Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Today's planned strike was averted because of the "breakthrough agreement" on 12 or so unpaid leave days for the public sector.
But now, following dissention from backbench TDs, everything's up for grabs again. Backbench TDs, some of whom I might add, have alleged that "sure don't a couple of pints help a nervous driver to relax a bit?"
Even our revered Tanaiste, Mary Cockup... ahem, Coughlan, has agreed that nothing has been confirmed yet. This is the same person on whose behalf taxpayers, public and private, forked out €9,000 to keep a limo waiting for her at the WTO talks in Geneva last year so she wouldn't have to walk, or God forbid, use a taxi whose previous client was a cuckoo-clock maker. Not to mention John O'Donoghue's profligacy.
We all have to make sacrifices. The country is on its knees. For me and many of my colleagues, it's not the pay cut/ unpaid leave that galls us. It is the failure of our public "representatives" to set an example.
It's no wonder people are dying of swine flu. The country is being run (into the ground) by a shower of porcine individuals, all with their filthy heads in the trough.
George Orwell summed it up nicely in Animal Farm (and again, the pigs were running the show) with the quotation:
"All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."
It's put me off sausages for life.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Just my fucking luck. I had a great summer not having to fill in countless stupid Interim Review. forms and now the annual reviews are here to bite me on the arse. Or papercut me on the arse. I don't know.
Yes, more of the same old treadmill of booking rooms, arranging meetings with clerical officers only to find that when you both get to the room, it's occupied by two trysting HEOs and then the clerical officer wants to go to the toilet and you say "Ok", and the CO goes off in the direction of the jacks and is never seen again because he/she had an inkling that you were going to give them a bollocking. Next time you have to do a review, you decide to hold the meeting in the toilets.
Or you might have to find a broom cupboard to have the meeting in, and then it's always with the smelliest CO in the building and being in a confined space with them makes you vomit up your lunch all over the form.
2010 will be easier in terms of not having as many meetings. (I will have more real work to do, but that's fine - not as annoying.) The Department has shed some staff due to DSFA pinching them, there have been early retirements under the incentivised scheme, and of course, career breaks. There will be less pressure on the meeting rooms for PMDS appraisals with the staff we have left. I might even get a meeting room with a window this time around!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
As we all know by now, there will be une autre grève - another strike - next Thursday.
And, given the five mile tailbacks many of us had to endure when we fucked off to Newry yesterday, I thought maybe next time, let's go all out. Let's make a proper trip of it.
Why not France, I thought. Home of Champagne, Malbec, and ooh, it's Beaujolais Nouveau time round about now too! Think of all the Brie and runny Camembert we can pick up for our festive entertaining!
It's time for the ultimate public sector Booze Cruise!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Undaunted by this comment, or by the wind whipping up our holes, or the rain dampening our placards, we marched stoically on outside the Department. The more publicity-shy of us (including me) tried not to catch the eyes of the reporters from local radio.
Overwhelmingly, though, the attitude of the passers-by was supportive. Horns tooted, thumbs were raised and at one stage a person stalled their car in order to get out and applaud and cheer us. I was pleasantly surprised at this response, it could not have been better if we had been a lynch mob cheerfully garrotting Sean Fitpatrick, emasculating Roddy Molloy and delivering reverse colonics to the entire cabinet, and Bertie too.
And more to come on the 3rd December. It's unrealistic to think that we will avoid a pay cut in some shape or form. We are lucky to have jobs. If I had remained working in the private sector (where I gained most of my work experience to date), I would now be on the dole queue, as my old firm let go a third of its workforce recently.
Cutting the pay of the lower paid public sector workers simply because they are an easy target when the above named fuckmuppets - among many others - got away scot free is sickening. And this is the motivation behind my ticking "yes" to industrial action on the union ballot papers. And I am not alone.
And no, I wasn't in fucking Newry afterwards. I was at home making a nice curry.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
They overcame all these obstacles.
For the forms.
There was a tremendous sense of camaraderie in the Department this morning as each staff member arrived with a tale of woe about their journey to work. Each of us regaled the others with the gory details, like war veterans comparing scars. The dripping rain gear on the coat stands and the sodden umbrellas bore grim testimony to the battles fought and won this morning.
The outdoor smoking area attracted only the diehard adherents of the weed today, and those experts who could manage to keep their fags lit.
Occasionally, when the howling gales outside made it seem as if the Department roof was going to be swept away, there was much shuddering and invoking the Almighty: "God, will it ever stop?"
Departing colleagues were wished a safe journey home. Even the normally horrible ones who make me want to mount a rifle on my computer monitor.
The sense of "we're all in this together" was, I think, a foretaste of what we will experience on the picket lines next Tuesday. COs, EOs, HEOs and even APs picketing the gates of the Department and hopefully being choreographed well enough to not poke each other in the eyes with the sharp placard corners.
Striking paper pushers will elicit no sympathy from the passing public in this climate, and we will come in for abuse, I've no doubt. We'll be an easy target. But like today, we will cope by sharing war stories, this time over pints in a nice pub around the corner.
Mind you, the warm fuzzy feeling I had for most of the day disappeared rapidly when some sadist in the bowels of the building decided to inflict a Fire Drill on us. Bastard.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Maybe it's a pointless exercise and our pay will be cut anyway.
I don't know. Public sentiment toward us is generally negative anyway given the recent media coverage of our sick leave, expenditures etc.
There must be some way of showing Joe Public that most civil servants are ordinary PAYE workers and are not milking the system for what it's worth like those FAS or HSE executives.
It's obvious that the major wastage is coming from the upper echelons. But what's the betting that those of us earning under the €50k public servant "average" will be the ones most affected by any forthcoming paycuts?
Naturally, I'm biased. But further pay cuts (pension levy, anyone?) to one of the largest sectors in the economy will affect purchasing power, our confidence as consumers, and ultimately, the VAT take on what we used to buy. For instance, I'm going to cut down on drinking, and ultimately, give it up altogether, in order to recoup the damage to my disposable income.
Failing that, there's always Freeganism.
Oh, bloody hell.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I wish I hadn't bothered to come back out though. 7% pay cuts? Haven't we poor public servants suffered enough, what with that stupid pension levy and having to fill out 29 forms every time we want to pull our office blinds down on the rare occasion that the sun shines on our septic little isle?
And, all the time, the media is full of stories of the excesses of John O'Donoghue, Rody Molloy, and general Fás fuckmuppetry. Not to mention flat-capped TDs opposing the proposed reduction in the legal blood-alcohol limit because of the impact it will have on the turnover of the pub they run as an adjunct to their 100k-a-year-plus-expenses slice of taxpayer's money. You only have to look towards the south-west to see a good reason to reduce the number of scrounging TDs.
