Sunday, November 30, 2008


Good fuck, it's fucking freezing. I'm regretting that short haircut now - or at least not gathering up the hair from the hairdresser's floor and stuffing the lining of my coat with it. The Nazis did that you know, with the hair they shaved off the Jewish prisoners, for the soldiers on the Russian Front. (Fat lot of good it did them.) And no, it didn't cost me €410 of public money. And I don't look like an evil Teletubby, unlike a certain Government Minister.

Hope it's warm in work tomorrow. I hope the cutbacks don't extend to turning off the heating in the Department. If there's one thing I can't stand it's the proliferation of Puffa jackets in the office. It's bad enough having to look at them on the coatstands, without having to see their owners coccooned in them sitting at their desks, like some sort of Government larvae. I hate Puffa jackets. They have a unique property in making anyone who wears one look like a complete knob. I myself favour long wool or leather coats in this weather. 'Cos I'm all classy, like.

I love this weather, though. Imagine, the sun is shining, and it's too cold for flip flops! Heaven.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Red Mist

It was a lovely November day. The air was crisp. The sun was shining. It’s my favourite kind of weather, in spite of the short days. Christmas is a month away. Just think, in a mere 30 days’ time, we will all be sitting back thinking, just what the hell was all that about?

Why am I not happy today though?

It’s this place. The poxy Department. Things are getting right on my raving titties today. The red mist is descending once more. Everything’s gone mad fucking busy again. Except this time, it’s completely new stuff. New to me, that is. The bosses have done it before but are now sick of it, so have dumped it on me. With fuck all instructions on how to go about it.

Typical fucking civil service.

It’s a kind of project management role that involves gathering input from various other people, who I don’t work directly with. Tracking them down has been fun (!) so far, especially since none of them ever returned my calls or emails, and for those in the same building as me, I don’t know what they look like so I can’t pounce on them in the corridors.

In the case of those that I have been able to talk to, I have pissed them off on a grand scale with my work. Apparently everything is wrong. I have created changes that certain people can’t cope with and they want everything back the way it was. A sweary rant in my bosses’ ears imploring them to intercede on my behalf has worked, at least to some extent. Boss no. 1 has, so far, ignored my complaints. Boss no. 2 has made an effort to reconcile the differences, to reach a compromise and has offered help with the remainder of the job. There wouldn’t have been this much aggro if I’d received help in the first instance. But still, at least one of my managers realises the error of their ways. Good.

Then, as if I haven’t enough to do, some bollox in a neighbouring section dumps me in it. Picture the scene.

Guy-who-stands-too-close-to-people has a problem with his computer. He asks a colleague, Bollox. Bollox glances at the clock and says, “Ask Govstooge. Govstooge is good with computers.”

Bollox quickly shrugs himself into his coat and bounds merrily down the corridor to the canteen. Guy-who-stands-too-close-to-people is now standing too close to me, describing his problem. As his personal hygiene is good (i.e. no stale cabbage odour), I go to help a colleague in need, instead of tearing down the corridor and giving Bollox a good running kick up the arse, as is my immediate gut reaction. I hope the tea was cold.

And to cap it all, the top bastards in FAS are giving the rest of us a bad name! Pay per view films, golf trips and eyebrow tints, all on the taxpayer. Fucking disgrace. If there’s going to be a hatchet, chop them. Bastards.

I have days where I want to sing and dance down the corridors of the Department, giving thanks for a secure job and generally decent people to work with. Today wasn't one of them.

Molotov cocktail anyone??

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Groundhog Day?

Today my hangover was such that I did not emerge from under the covers until it was beginning to get dark again.

Going to bed at 4am tanked up on beer is not healthy.

Looks like I didn't miss much though.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Impatience is going to get the better of me in the end.

I'm generally patient when dealing with other people, as long as they are not rude or obnoxious. I'm pretty good at training new staff and don't go insane if they mess something up (we've all been there).

I'm not very good at waiting.

Twice today, outside of work, I nearly got myself into trouble for this. Actually, I think "trouble" is too soft a word for one of the instances.

