation in the canteen today:

(Following on from a discussion on one Clerical Officer's previous employments.)

Clerical Officer: God, there are some shit jobs out there, all right.
Govstooge: What, do you think there aren't any shit jobs in the Civil Service?
Clerical Officer:
No, there aren't. Well, apart from yours, that is.
Govstooge: (Foams at mouth)

There may be another vacancy at the tea table soon...

Monday, April 21, 2008

Further reasons why Govstooge should not be in charge of anyone...

Since undertaking certain new duties at work, I have come to believe that I am a really, really crap manager. I hardly set a good role model for anyone. Nor do I inspire confidence in those I have been assigned to lead. Today, I flouted all the common precepts of what it takes to be a good manager.

I openly admit complete ignorance of some procedures. Omniscience and the authority that goes with it have, sadly, evaded my grasp, as has any confidence my staff might have had in me. I realise that I am at the foot of a very steep learning curve and I can only gain in knowledge, but I have never been able to bluff my way to making others believe otherwise.

I swear too much. Today for instance, when a computer program I was trying to execute (oh yeah, for that is the word, all right) failed, I slammed my keyboard against the desk, shouting "Fuck this fucking bastard system and all who designed it! Fuckity fuck fuck fuck fuck!" The reaction from colleagues was a mixture of amusement and complete alarm.

I scowl and mutter at the HEO. I think, for the first time, that my boss is now scared of me.

Apart from the above, I have started muttering to myself. Usually swearing, like when I am about to leave in the evening and I look out the window to see what the traffic is like, and I see it backing up as far as I can see, I am often heard muttering "Fucking stupid bastards. Who the fuck needs to go to Dunnes Stores every single fucking day of the week?"

The applications for transfer out of our section, I imagine, will increase exponentially in the coming weeks. I know that only the section's resident weirdos will stick it out until the end.

May God have mercy on us all.

Friday, April 18, 2008

It's me berfday!

Well, the blog's, that is.

But I'm off to eat a big cake anyway.

And it's all mine. No-one else is having any.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Eve of the Bleeeearrrrrrgh

Oh lordy, it's this blog's first birthday tomorrow. I'm trying to think of something witty and wonderful to mark the occasion.

Given that a substantial number of posts I write are concerned with toilets, arses and things that fall out of arses into toilets (we would hope, anyway), I was hugely amused by the discovery that tomorrow is also POOP FOR PEACE DAY.

If you don't believe me, have a look here. Nice thought, but pooing on demand isn't exactly an easily-mastered skill. Poop Report is a great site, there's even a section about pooing at work, which should be downloaded by our Personnel department, printed and put into the employee induction handbook. It's an intellectual approach to toilet humour, and thankfully, it's not illustrated.

And, as I type, I'm listening to a song with "Bum" in the title.

That's serendipity or something, isn't it?

Now playing: Arctic Monkeys - Mardy Bum
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Would you care to join...

Following the departure on promotion of a colleague to another Department, far away (ours is small, but the one up there is far, far away), a vacancy has arisen in the canteen between 10.45 and 11.30 a.m.

It's proving difficult to recruit a new (coffee) drinking buddy, so we're throwing it open. As we are civil servants, it has to involve a form, which is available below (Click to enlarge).

Monday, April 14, 2008

Hug an EO today!

Well on this sad day when the nation's flag is at half-mast outside the Department in respect to the late President Paddy Hillery, did this sombre sight dictate the mood for the working day and prompt quiet reflection among the staff within?

Did it bollocks.

I have never had a more manic working day in my entire life. A few more of these and I will have an ulcer/ stroke / heart attack / all 3 at once (Well, I suppose it beats the Hepatitis A contractable from Untidy Guy's desk).

My colleagues saw an even darker side to Govstooge today as the leave forms/ expense forms / old envelopes with messages from Untidy guy written on them piled up on my desk. Along with some wonderful fun things like people asking me very detailed questions on work I'm not fully up to speed with - I've only taken over certain tasks in recent days. On top of that, a senior manager imposes a near-impossible deadline on this very work which means I will be running around collating the work and will almost certainly be in the firing line if anything goes arseways. Fuck this. Yes, the dark side emerged as Govstooge scowled even more than usual - giving myself a nasty tension headache in the process - and I'm sure I actually shouted "Can't it fucking wait?" at someone.

I made some small attempts to lighten my load. I used the Out Tray to deal with some of the more indecipherable messages from Untidy Guy. Yes, I fucked them in the bin. There were so many messages, that three or four would not be missed. Honestly, life is too short to have to endure the rambling nonsense that would pass for an explanation. That is one trait he shares with the HEO.

But I have to listen to the HEO, there's the difference. A 20 minute directive from my boss today had me still scratching my head wondering how am I going to transmit this downwards to the clerical officers. So I managed to get the HEO to explain it directly to them instead. This chain-of-command stuff is rubbish, and anyway I don't think it made any more sense to them than it did to me.