Meanwhile, back in the Department, things are going not so smoothly either. There has been an uptake on the paid career breaks, incentivised early retirement and so on, thereby reducing the number of staff reporting to Govstooge. In spite of empty desks, I can still bound around the office with a big grin on my face. (No, not because I have fewer PMDS forms to fill out. The CPSU put paid to that months ago, remember? Nor is it because I can jump on the empty desks now without squashing a colleague's hand). I'm swearing less. (!!!!!) Well, only fucking slightly less. The HEO no longer has to use a long pole to attract my attention. More has to be done with less resources, and this goes down a lot more easily if the EO doling out the work to the COs isn't grimacing.
How can I have achieved this when the economy is in tatters and the social and industrial unrest is palpable?
How can I laugh in the face of negative equity and NAMA?
Well, gentle reader, you are about to find out:
The answer is simple:
It's the chemical equivalent of being in the civil service for more than 20 years. It insulates you against harsh reality without the need for sixteen layers of adipose tissue brought on by years of canteen sausages. A bit like alcohol, really, but easier on the liver, and you won't upset Noel Dempsey either. Everyone's a winner!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
"Govstooge", said the HEO bounding over to me.
Oh Jaysus, I think.
"What is the ETA on the current project you are working on? Remember to touch base with me if you've any problems... are you OK?"
"Yeah, my stomach just sort of...flipped when you said 'touch base'."
"Oh right. Well, usually some antacids help with that. Get some in case you need them going forward."
I look balefully at the departing figure of the HEO.
"Bleargh!" is my only response.
Two minutes later, my extension rings. I manage to resist the temptation to retch following my manager's management speak.
It is a colleague in another Department.
"Govstooge, can you do something for me?"
"Sure, Morticia. What is it?"
"Well, you know that issue your unit are working on with us?"
"Yeah...sort of. Actually, my HEO deals with that rather than me. Will I put you on...?"
"Oh, right. That was emphatic."
"Sorry, Govstooge. But if I asked your HEO I would be on the phone for two hours and still be none the wiser. All the management speak you see."
"Ah, yes. The old logorrhea, or verbal diahorrea, if you will."
"Anyway, can you pass on this question? Just a quick one. And tell your HEO to contact me by email. Say one of my ears has fallen off due to leprosy or that I've got a terrible fear of curly wires and I can't use the phone."
"Right. Go ahead..."
The things I do for my colleagues. Risking being in the firing line of more management speak so that others may get on with their daily tasks. There should be an award for us unsung civil service heroes.
Even if it was just a shiny new paperclip or something.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
I had one of those days today. I'm not complaining, being nicely busy makes the day go faster. Evenings at home on these days are usually a stark contrast to the day in work. I like to just do feck all. Grass needs cutting? Arse. Ironing? Pish. I'm going to watch The Simpsons.
So I was barely in the door and had just about left my handbag down along with the random assortment of stuff I've brought in, when the doorbell rang. "Ooh", I thought expectantly, "It must be that fit new neighbour with the nice tight jeans that show his nice muscly arse off to perfection coming round to introduce himself." And off I bounded to answer the door.
"Hello, my name is Lara and I am an art student from Israel. Would you like to see some of my paintings?"
"Oh just have a look."
"I've just got in from work. I haven't even had a chance to take this ID badge off. I'm not interested."
I got the door closed before the girl had time to take another breath.
That's the third Israeli art student I've had ringing my Ballyfuck doorbell this year. The first one managed to keep me on the doorstep for twenty minutes in January while he proudly displayed "his" work. I didn't buy anything but did enjoy the puzzled look on his face while I compared one painting to the work of Jack Vettriano and another to that of Modigliani. Art student? My hole. And the hard sell techniques are spectacular. The second one came at a time when I was recovering from a chest infection and stood wheezing in the doorway. Incredibly this "art student" was also a "medical student" and offered a back massage to help clear the congestion! "Feck off", I told him.
I usually "answer" the door by sticking my head out of one of the upstairs windows and shouting down to the caller. It's great fun altogether.
"No, sorry, you can't come in. I'm imprisoned in this upstairs room but if you come back in five years I'll have grown my hair long enough to be able to let it down and then you can climb up and rescue me and maybe at that point I might buy something off you".
Or, alternatively, a stack of pre-prepared flour and water bombs by the window are another useful aid.
Forms downloaded from Revenue's website and left by the window are great too. "Are you paying income tax on these sales? If not you'd better fill this out!"
Bloody cold callers. Why can't they all just fuck off and let me eat my dinner in peace? The next one gets a fork in the eye.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Which is why I can't understand people who conduct their social lives in strange places.
Like on the stairs. As someone who likes to jog up and down stairs I frequently find myself impeded by groups of middle aged women who, at some stage, decided to take a rest going upstairs and just stopped where they are, ripe for being run into by that rarest of civil servants, the energetic ones. And do you think they say sorry, cop on and go somewhere else? Not likely. There must be a rule somewhere in the civil service code of conduct that says "You must inconvenience a minimum of three people daily in shared areas". If I find where this rule is written and if it doesn't specify how I should inconvenience others, then I'll resign myself to kicking these people up the fucking arse.
The ladies' toilets are also ripe, in more ways than one, for social gatherings. What more perfect way to get the latest news with the tinkling background music of hissing piss and the gentle percussion of poo plopping into the water? Not to mention the attendant aromas? It always disturbs me when I walk into the workplace loos to find two women gossiping and who glare at me when I enter, as if it were their private space. They are usually still there when I've finished washing my hands.
Worse again are those acquaintances from other sections who attempt to engage me in conversation in the bathrooms.
"Any holidays planned?"
"No, but I've just come back actually."
"Really? Where from?"
"What was that like?"
"Pretty good. Whiffed a bit in places, mind. A bit like here. Have to go, I'll talk to you later."
Maybe for the next staff suggestion scheme I'll make a submission saying everyone should set up a Twitter-type thing on the Department intranet. That way we'll know what everyone else is up to. We won't even need the canteen after that...
Eh, maybe not. Coffee anyone?
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I generally like to shut myself off from the outside world when I'm out and about. I don't like to listen to the sounds of traffic or machinery when I'm enjoying a leisurely stroll. I usually firmly implant my iPod headphones in my ears to counteract any of this extraneous noise. Listening to music on the go also insulates me against "smart" comments from teenagers and people who think they can get my attention so they can ask directions by driving slowly - kerb crawling if you will - alongside me while honking their horns. These I studiously ignore.
Occasionally, certain things will encroach upon my personal space, irritating me. A waft of stinking fag smoke from a passer-by. Idiots walking in a group, several persons abreast, thinking I'll step off the footpath for them (usually reserve my elbow for the nearest one of these). But these are accidental and unintentional.
The deliberate interference with other people in public is something I can't abide. Lecherous old men who think women are fair game and attempt to grab them. This has happened to me once and the perpetrator was on the receiving end of a "Go fuck yourself" from me and a stern warning from a uniformed Garda I knew.