I was walking, and needed to cross a busy junction. I cross at this junction most days and think I know the sequence of the lights on it fairly well, so as not to have to wait for the green man to start flashing. (In my younger and more tentative days I have spent up to five minutes standing there like a tool.) Noticing that lights had gone red at the approach from the minor road, I stepped merrily into the road and proceeded to cross. It was a minor miracle that, when the lights on the other road turned green, that I was not squished. A jaywalk later, I'm home free, and shitting bricks. Won't be doing that again.

Then, less than twenty minutes later, I skip a queue at an ATM. Well, the girl who turned out to be at the head of the queue didn't actually look as if she was queuing, and didn't approach me to tell me they were first. So I got away with that one as well, and so did the big guy in painter's overalls who got in line behind me. All I got was a dirty look from the girl five minutes later when I passed by again. By now, she had gotten to use the ATM. It was only at this stage I realised that she had been in the queue from the beginning. The thing is, I would have given her back her place at the head of the queue if she'd told me. I'm not evil. Just impatient. I don't like having to queue, but I don't take liberties. Won't be doing that again.

Pissing people off isn't an interest of mine. Nor is getting myself killed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Really tired these past couple of days. Work is quiet, which helps, but unfortunately the presence of HEOs means I can't have a sleep there. Plus, what kind of example would that be setting? More coffee, please. I've invented stuff for myself to do. Things like cleaning out stuff I don't need. After all, an uncluttered worker is a happy worker. At least for me, anyway. I don't like mess. I'm also being diligent and making inroads on drafts of performance appraisals etc before things get crazy again.

The Finance Bill tomorrow may mean some voluntary redundancies for underemployed civil servants or rapid deployment to other departments that are understaffed. I don't think it's a problem in my area, but I'm still getting images in my head based on the film, "Office Space", in which (among other things) a corporate hatchet man is sent to a company. He has to interview each employee and each has to justify his or her job. Imagine if it happened to the civil service!

It won't - because it would take forever and would necessitate the hiring of an external contractor, which are well documented recently for already draining public finances.

But what if it did? I imagine there are many folk whose "jobs" could be culled, and how they would behave if a hatchet man did come:

Hatchet Man: So, what do you do?
Civil Servant: I'm a civil servant.
HM: I know that already. I'm not chatting you up. What's the nature of your job?
CS: Weeell... I clock in at 10. Then I go to my desk and power on my PC. While that's firing up I take my newspaper to the toilet and have my morning dump. I come back up, push some paper around the desk for twenty minutes and then go for tea for an hour.
HM: Here's a P45. Take it to the dole office where the civil servants who actually work for a living will process your dole claim.

I work hard, though. Honest. I earn my tea. And I don't spend longer in the toilet than necessary.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Build Up

It's the fucking build up that kills me every time. No, not the build up of stomach gas after eating yet another of my own dodgy curries. Nor is it the build up of traffic which seems to worsen at the instant I swipe out at work every day, meaning a good 10 minutes or so are added onto my commute.

I am talking about Christmas. It's really in my face now. It's been gradually gaining momentum since late September but now, it's everywhere. Businesses are bedecked in fantastic arrays of lights. Homes will follow soon. Every time I open a newspaper or my email there's something with a festive theme.

Yes it does gladden the heart. The gloom of shitty weather and evenings dark as the devil's arsehole is somewhat alleviated by the twinkling lights and tinsel and trees in shop windows. And I know that my annual tradition of battering my liver with alcoholic substances will soon begin in earnest.

It's still early enough not to have your ears raped by awful Christmas music everywhere you go (I think, at least. Maybe others have heard some already.)

What's pissing me off about Christmas right now is how some folk at work are already planning what they're going to buy for their beloved offspring. Loudly. And even more loudly when they elaborate on how much they are going to spend (more than I earn in a week, some of them). And - now this is what's really grinding my gears - louder still when I am within earshot. Not to mention dangling little presents for their darlings that they happened on while they were in town at lunchtime in my face:

Colleague: Look what I bought for little Petey!
Govstooge: Yeah. Great.
Colleague: You haven't looked properly. Look again! Isn't it lovely!
Govstooge: Err... what exactly is it?

