Thursday, August 28, 2008

Govstooge's Guide to Being an EO

For anyone out there who is interested in an exciting career in the civil service, now that the recession is looming and visits to are on the increase, here's what to expect, at least from an EO perspective.


I had no idea what to expect when sent to the Department. I thought I would be given my own office, a designated parking space and a key to the executive toilets. Then I could flit about the place in my official EO robes whacking COs on the head with steel-tipped forms. Instead I got a tiny chipboard desk in a sea of similar furniture, an ID badge that looks nothing like me and a window that won't open.

Public Appointments put you in a crate and ship you to your new Department with "This Way Up" stamped all over it. This is invariably ignored and you are dizzy and nauseous when you finally see the light of day. The HEO breaks the crate open on delivery with the Ceremonial Departmental Crowbar which is the first phase in the new employee's induction.

The second phase in the induction process is the HEO standing in front of you with an organisation chart / map of the huge section with everyone's desk on it. Your new boss has helpfully marked your desk on this with a red "X" and circled those of your staff.

New EO: Err... why have I got so many?
HEO: Because we like to throw you in at the deep end. Also, we've been waiting for a new EO for six months now and, frankly, I'm fed up with having to deal directly with the COs. It's been eating into valuable EBay time.
New EO: Fuck.
HEO: Oh, don't worry. They won't bite you. They're a lovely bunch really. See Jim over there. He's been really good since joining this section. Which is great, especially since he used his last EO's in-tray as a toilet. And look at Bob over in the corner. Go over and introduce yourself to him. He's very tactile. He likes to hug everyone. Don't worry if he squeezes too tight. And this is Contracepta. She likes to start the day with prayers and anointing everyone with holy water. Try not to swear around her, she doesn't like it.
New EO: Fuck.

After all introductions have been made the HEO shows you around the building. (Where's the fucking door, you think.) You find where the photocopying room is. The bilingual sign in English and Irish is long gone, and the room is only identifiable by a crudely lettered notice "if the copier's a rockin', don't come a knockin'". You are also shown the canteen, where, you are informed, you are required to spend two hours a day.

Then you are introduced to your AP.
HEO (bowing): Excuse me your greatness, I have that new EO you ordered.
AP (rubbing hands): Excellent. Well, don't just stand there, come in.
HEO shows new EO in.
AP: Just a few tests I need to do. Can you open your mouth so I can count your teeth? (to HEO) Here, warm this rectal thermometer in your hands for a bit, will you? I didn't do that the last time we got a new EO and I'm still waiting for my ceiling to be repaired.
New EO: Fuck.

Later, you also participate on an official induction course, including IT policies, health and safety and how to understand HEO-speak.

In the next edition: How to conduct a PMDS review with a clerical officer without swearing.

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