Today was nearly as bad. I was walking close to the Department earlier on. I was somewhat preoccupied with a work related problem and was thinking about how I would approach the person responsible. All guns blazing, or softly-softly? Hmm. I prefer the former myself. But in the interest of future workplace harmony, I have to go with the latter. To make my temperament conducive to a gentler approach, I take out my iPod and begin shuffling it in the hope of finding a nice slow classical piece.
I had to settle on "Dancing with Myself" by Billy Idol, even though that wasn't going to achieve the effect I'd desired. I'd had to put the gadget away somewhat quickly as there were two boys walking towards me and there was something about their whole demeanour I didn't like. The iPod was in my pocket with my right hand closed firmly around it.
As the little fuckers passed, it turns out my instinct was correct, one of them did try to make a grab for it. Unsuccessfully, as my hand was around it, and remember, I was still in an all-guns-blazing frame of mind.
So if anyone was in the vicinity of the Department earlier on today and happened to see two boys running for their lives pursued by a swearing office worker, well now you know the story.
I didn't keep it up for long. I had no intention of catching them. I had better things to be doing you know. But I gave them a good fright and they weren't to be seen again. A couple of minutes later, I couldn't stop a broad grin from spreading across my face as I pictured the scenario. I've laughed about it to everyone I've spoken to since. Laughter truly is the best medicine and I did find that it diffused the tension I had been feeling where music couldn't.
The moral of the story? Leave Govstooge alone in public. This EO bites.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
And I'm inclined to agree. Hell truly is other people.
Take one of my colleagues for instance. Let's call this colleague "Calamity" for illustrative purposes. I don't work directly with Calamity as he is in a different office, but I speak regularly with him on the phone. I shouldn't, but I invariably do, ask, "How are you today, Calamity?" Because this invariably leads onto a litany of the latest woes to befall this misfortunate functionary.
So far, I've been told:
"My arse exploded last night."
"My wife's arse exploded last night."
"I was off last week. Spent the whole time in bed with a bucket by my side."
"I was on holidays in Darfur. Stupid time to go, really."
"There was a dead sheep with an upside down crucifix stuck in it nailed to my front gate this morning".
"Hitler's ghost woke me up last night."
"Bertie Ahern is my best friend."
"The hubcap came off my X5. I have an X5 you know. It's shiny."
For several months now, I have been a shoulder to cry on for Calamity. I have been a sounding board for all his problems. I have been Marjorie Proops, Doctor Phil, Joe Duffy, all rolled into one. I have interjected his lament with "ooh you poor thing" on innumerable occasions, so much so that when my nearby colleagues hear this phrase they have to snigger and say to each other "Uh-oh, Govstooge's onto Calamity again."
I bet you are thinking, "Aaw, Govstooge's really nice after all." No? Oh well.
Anyway, Calamity, if you happen to be reading this in between your bouts of vomiting and missing hubcaps, please take note that I am no longer a free counselling service. Find a properly qualified therapist and pay them whatever they ask, you earn more than me anyway, you tight fucking bastard.
And next time a piece of information goes astray between my department and yours, complain to me directly. Don't ring up my managers denouncing me and making out I don't know what I'm doing, even though it was the first time something went wrong.
Because, if I knew where you lived, I'd be round there to give you something new to complain about.
Hell is Govstooge with a pointy stick.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Oops. I might have made this sound all wrong. Let me clarify.
The shrieks and cries weren't from the baby, who was gurgling peaceably in her carry-cot and smiling angelically at everyone. Aaaw. Bless.
It was the middle aged women who were crowded around who were making all the noise! Women whose voices were never meant for indoors! Women who could have made a living as lumberjacks "Timberrrrrrr!"! Women who have done nixers for the local builders when their angle-grinder broke and they needed something to cut sheet metal with, fast! Now think of a crowd of about ten of them and you've got the picture. Shudder. The ensuing cacophony was deafening!
"OOOH She's just like her MOTHER...!"
"DID YOU SEE THAT, DOREEN, SHE WINKED AT ME!"
"AAAAW AREN'T YOU A LITTLE DOTE!"
Fuck it. Let's just sack these loud middle-aged women and replace them with babies. Even on a bad day, a baby wouldn't make the same amount of noise. In all probability, they smell better as well. And they don't care about benchmarking, strikes, NAMA or Eastenders. All they want is a bottle, a clean nappy and a bunch of keys to keep them happy. Swap forms for keys and we're on a winner.
I think it'll work. With a bit of careful planning, no-one will notice the difference. There'll even be the same amount of drool.
Monday, August 31, 2009
For anyone who's had their head buried in piles of forms all summer, here are the tell-tale signs.
The multitudinous, echoing cries of "Welcome back" and occasional hugging. Have you ever seen civil servants hugging? Fat ones, I mean? 'Tis a fearsome sight.
Being cornered in the ladies' toilet as you dry your hands by someone you don't particularly like saying "So what did YOU do this summer, Govstooge?"
Endless, long winded descriptions of holidays. To be repeated ad nauseam as people continue to arrive in the office. The story about your husband being stung on the willie by a jellyfish in Mallorca was funny, the first, the second and even the fifth time. But now I've heard it twenty times I'm starting to lose my patience.
Having people ring your extension asking "Is Hermione there? Her line's engaged." and you answer "Yes, she's on the phone to her friend downstairs, and there are two other calls holding for her. Would you like to remain in the queue?" Goddamn it!
Having the number of staff you supervise nearly double overnight. Excellent from a workflow point of view, but not so excellent if you have to spend an hour reminding each one what their job was.
Finding a car parking space becomes almost impossible if you're a late starter. Similarly the availability of croissants and tables in the canteen is curtailed significantly.
The "Term time" scheme is no longer open only to parents of school-age children during the summer. It's now been opened up to the rest of us by having been renamed "Shorter Working Year Scheme". Unpaid, of course.
I must say, I'm tempted to join their ranks. Maybe during the winter, when the weather's less harsh.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
But really, I won't need any help. Watch this fucking space.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Extension 666, the direct line to Govstooge, rings.
"Bollocks", I say, before taking a deep breath and adopting my posh professional civil servant voice.
"Good afternoon. Govstooge speaking. How may I help you?"
A faint crackle and the distant sound of the Pussycat Dolls.
I sigh, and try again: "Good afternoon. Govstooge speaking. How may I help you?"
"Can you speak up?" comes the voice at the other line.
I take a deeper breath.
"Govstooge speaking. How may I help you?"
"I still can't hear you."
"CAN I HELP YOU?"
"Ah, that's better. Now just hold on until I turn this radio down."
(Goes off to turn down the radio, which is now blaring Lady GaGa.)
"Jaysus", I say.
People, eh? Hate 'em. Bunch of gits.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
For the big prick in your life.
I'm going to buy a trolley load of them and sell them as disposable scented sleeping bags at Electric Picnic.
I'll invent a new award for underperformance at work called "Dickhead of the week" where the offending CO has to wear one on his/ her head for a full week.