You see, I am not a parent. There are no little Govstooges running around my pristine house. My DVD collection is bereft of Dora and Barney. I have never seen or heard High School Musical. My car has no child seat, meaning more room for those important beer runs.

My colleagues are aware of this and some of them cannot understand why, at my age, I have not produced progeny. Why, when they were this age, they were already picking out communion outfits! What is wrong with Govstooge? Let's awaken that latent maternal instinct by bragging loudly about our kids when she is around, so that she'll suddenly turn broody and then we'll have something in common with her! And we can compare how much we're going to spend on them at their birthdays and Christmas!

Fuck off.

Kids are great. They're cute, funny, silly and you can fuck with their heads by telling them you're Kylie Minogue on your days off.

That doesn't mean I want to have any right now though.

I'm having way too much fun being feckless and not much more than an overgrown kid myself.

But if I see those Santa websites open on any screen in our section again, I'm temporarily revoking internet privileges. At least until December.

Bah humbug!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Why do so many people come to this site from a Google search for "AO - Let's Go"? Is there a contingent of Ramones fans out there intent on looking up lyrics?

On the whole AO front, I've heard nothing. I've resigned myself to remaining in the Department trying my best to keep tabs on the horde of COs I am currently in charge of. Not an easy task. They keep slipping out through the fence and like to go wandering off to sections that they worked in previously. I don't get paid enough to follow them and round them up.

I was just in time for the Government cutbacks. No promotion for me. Ever.

Stupid recession.


"Recession - DIY condoms" - let's see if that'll bring any Google searches to this site. I'll update on progress.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Performance, Underperformance and Unpronounceable Songs

PMDS is making the news a lot in the last couple of weeks. Crazy eh? It's not as if they're short on news stories what with recession, U-turns, more recession, more U-turns and Barack Obama's historic victory in the polls. Well done Mr Obama. Mind you, his opponent did look like this:

I used to do that behind teachers' backs when I was 12! And he's 72!

But back to PMDS in the news...
It was recently revealed in the Sunday Times that almost 100% of all civil servants were awarded increments this year - increments that have been, for the past couple of years, linked to their PMDS ranking; i.e. 2 or more. 18 civil servants, at grade 1, were not awarded the increase.

Grade 2s, remember, are still underperforming to a certain extent. They are not allowed go for promotion for a year. That's the only penalty imposed on them. I imagine many of them don't care about promotions or additional responsibility. And they get the same pay award as me, and others like me, who are working our fucking arses off. It suggests to me that if I take even longer tea breaks, do Sudoku all day at my desk and pull all the uncertified sickies I can, I will be appreciated just the same by the system.

What did those 18 people do (or not do) to score a "1" then? It must have been bloody awful. I can only imagine:

- Setting fire to their desks and toasting marshmallows in the flames
- Calling the Taoiseach a "pie-faced goon" to his face
- Telling management to fuck off
- Phone calls to their sister in Australia lasting all day
- Abseiling past the boardroom window during senior management meetings
- Doing awful Karaoke at the Christmas Do
- Sewing whoopee cushions into the HEO's chair
- Drinking in the office and throwing up on senior officers
- Excessive smelly bodily functions in the vicinity of colleagues
- Humping the EO's leg
- Streaking through the Personnel Department (i.e. without an ID badge on)
- Making origami sculptures with forms

The reality is probably even more disturbing than that.

It calls into serious question the operation of the PMDS across all Departments. Only a couple of years into it, and it's already crying out for reform.

With any luck, they might get rid of it all together, and replace the endless meetings and arguments with something simpler like "" - etc. Well, if teachers can have it, why can't we?

Oh, and I've recently discovered Sigur Rós. I don't have a notion of what they're singing about - as it's all in Icelandic - but their music transcends the language barriers. They're divine, and I can't stop listening to them. Going to buy even more of their albums when my increment comes in. (Which it will, I'm more than 99% certain.)