There is nothing more alarming than having six people at once clamouring for your attention. "Sign this", "What do we do with this?", "Can I have tomorrow off?", "Did you get that query from Personnel?", "Can I go to the toilet?", "Where's the door?"

Jesus Christ, all I want is to sit unnoticed in a corner somewhere. That's what they told me I'd be doing when I signed up, but I haven't had a game of Arse Race in six months.

I need a hug. And not from any smelly bastards either. They can fuck off.

Are you frightened...?

This is what I now say to anyone on the phone who says "bear with me."

Jesus, for someone with a big smelly carnivorous beast beside them, they always sound remarkably calm.

I can't even last five minutes with Untidy Guy without wanting to scream these days.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Waste of Space

When we did a clear out of our office recently dumping old forms, boxes, envelopes belonging to the office nut with weird things written on the backs of them, the guy who came up from Facilities Management to take them all away asked us if we had any old HEOs that needed dumping.

What do they do with these old HEOs I wonder? Do they incinerate them, give them to charity, or do they just leave them to moulder in the basement along with the CRT monitors they just can't bear to part with?

I have a door in my house that needs propping open from time to time. A defunct HEO would make a nice doorstop for this purpose. I wonder if I can get one. And when the door is closed the hot air coming from the HEO would make the room nice and toasty warm.

The only thing is I'd have to get volume control for it, otherwise I'd never hear the telly.

Friday, April 4, 2008

El Jefe

Oh God, I can't believe I forgot to comment on yesterday's resignation by Bertie Ahern. This picture from today's Independent says it all, really.

Goodbye Bertie. But I don't think you'll get much accountancy work anymore.

Meanwhile, anyone interested in the top job can apply here:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

A Typical Civil Service Day Part Three

The third and final part in my series. Parts 1 and 2 go back for some time.

Returning to the Department having made a quick visit to a nearby clothes shop and changed my top, I park slightly closer to the building than previously and make my merry way back to work. I check my email and realise that there is a meeting I have to go to this afternoon. I had forgotten all about it due to the events of this morning.

I grab a notebook and run to the boardroom. Except that's the wrong room, as it is already occupied by a group of Senior Managers smoking pot, dancing nude and sacrificing goats. I eventually find where I'm supposed to be and try to slip in unnoticed, but fail miserably. The meeting is already in session and I find the only available seat, the one nearest the meeting chairperson, and the only one making a very irritating fart noise every time its occupant makes any movement. The meeting has been scheduled to resolve several issues affecting many sections, not just ours, but at the end we are all more clueless than before. A motion is passed to have another meeting about the same thing two weeks from now. We file out and I go to splash some cold water on my face in the bathrooms attached to the area where the senior managers have their offices. These bathrooms don't stink of poo and there is a man in uniform standing to attention with a towel. He demands my ID, and on seeing it, notes that I am but a mere EO and he tells me to fuck off back to the plebs' jacks.

It is now 3.30 and my day is almost over. Or so I think. My HEO-clone corners me at long last and throws a long list of things to do at me. I quickly realise that I can't toss any of the work over on the COs as they aren't trained to do so (That sort of thing normally doesn't matter in the civil service, but this, of course, has to be different). Bollocks anyway. I go for coffee with some colleagues before tackling the work. It is 4.20 when we return to the section. I sit and look at the pile of work and decide that it can wait until tomorrow. I try to look busy while surfing the internet for ten minutes before I shut down the computer and leave.

4.30, I drive out of the main gate. Into fucking God-awful traffic. Twenty minutes later, I have only travelled twelve feet. I am sitting in my car listening to death metal when I hear a tap on the window and there is one of the COs grinning in at me. "I'm sorry I forgot to ask you earlier. But I looked out the window just now and saw you were still here. Can I have tomorrow off?" The CO thrusts a leave application form in the window at me. I stare open-mouthed at them for a few seconds before shouting "FUCK OFF, I'm off the clock!"

I wish I could drive off dramatically, leaving the CO to eat my dust, but I can only cringe as I watch them standing on the footpath looking miserable/ murderous - I haven't decided which - after me.

That was the best day I've had in ages. Can't wait to do it all again tomorrow.

Have we just had our summer?

The weather was fantastic today. The sun splitting the stones, windows flung open, people with ice cream, smiley faces all round. It was good to be alive. Even in the Department.



You stupid bastards.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Someone's listening at last!

I went to the jacks at work today. I had to do a pee, and I didn't want to mess up the carpet in the office, so I braced myself for the olfactory onslaught of the ladies' toilets.

No stink!

And I noted with glee that our facilities management section had stuck notices on the backs of each of the doors reminding users to "Leave the facilities as you would expect to find them".


Now, if we can weed out those staff members who expect to find the toilets minging of shit and with piss, toilet paper and other disgusting women's things on the ground, hunt them down and kill them, we are onto a winner.