I'll seek out Assumpta the most pious civil servant the Department has ever employed and fill her desk drawers with them when she isn't looking. And stick one over the mini statue of the Virgin Mary on her desk to really set the whole thing off.
I may even put them to use in their intended purpose. Flattery will get me everywhere.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
First of all, a haircut for the lawn which, if a lawn could be compared to a person, would be Brian May. Or Slash.
Throwing on my old tracksuit bottoms and baggy t-shirt, I bounded gleefully out the back door and begin the slaying of the grass. When that's done, I decided to tidy up the edges and pulled on a pair of sturdy gloves, in order to pull up nettles, thistles, atropha belladonna, hemlock, stinking bindweed and all the other nasties that seemed to have congregated for a weed convention among my gladioli.
I filled a whole sack with the stuff. And as I picked up all the waste vegetation, I felt a draught on my back. "Oh bollocks, stupid tracksuit bottoms, the old builder's bum is showing again" I thought. I stood up, hitching up the offending leisurewear. At the precise moment the next door neighbour stuck her head out of her upstairs window and went "Jesus Govstooge, the place is looking lovely! It's like the Botanical Gardens".
"Er, no it's not." I responded, pointing in the direction of the Asiatic lilies, stripped of their vermilion petals by the recent high winds, "But thanks anyway. I try." More pleasantries were exchanged. And my ego was massaged for a little bit, even if some of the praise was tongue in cheek. But all I could think of was "did she see my bum cleft?"
Anyway, it's all looking slightly neater out there now.
The triffids are thriving.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
It has unfortunately come to my attention that some of you have a nasty habit of creeping up on me while I'm working.
I wouldn't mind if your advances were directly related to my area of work, or even vaguely GAA-themed.
However, when you flip flop up to my desk chewing gum in my ear and ask me (without even so much as a "please" I might add) to tell Antigone when she's off the phone that you have gone for tea, don't expect a smile and a cheery "Sure"!
You'll be lucky to get a curt nod. Like you did today. Try it tomorrow, and the result might be different. I might just chase you through the section throwing staplers, forms and other random office paraphernalia in your general direction. Because I'm trying to concentrate on what I'm doing. Your spearmint-tinged halitosis has just sent me back to square one.
This is not confined to my immediate colleagues, but extends to those of you "visiting" from other sections also. I don't know most of you from Adam, so why pick me to pass on a message?
Just fuck off.
Or I'll bite.
CC: Facilities Management
Where's the fucking perspex screen for around my desk?
Friday, July 31, 2009
In spite of the moods, the flailing about, the swearing, the general scowling that I was demonstrating earlier this year, my HEO is happy with me!
Well, the job is being done, and on time. And that's the bottom line I suppose. And no-one's really been hurt.
So, I'm a pretty decent, if sweary, EO.
Take note, Bord Snip.
I probably have the right temperament to be levied off from my current Department to the Department of Social and Family Affairs. DSFA are conscripting civil servants from all other Departments to help with the backlog.
I'll probably remain under the radar, but I could prove to be a powerful weapon in dealing with some of the more errant and antisocial claimants in the dole office:
CO: Govstooge, that man over there's pissing on the floor!
Govstooge: Pass me my machete. It's sausage time. (Leaps over counter).
Govstooge: Here, you can't consume alcohol on these premises.
Wino Claimant: Burp! Fuck off!
Govstooge: Make me. Oh look, I've grabbed your wine. And you're too pissed to get up and do something about it. Not to worry, I'll have security help you to the door.
Wino Claimant: Belch! Y'bitch! Gaargh!
Govstooge: Let's see what it is. Ooh, Buckfast. Reminds me of college. Shame it's been in the gob of someone who reeks of wee. But I think there's a drain around the back that needs unblocking. Next time can you bring in some Dutch Gold so we can at least share them? There's a good chap.
Might be fun, now that I think of it.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
It is 10.45. I am about to get up from my desk to go to the canteen for my tea break.
All of a sudden...
Govstooge: (Jaysus) Yes, O boss?
HEO: How is everything going?
Govstooge: Fine. Same as yesterday.
HEO: How did you get on with that job I gave you last week?
Govstooge: I told you yesterday, the person I need to speak to is out sick, and there's no-one else to cover. They're not due back until next Tuesday.
HEO: Oh yes, now I remember. And, is there anything else?
Govstooge: No, nothing.
HEO: You're sure now? You would tell me?
Govstooge: Of course. (I edge towards the door.)
HEO: Oh and one other thing...
Govstooge: (Jesus, you've been in since 9 and you pick this time to talk to me?) What?
HEO: Have a nice tea break! (Heh heh heh, that's at least five minutes knocked off Govstooge's tea break. A new personal best. Must put it down in the log. Muahahahaha.)
Govstooge: For fuck's sake.
Has the world gone mad?
Eighty fucking grand? To read the fucking paper? Ah come on now.
I'll do it for forty. No quibbling!
Ok, so there are underlying causes such as harassment which can occur at all levels, and to be fair to him his complaint to his Personnel Officer about being idle went unheeded, but it does raise the question of how many civil servants are sitting doing nothing in single-occupancy offices. Heck, there are many in open-plan areas doing fuck all!
I'm not one of these by the way. I have a wide area of responsibility and rarely get a moment to myself. I'm also not in a position to be idle, given that my desk and computer monitor are visible from a wide area and by many people at any one time. I'm not senior ( by way of rank or tenure) enough to hold the coveted corner desk within my unit which guarantees privacy for the incumbent to surf the net, watch DVDs and follow auctions on eBay. This prime location belongs to a HEO who, funnily enough, likes to delegate a lot of stuff to the EOs. A HEO who's not very fast with the Alt and Tab when I approach with a form to be signed off or a question, so I can usually see what's on the screen, or I can just glance at the task bar. Invariably, it is something completely frivolous. Nice work if you can get it, eh?
It's demoralising for those of us in the lower ranks who are not afforded these luxuries of time and optimum accommodation, and who actually do stuff.
But it's not restricted to the public sector, might I add. I had a manager in the private sector who used to spend hours on the boardroom phone talking to her daughter in New Zealand. On company time, at company expense. She was never taken to task about it. I think the bandages on the Managing Director's head had something to do with that.
I've said it before, in hierarchical organisations the higher up you go the less you have to do. So Bord Snip and dear old Lenno would do well to focus on many of the useless layers of middle and senior management when considering how to make cuts. Fuck it, the EOs and SOs run the bloody places anyway!
P.S. I'm not at work right now by the way!
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
HEO: Govstooge, why haven't you conducted interim PMDS reviews with your staff this summer?
Govstooge: Well, maybe if you didn't have such a fetish for listening to Gerry Ryan every morning talking about his holidays and the latest Danish pastry he's shoving down his gob, you might have heard. Actually, now that I seem to know more than you do, can I have your salary?
Monday, July 6, 2009
So, I fired off this missive.