Now playing: Sigur Ros - Med Sud I Eyrum Endalaust - 07. Ara Batur
via FoxyTunes

Double Standards

One rule for them and one rule for the rest of us, or "Do as I say and not as I do". It occurs in all walks of life, whether in school, home, private sector, civil service etc.

Today's incident, however, took the fucking biscuit. It was both flagrant and egregious.

Picture the scene. A meeting for the whole section in a conference room, which the HEO has convened. The COs are rolling their eyes in boredom and looking at the malfunctioning clock hanging lopsided on the wall. One CO is visibly drooling. Another may have died. The EOs are sitting with their arms folded, resolutely avoiding eye contact with the HEO who might just ask them if they would like to add something to what was just said. One particular EO just wants to get the hell out of there and find the coffee machine. (Can you tell who it is yet?)

Suddenly, a strange buzzing sound. What could that be? Is it a fire drill? Ah, no, it can't be. They only do fire drills on nice sunny days so people don't get wet waiting to go back inside. We can't have people going on sickies claiming they caught a chill.

There is a scuffle of activity from the head of the table. The HEO leaps from their seat, mobile phone in hand (for yes, that is the source of the buzzing), and sprints to the door. The rest of the attendees glance around at each other with expressions of bemusement. There is silence as we try to determine the nature of the boss's conversation from what we can hear through the door.

Some minutes pass, and the HEO re-appears with a sheepish expression and says: "Errr.... sorry about that. I had to take that call."

The meeting breaks up shortly afterwards. The main item on the agenda - i.e. "Inappropriate Use of Mobile Phones During Office Hours" didn't go down too well.

Has to be up there as the most pointless bloody meeting ever.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dee dee dee dee ... it's the twilight zone ...

I watched the Bertie documentary on RTE 1 last night - typical RTE sycophancy, "carefully-chosen" 70s and 80s soundtrack, irritating closeups of Haughey's rancid face all tied together by commentary from various people short enough to be taken out of context (the comments, that is. I am not making reference to the stature of any individual). There was an interesting bit about Bertie's campaign in the 1977 General Election.

Strange, then how my dream last night was all about the rise of Hitler.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Country's Fucked! (Part Three...)

The state of the nation at a given time often inspires artists to produce some of their best work. Think 1980s Britain and the backing tracks of Joy Division, The Cult, The Cure, The Jam etc etc.

So what about reviving Self Aid?

We could have:
Christy Moore "Don't forget your form if you want to draw the dole"
S Club 7 "Don't Stop Movin' (Because the heating's off)"
John Spillane "DSFA Girl"
Bobby Darin tribute "CV of Love"
IBEC and the Staff of the Sunday Times: "Kill All Civil Servants"

And U2, Enya and all those other million-selling artists could just start paying their fucking taxes. That would be music to many people's ears.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Another weekend, and another load of even more miserable-fuckery on my part.

Halloween was a non starter. I don't rate this as a holiday and have steadfastly refused to garnish my house in plastic tat, pumpkins, and other tomfoolery, even if all my neighbours are buying into it. As a consequence, my house probably looks "scarier" than all the others. Having bought some sweets, I laced them carefully with chilli and Ex-Lax, and left them by the door, I waited for the sound of tentative steps to my door. None came. Bah. I like chilli anyway so everyone's a winner.

I'm in my town of origin, Kilshite, at the moment visiting the folks until tomorrow. It's a beautiful, tiny place about two hours' drive from Ballyfuck. It has lakes, mountains and old nineteenth-century buildings. It also has nineteenth-century ethos. It's full of begrudgers, backbiters and gossips. Brinsley McNamara could have written Valley of the Squinting Windows as an elegy to my home town. It gets claustrophobic if I spend more than three days here. Visits from the more annoying members of my extended family and nosey neighbours grate on my nerves, so I'm looking forward to going out on the piss with local mates later. . .

On a happy note, I saw the new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace on Friday. With the delectable Daniel Craig. With a villain that looked a lot like Robert Carlyle (I couldn't take him seriously as a villain, as I kept thinking of that dancing Dole Queue scene in The Full Monty) - but it wasn't him, and not enough explosions or gadgets (where was Q?). Still, good entertainment and highly recommended.