Monday, June 29, 2009
The report of the Special Group on Public Service Numbers and Expenditure Programmes (or Bord Snip Nua) is to be presented to our interestingly-coiffed Minister for Finance tomorrow.
Expect lightning bolts to come out of the Department of Finance striking random public servants and erasing them from the payroll. Expect poison in the water coolers. Expect much noise from the CPSU. Expect the cheerful face of Turlough O'Sullivan of IBEC grinning as he rubs his hands with glee as yet another axe is taken to public-sector pay. Expect confirmation of the hideous rumours circulating on the news. Possibly two thousand less Gardai on the streets? Never mind, we'll send Turlough et al. into Limerick and watch gurriers and gang members flee as they suck the life out of them, too. Muahhahhahaa. Problem solved.
As far as I know, the report won't be released into the public domain. I'm wondering if any recommendations will be made on TD pay, expenses and numbers. Or will the Brians do some convenient "snipping" of their own, to limit the damage?
Biffo: OK Lenno, let's go over this report.
Lenno: Oops! Butterfingers! Gosh this scissors is sharp.
Biffo: Try not to get blood on it, will you. We don't want the civil service to get suspicious.
Lenno: Sorry, Boss. Anyway, that bit about reducing TD and Ministers' pay by 50% is gone.
Biffo: Good work, Brian. Give yourself a pay rise.
Oh to be a fly on the wall.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The temperatures in Ballyfuck/ Department mean it is no longer possible for me to wear my shirty-type blouses at work / driving to work without melting. And nobody wants to step in a puddle that was once an EO.
So I've had to rummage around in the back of the wardrobe for more suitable stuff.
The criteria are:
1. That it must fit. Given that I've not worn some of these things since we last had sun in 2006, the chances are slim (ha!) to none.
2. It must not be stained. Curry / beer stains undermine my authority as a supervisor and just show me off to be the beer swigging, vindaloo munching person that I really am.
3. It must not reveal my cleavage in any way (i.e. no "pulling" tops. Even though they are perfect in terms of aeration, I still don't want the leery guy from the neighbouring section trying to get a look at my bra while I'm at the printer).
4. It must not be part of my typical weekend going-down-the-pub-for-pints wear: i.e. Father Jack/ Che Guevara/Guinness/ Munster RFC/ GAA are out.
Anyway, I managed to find some stuff that met all these criteria. Yes, even the first one... I am actually more svelte than in 2006, apparently.
Gleefully pulling a respectable, fitted garment over my head this morning I took some time to assess the look in the mirror. My top, though it fitted me, looked far from flattering...
What the hell... WHY DO I LOOK LIKE I HAVE EXTRA NIPPLES? I look like a less well endowed cousin of the Triple Breasted Whore of Eroticon Six! (With apologies to Douglas Adams) Oh, wait, it's just the seam on my bra. Umm... that won't do. I don't want to draw Leery Guy's attention. Maybe if I get a top in a different fabric the seam won't show. Err... no, that won't work either. Maybe a different bra... (and so on. )
I finally leave the house satisfied that there are no lumps or bumps where they shouldn't be. Behind me I have left a trail of destruction. It looks like Bannockburn after the battle, except with clothes and differently seamed bras, not bodies and broken, bloody swords. To be tidied up when I get home. I'm late for work as it is.
I find my winter wardrobe far easier to cope with. You can hide everything under those layers.
By the way, this is the first time I've mentioned the word "Nipples" in a blog post. It's downhill from here, I'm afraid...
Monday, June 22, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Edited highlights as follows:
The Unseen PMDS reports
CO No. 1
Manager’s Comment on Overall Performance
CO No. 1
What can I say? Simply super. If there was such a thing as the Golden Clerical Officer Award, this person would win hands down. A shining example to all
What (if any) improvements in performance are needed?
Try not to put so many raisins in the cakes you bake. They give me the squits.
CO No. 2
Manager’s Comment on Overall Performance
Average. Overall organisational skills poor.
What (if any) improvements in performance are needed?
For god’s sake, can’t you just take half an hour out and clean your fucking desk? There is a limit to the number of flies and dead mice we can tolerate in a workplace. How the fuck do you even find anything? How do I even know you’re at work behind all that lot?
CO No. 3
Manager’s Comment on Overall Performance
Adequate. Very pleasant demeanour among colleagues and members of the public alike.
What (if any) improvements in performance are needed?
Co-operation with management would be appreciated. Don’t you think the voodoo doll of me under your keyboard is unnecessary? Ouch.
CO No. 4
Manager’s Comment on Overall Performance
Completely useless. If I had my way I would give you your P45, rip your arms off and beat you to death with the wet end and leave your remains to the mercy of the starving feral cats behind the canteen. I have to check up on you more times a day than a middle-aged man with prostatic hypertrophy has to go to the toilet.
What (if any) improvements in performance are needed?
Actually doing something would help. Curbing the number of times you phone friends from work and access your Bebo page (how old are you?!?) is a start. Also, not standing around in the corridors with other slackers bitching about your manager is recommended. I will assist you in all of these by ripping the comms cables out of your PC and phone and tying you to the chair with them. CO No. 5 Manager’s Comment on Overall Performance Unsure. Employee is frequently out sick. What (if any) improvements in performance are needed? At least TRY to remember what your job is. Having to conduct on the job training, induction and introductions every time you’re in work is tiresome for me and has an impact on my own workload. CO No. 6 Manager’s Comment on Overall Performance Good but very tentative about coming forward with problems. What (if any) improvements in performance are needed?
CO No. 5
Manager’s Comment on Overall Performance
Unsure. Employee is frequently out sick.
What (if any) improvements in performance are needed?
At least TRY to remember what your job is. Having to conduct on the job training, induction and introductions every time you’re in work is tiresome for me and has an impact on my own workload.
CO No. 6
Manager’s Comment on Overall Performance
Good but very tentative about coming forward with problems.
What (if any) improvements in performance are needed?Try not to be so scared of me. I don’t bite. Except on Mondays.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
However, if anyone wants to support my proposition for an amendment to the constitution to dissolve the Dail (preferably in a large vat of hydrochloric acid) and to put the A-team in charge, then please let me know.
Yes, the A-Team are fictional. But so was the Celtic Tiger. Tiger my hole. It was more like one of the mangy cats that fight and copulate round the back of the Department's canteen.
I availed myself of a leisurely stroll today (hence the constitutional) and spent some time ruminating on the world around me. Things I pondered were:
1. Why do those middle aged ladies windmill their arms while walking really fast? They look stupid.
2. Why do those girls wear their oversized sunglasses on top of their heads? They look really stupid.
3. Why is that guy in the tracksuit warming up for his run by jumping around like an E-head at a music festival? He looks really, really stupid.
4. Why is that office worker walking around with a scowl on her face? She looks... oh, wait, that's me. Must have been an out-of-body experience. I've got to stop doing that.
Anyway, I thought some more about what I can do to fill the void created by my not having to conduct a dozen interim reviews with my clerical staff this summer.
Bugger all, basically. Unless I want to devise the MOTHER OF ALL FORMS that will replace all the bureaucratic strictures forevermore, thereby cutting costs and making me the saviour of the economy and curing world hunger, swine flu and athlete's foot to boot (pun not intended). Meh, I don't think so. I'd have to fill out too many forms to do it.
What I could do, however is attempt to rectify my dwindling post count on this blog. So, I'm hoping to make more frequent posts from now on. Must keep those creative juices flowing for the other projects I work on in my free time.
By the look of things on my stroll today, there are plenty of things to whine on about.
Life is good.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
But – wait a minute! There has to be something for Govstooge to get fucked off about! For a civil servant who has made whingeing and moaning an art form it is inconceivable that the good humour should persist.
And yes, it’s true. I have found something new to mouth off about.
I have written previously about the summer fashions on display in the Department – fucking flip flops, fantastic for the beach but utterly annoying in an open-plan office (rhythmic whacking - making the entire place sound like a S&M festival), not to mention DANGEROUS!
Just to go further afield, I decided earlier in the week to avail myself of some flexible leave and visit my nearest urban centre to purchase some more suitable attire for this weather. I failed miserably. I returned home with €30 worth of books and some fancy naan breads and a new and interesting type of cheese.
Women’s summer fashions in high street shops make me despair. I look round at what other women are wearing and it’s either tight tops that accentuate all the wobbly bits or else it’s big tent-like kaftany things that hide all the wobbly bits yet leave you looking like a marquee. And then there are the ones that have no fabric whatsoever on the back. No thanks. I’m finding it absolutely impossible to find dignified summer wear this year.
I am not a large lady by any means. I’m a size 12 on my bottom half and slightly bigger on top. But I have some wobbly bits. I refuse to have my midriff on display. Anything tight is out, out, out, because I will be adjusting it all day. I wear full-length trousers or skirts, because I look like a knob in shorts with my knobbly knees. Pale, ghostly, knobbly knees. So, I’m stuck with cheap polo shirts from Penney’s, which usually shrink at the first wash. And their current ones have horizontal stripes, which make me look five feet wide. Where are all the bloody plain ones?
My large collection of t-shirts bought on holidays or received as gifts are my only recourse. Some of them are baggy and leave me with a lovely farmer’s tan which stops halfway up my upper arm. These, combined with baggy combat pants, make me look like I’m permanently a student or just back from a music festival. Timeless, yes, but boring. But it’ll have to do.
I needn’t have bothered trying to update my wardrobe. The weather’s to break today or tomorrow. In fact, as I write, the sun has disappeared and returned to its rightful home several hundred miles further south.
Certain dodgy items of clothing will hopefully be put away as the sun fades... I was horrified to see that every second young fella in town was wearing those “bloomers” or Bermuda short-type things. Often with floral patterns. Cool they may be to wear and obviously fashionable, but they are GAY. Especially when coupled with skinny white torsos and legs (or red peeling ones). Jesus, they’re rotten! How can they think they look good in them? Since when have pink floral patterns been in for guys anywhere other than San Francisco?
I did enjoy the sun while it lasted. But I missed my ranting. It’s good to be back.
Monday, May 25, 2009
The Department of Finance has issued a warning in which salary increments may not be paid to members if they refuse to co-operate with the PMDS process. I'm glad that I agreed all role profile forms for 2009 long before all this with everyone, so that they won't lose out for this year. But there's very little else that I can do apart from that.
I mean, I can't start drafting any Interim Review Forms. Ah, Interim Review forms. My staff have been very clear on the matter.
"We're not doing PMDS anymore!" they jeered at me, with tongues extended, blowing raspberries.
"Oh yeah?" I retorted. "I'm really sorry to hear that. Do you realise how much I love writing up all those interim review forms? And Annual Review forms? I mean, my whole YEAR revolved around filling those things up. What is the purpose of my existence now? Was my existence not solely to fill out forms about key performance indicators and critical success factors? What do I do now? Am I adrift in a sea of blank forms?"
I've no doubt it will come back to haunt me and all the other EOs up and down the country who would normally be carrying out interim reviews in the coming weeks.
I'm just going to concentrate on my other work (for there is no shortage of that, either) and let the rest of them battle it out. I hope it all works out in the end.
Thankfully, I have many interests outside of work. Outdoor pursuits like hiking and cycling, writing this stuff, attempting to resurrect two unfinished novels and endeavouring to delight my palate and those of my occasional dinner guests with delectable and spicy Indian goodness. And not always succeeding. Well, that's part of the fun, I find.
I love to talk about food with my like-minded colleagues. We share tips and tricks and meal suggestions.
Today, I engaged in a discussion with a colleague about what to do with leftover star anises which sometimes find their way to the back of the cupboard and get forgotten about. (That's ANISES, not ANUSES! Although Anuses are sometimes referred to as Chocolate Starfish.) I got a tip to try boiling one with rice and turmeric. Hmm. I will try that later in the week. With a star anise. Not an anus. I don't particularly want my rice to taste of boiled anus. Blehh.
A nosey colleague happened to enter the office just as we were discussing this, and wandered over to listen to the conversation. When it finished she inhaled deeply and blurted:
Nosey: Wow, you're quite the cook, Govstooge? Aren't you?
Govstooge: I try.
Nosey: Is it just Indian stuff you do?
Govstooge: No. I try everything. But Indian's my favourite.
Nosey: Wow. You should be a chef!
Govstooge (Thinks: Umm. Is somebody looking to wangle an invite to one of my curry nights? Just so she can have a look round my house? Well, I'm fucked if that's going to happen, so...) No, Antigone. I couldn't possibly be a chef.
Nosey: Why not?
Govstooge: Because the doctors told me I can't work with knives. You see I have this uncontrollable urge to cut. Others who stand so close to me, usually. Like you're doing now.
Nosey: (Running away) Waah!
Govstooge: But I don't have a knife now! Just this pointy letter opener....
I'm sure my readers of the psychiatric profession are now consulting their Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals. But really, it's a defence mechanism against intrusiveness. I hope our Personnel Department feel the same way.
Anyway, tonight's Tarka Dhal was rather nice indeed. I didn't even burn it or anything!
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Trying to recover from a cheap lager-induced hangover while watching reruns of The Office (Steve Carrell version). It's like a work simulation. I know somebody at work who could be Dwight. In fact, he even looks like Dwight.
Going outside now before I punch the telly...
Sunday, May 17, 2009
But Cirque de Soleil were bloody excellent and the interval act featuring giant suspended swimming pools was just extrordinary. As was the almost 100% accurate Ronan Keating clone who represented Denmark. I always suspected that there was a degree of genetic engineering going on in boy-band circles, and this only serves to confirm my suspicions.
Jaysus, I'm going to print this picture off and stick it on my desk. It'll be a nice distraction from the forms on a bad day. Yum yum yum yum yum.
Oslo next year I think!!
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I enter my favourite cubicle, the one near the window.
I stop dead in my tracks. There is a spoon on the windowsill. That's right, a SPOON. From the canteen.
Just what the hell was that woman doing with a SPOON in the toilets?
I'm sure it has been returned to the canteen by now.
I'm never stirring my coffee again.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
In particular, several visits from a server at the National Center Of Neurology And Psychiatry, Saitama.
As always, I appreciate a new audience, but you'll have to forgive my ignorance on this one - I have absolutely no idea what possible interest Japanese psychiatrists or neurologists might have in my scribblings.
Can anyone shed any light? Preferably not of the axial tomography variety thank you very much.
To: All Lower Level Managers
From: Uber Senior Manager-in-Chief
It has been observed by those of us in the Ivory Tower (i.e. Senior Management floor) that many of you lower level plebs aren't doing your jobs properly, as there have been repeated incidents of extended watercooler chatting among the lower orders. This is detracting from the real work; in a time of recession we must be seen to be doing stuff. What if an external contractor were to come in to dust the forms and saw that and went out into the big bad world and tell their friends what we were up to in our nice civil service building?
So, in order to redress this problem, we are removing all watercoolers from use with immediate effect. There will now only be watercoolers in Senior Management offices dispensing Perrier, Cristal Champagne and liquid MDMA.
Please inform your staff that should they feel the need for liquid refreshment, there is water available on the roof. Or, alternately, they might adopt the practice of drinking their own wee-wee. Apparently there are health benefits to be had from this (Please contact the Employee Assistance Officer for further details). We don't know. We haven't tried it.
You should sell the additional obvious benefit of water conservation in the office to them as well, since they will no longer need to flush toilets. If this becomes a widespread practice, we might close the toilets altogether and this will facilitate new shiny offices for senior management without the need for a costly extension to the building.
Thank you for your co-operation.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I'm also one of those workers who runs up the stairs and hurtles down the corridor at warp speed even if I'm only going to the fax machine. This has the effect of scaring some people. Take for instance, the office bore. The office bore will meander his way through the doors in the morning, stop to talk at a colleague, scratch his bollocks, go to the watercooler and amble with a certain insouciance to his desk. Unless Govstooge is coming in the opposite direction. Whoosh. He is startled. He stands back. He looks behind him but I am long gone.
So, by being a bit scary at work and by running past him in the corridors, I can avoid being earwigged by the office bore.
But sometimes his curiosity gets the better of him and he spent most of this morning building up the courage to ask me about where I'd been for the past week. At roughly 3 o'clock he seizes the opportunity, overhearing me in conversation to a couple of my staff, and wanders over to join in. And boy, does he seize his opportunity! His staccato questioning is worthy of Nazi interrogators!
"So, Govstooge, you were away?"
"Was it warm?"
"Was the food nice?"
"What type of food?"
"Garlicky stuff, seafood. Foreign muck. You wouldn't like it."
"So you'd have to like garlic then."
"Did you swim?"
"No. But I did spend several hours looking at the lovely tanned men lounging on the beach, their bronzed biceps and sixpacks rippling in the sun. And nice tight buns encased in skintight thon..."
"Err..." Wanders back to own desk.
There you have it. The merest hint of sex. A non-scary defence mechanism. Works better than shouting at him to fuck off. Works best on those timid blokes who still live at home with their mums.
P.S. The local Sinn Fein candidate just called to my front door canvassing for the local election. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. Slurp slurp slurp.
"Cool", I replied, "what kind of stuff will you be doing? Nudies and that?"
"Nope. Still lifes."
"Oh right. So you'll be coming in here painting some of the employees at their desks then I take it?"
"If you don't mind."
"Oh, go on then."
Monday, April 27, 2009
Work fucking sucks. I come back from my break to find a WHOLE NEW FORM waiting for me. And not only do I have to fill it up, I have to fill one up for each CO as well. I have a lot of COs. That's a lot of writing. And a lot of pain for whoever has to look at them (if they do indeed look at them) because my handwriting is akin to that of a person with Parkinson's Disease attempting to write longhand while simultaneously bouncing up and down on a trampoline. Arse!
Another day of scowling and swearing behind me, I return home to find an invitation to a neighbour's Anne Summers party waiting for me. Yikes.
I'm just as much a fan of laughing at willie-shaped things as the next girl. I've been to Amsterdam and its various, ahem, museums and shops. I couldn't buy anything though because I was laughing too hard and anyway, I kept thinking about the airport security staff and their X-ray machines. In the end I plumped for a willie-shaped ice mould. Which the dog promptly ate when I brought it home. Git.
Anne Summers parties are different matters entirely. I don't fancy being in someone's house amidst girls tanked up on cheap chardonnay who are shrieking over frilly things and shoving great big plastic phalluses into each others faces. I think I would go mad. Besides, Amsterdam is anonymous, these things aren't. I might be subjected to "Whoa Govstooge, did you get a chance to wow himself with the lacy basque?" the next day when I walk to the newsagent for my paper.
Luckily, I have to be somewhere else on the night in question. I'm saving myself some considerable embarrasment.
Friday, April 17, 2009
I had better enjoy it.
The way things are going it could be my last holiday.
Spiros! Another beer please!
Friday, April 10, 2009
As previously mentioned, I am the section's unofficial IT go-to person. This means that I am the port of call for any niggling computer problem that my colleagues might have.
Sometimes my eagerness to help a colleague in distress overrides my hatred of blatant stupidity and poor manners. My normal acid tongue just doesn't manifest itself. Yesterday, for instance:
The office bore, a grey little chap, approaches me meekly:
"Govstooge, how do I send an email to the whole section?"
"Ok, Declan, open up a new email window. There, at the top left of the screen, where it says 'New'... now do you see the address book icon at the top? Click that. Do you have anything set up under groups? Yes... GROUPS... there at the top left... no... LEFT. There. You have it set up already. Now just select and the name of the group will appear in the email window. When you send, everyone will get it."
"What do I do next?"
"Write your email as normal..." I return to my desk, my unfinished sentence reverberating around my head "... do you expect me to do THAT for you as well?"
Not even so much as a "Thank you Govstooge." Next time he asks for my help I will say "THANK YOU GOVSTOOGE" as loud as I possibly can when I finish, so that everyone in our section, and the neighbouring sections and possibly the senior manager at the end of the corridor can hear it. Simple manners cost absolutely nothing, Declan.
Mind you, I get a chance to retaliate a few minutes later, when Declan sidles over to my desk once again.
"I was at the dentist the other day. He says I have to get a bit of work done..."
"Yeah, quite a lot actually."
Silence. The vein in my temple is starting to throb, though, and the only sound coming from me is my measured breathing, an attempt to restrain myself from doing something I might get sacked for.
Declan catches the eye of another CO who is just unfortunate enough to glance up from their work at this time and wanders over to his new audience to continue his story of pain at the dentist.
Yes, simple manners cost nothing, but sometimes, life is too short.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I think now, with the income levy going up to 2% and the increased "Health levy" which I never knew I was paying in the first place, I think my income might now be so low as to qualify me for a full medical card.
And the great thing about full medical cards? You're exempt from the poxy income levy. Worth it for that alone, even if you never see the doctor.
Tell your friends.
Monday, April 6, 2009
I crash through the toilet doors and barely notice the two people at the sinks as I lurch towards a stall.
Having successfully completed my business without spilling a drop, I wash my hands and return to the section.
"Ooh Govstooge, you were in a hurry back there," a colleague's voice calls from across the section. "You didn't even stop to talk when I was in the bathrooms."
Now, toilets are for weeing and pooing into (just weeing for me at work). Sinks are for washing hands and the tap with the boiling water coming out of it is handy if I want to strip a layer of skin that I don't need any more.
Workplace bathroom facilities are not places for congregating socially. Not for me. I can't understand why (why, goddamn it!) some folk at work like to stand there and gossip for ages. Especially when someone's just dropped the kids off at the pool and the stench is slowly spreading. Why would you want to stand there and inhale all that?
I treat workplace loos as a necessary evil. Joining in conversations there in the presence of other people's bodily functions is not an option for me.
So I responded to the colleague: "Sorry. I was trying to get in and out without having to breathe. Lunch was half an hour ago and I was afraid what might assault my nostrils as a result when I went in."
It shut my colleague up. Which led me to think that they might be the culprit.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
When called on for my own contribution I politely declined (lack of alcohol being a factor) due to my not knowing any songs. Well, nothing that would stand up to the calibre of material being belted out by my companions. So I promised that next time I would have a couple of turns memorised.
For the record, the only songs I know from the top of my head are:
The Spongebob Squarepants Theme Song
The Accountancy Shanty, Penis Song, Every Sperm is Sacred from Monty Python's Meaning of Life
My Lovely Horse from Father Ted (The one-note version).
People are Strange by the Doors
And I forgot to mention that I don't sing them very well.
So I've got a mandate to memorise a few of Ella Fitzgerald(my favourite female vocalist)'s songs in order to fulfil my promise and impress the others.
And if I can change the lyrics to suit myself it'll be a little bit easier for me to remember them.
So far, I have in mind:
Slap that Face
Wire me to the Moon
Orgy and Bess
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
I wasn't taken in by the promise of free scones in the canteen. And the zombie attack was fooling no-one. I've said before, zombie attacks only work in places where you can tell the living and the dead apart.
Anyway, I took some time out to get away from it all. I took a leisurely stroll around the unremarkable environs of the Department for some fresh air and exercise (remember folks - only YOU can prevent the spread of CIVIL SERVANT ARSE (Gluteus bureaucraticus giganticus).
It was a nice day where I was. A cafe with outdoor seating was doing a roaring trade. I've never been there. And it's just as well I didn't want to go today, because there was a bum on every seat. I'm not sure why. It wasn't that warm to sit outside. It was ok to walk around without a coat on, but not to sit in one spot, outdoors, with a nasty breeze blowing up the leg of your jeans. And, in addition, while sitting outside, you can get a nice lungful of the carbon monoxide belched out by passing traffic and the idling Landrover abandoned at the blind corner by the yummy mummy with the gigantic sunglasses who just popped in to get a brioche (I thought most of these were extinct now, but no, some of them are still clinging on). So I gave that one a miss, regardless of how tempting the scones and cakes looked and smelt as I passed.
I wasn't alone in my activity. There were several joggers about. Joggers! Gurrgh! I don't have a a problem with jogging as a form of exercise. I DO have a problem with the fact that they have a rotten habit of jogging right up behind me to overtake as I walk, no matter how wide the pavement is. Hey, assholes, I'm walkin' here! I'm sticking my leg out the next time they do that!
Maybe I should have stayed in at my break and gone along with the pranks. It might have been safer.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Well, as I gleaned today from a circular, there is going to be a freeze on all recruitment and promotions until the end of 2010. That means I'm stuck as an EO for another two years, roughly (yes, though I might moan about HEOs a lot, I would never refuse a HEO pay packet). So I'd better start taking this EO malarkey a bit more seriously. Especially now that there isn't a ponderous deadline hovering over me and I now have no excuse to keep ignoring my staff.
As a consequence, I've started to notice things aren't quite as they should be.
I have my noisy CO (see the previous post) - a trial all of its own. And shoving a gobstopper in the CO's mouth wouldn't solve anything, it would merely result in incessant slurpy sucky sounds, which turn my stomach. I have requisitioned a large industrial type stapler from supplies, but with the cutbacks, I'm not holding out much hope. Glue may be my only recourse.
I also have my slacker CO. Whose desk is in such a position that I can't creep up behind them to see what's on their computer monitor. Slacker likes to shoot the breeze with Noisy and might also merit glue on occasion. Slacker will do anything but work. If there is a training course on advanced phytomechanics (I don't know if such a discipline exists, but it sounds impressive) Slacker's name will be on the booking sheet. Just to get away from the actual job and all the forms. Slacker will leave the section - ostensibly to go to the toilet, but if I happen to walk down the corridor ten minutes later I will invariably find Slacker deep in conversation with another slacker. A rap on the knuckles is coming, and it's coming fast. I've already been in touch with the local ironmonger's re manufacturing a set of manacles with a chain that I can attach to the desk to ensure the work is done, and above all, that I don't look bad to my own superiors.
Those are the folk who deserve a bollocking. Slightly annoying, and not in line for any sort of dressing down, are the following:
The very very quiet people. People who just get on with what they've been asked to do quietly and without complaint. I love them. They don't cause me any headaches. But sometimes quietness might actually be reticence... for example, in a PMDS meeting:
Govstooge: So, any upward feedback? Be as scathing as you like.
CO: No, I'm happy enough.
Govstooge: That's great, but if something was wrong you'd let me know, right?
CO: Well.... actually... now that you mention it...
Meeting lasts half an hour longer than it's supposed to while the CO outlines their problems.
I still love them though. They make me look good.
And the hypochondriacs.
A CO rings in sick:
CO: Yeah, I'm going to the doctor later. I've got the shits real bad. And there was blood in it. I might have to give a sample to the hospital. I hope it's not anything more serious. I know someone who had bowel cancer you know. And they had a septic toe. Come to think of it, one of my toes is sort of tingling right now. I had athlete's foot last month. God. It stank. I left my sock out of the wash once by accident and when I found it a couple of days later it had three Portobello mushrooms growing on it.
CO: They went very nice in my risotto... Govstooge? Are you still there?
I really need a new job. But where can I go? Plus, as a civil servant of a few years' standing, I am now totally unemployable elsewhere, and stuck at my current level for the foreseeable future.
I did something terrible in a past life, and this is now the karmic consequence.
Maybe I was Hitler's marching music composer.