Thursday, February 26, 2009

Waiting for the Great Leap Forward

I’ve often imagined what a world without clerical officers constantly competing for your attention would be like. And I have to say, it’s pretty damn boring, and far from the nice quiet Utopia I had imagined.

I made the extra effort today to get into work about twenty minutes before the picket lines were set up. I wasn’t alone. It was scarcely bright outside and the place was full of sheepish looking EOs and HEOs. A tumbleweed overtook me as I walked with coffee in hand down the corridor to my own section, where I was joined later by some EO colleagues and the HEO. It was business as usual for us, and I put away the vodka bottle I had been saving for later.

Later I joined a cluster of managers having a look out the top floor window at the picket line outside. Cars were passing tooting their horns in what seemed to be support. Some colleagues were in it walking around in circles and holding placards. One looked up and spotted me grinning out the window and waved back with a middle finger extended.

Some EOs were driven mental by their striking subordinates phoning their own work extensions from the picket line for a joke. They sat through the cacophony rather than taking the COs' phones off the hook. Silly EOs.

In my own immediate area it was quiet as fuck. Nothing, and I mean nothing, happened. I was beginning to have clerical officer withdrawal symptoms. I missed the proffered leave forms, the queries from the public, the random shite spewed by the office bore, the humming colleagues (humming tunes, that is, not humming as in "somewhat lacking in personal hygiene" - because I wouldn't miss those).

As I was leaving the COs were chanting loudly and I didn't want them to add "scab" (I'm not! I didn't touch their work!) to their repertoire. I managed to slip out unnoticed.

I can't believe I missed them all, today though. Because tomorrow I will be contemplating killing them all over again.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Where's Govstooge?

It's official (again); my lot, members of the Public Service Executive Union are now going to be on strike. I'm not sure yet if we are going to join the ICTU's general strike on March 30th. I've been at home sick with a head full of snot so haven't been in touch with my union brethren. However, I will be picketing the Department when called along with other pissed off EOs and HEOs. It would be rude not to!

I'm expecting a scene like this, like the drama queen I am. Can you find me?

Oh, and my favourite image from last Saturday's protest in Dublin.

I take it these students are not planning to study English.

Now playing: The Chemical Brothers - Das Spiegel
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, February 21, 2009

More Civil Service Maths

Honestly, these are the kind of things they should be asking questions on in the aptitude tests for EO competitions.

The ineptitude of a CO is directly proportionate to the likelihood of their trying to come round you to scab some extra time off. If the plan to get time off becomes increasingly complicated, then the aptitude for performing routine tasks satisfactorily declines proportionately.

CO+EO = performance review meeting
EO + HEO = Performance review meeting / plotting against certain COs
CO+ HEO - EO = CO doesn't like EO but needs a manager to sign a form for them.
CO+HEO-EO*(HEO + EO) = HEO tells EO anyway and EO gets pissed off at CO.
CO+EO / HEO = EO gives CO a bollocking with backing of HEO
CO+CO+CO = Bitching about managers

Ok, they're not very good, but I never said I was John Nash...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

You can't get me, I'm part of the Union....

I got my ballot paper on the proposed industrial action regarding the Pensions Levy from my trade union today. My union are proposing up to two days' strike action. With strike pay equivalent to net pay. (I'm wondering will "net" be with or without the deduction of the Pensions Levy?)

Tomorrow we will know the result of the equivalent CPSU ballot on their proposed industrial action to take place on the 26th February.

If this does go ahead, I'm wondering what the rest of us do.

There are no plans that I'm aware of to close Government Departments on that date. The rest of us will probably have to take up the slack in dealing with queries from the public and other duties. Meaning getting leave on that particular day is probably out of the question. At least, for those of us who will, on that day, be at the very bottom of the pecking order. Nads.

Is it really "passing a picket" if the rest of us are likely to be striking on the same thing at a later date? It's probably not, but if I do have to come into work on that date I'm going to make my own placard with "I'm a fucking EO, I couldn't get the day off, leave me alone" for the benefit of any militant strikers who may not know me.

I've never been on strike before, so I'll have to put a survival kit together for the days. So far I've listed:

- Waterproof gear, in case it rains (hope the union laminate the placards so the ink doesn't run, because then we would look completely fucking stupid)
- Earplugs so we can't hear the abuse passing members of the public who were recently made redundant will roar at us (I'm a sensitive soul really)
- Large hipflask full of lovely yummy single malt Scotch to keep me warm.
- Throat lozenges
- Shovel for digging latrine
- A set of those foot outlines people put on the floor when they're learning to dance, so we are all co-ordinated and don't crash into each other. The corner of a placard could take someone's eye out you know.
- A second placard with "HELLO MUM" on it in case a TV crew stop by.

Viva La Revolucion!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Blogging is great (I almost typed "blooging" which made me laugh hysterically because it's a completely silly word). It connects you with other curmudgeons and sweary ranters from all over the world.

I discovered this morning that my blog is the latest to receive the Golden Umbrella Award ... all the way from Arizona.

It's a lovely honour, and I have a picture of a urinal to put on my blog now, which is perfect, given my obsession with all things toilet-related.

It's nice to know that my swearing and bitching are appreciated from so far afield. Thanks again, Umbrella (The cash prize is on the way, right?!?)

The Hate Issue...

As is my wont on this suppurating-pustule-on-a-greeting-card-company-marketing-executive's-arse of a day, I dedicate this post to the things I truly hate. Allow me to vent my spleen in the most bilious manner.

In no particular order, I bring you...

1. Hallmark holidays. I have been, for the greater part of my life, a singleton, and proud of it. I refuse to engage in any activity in pubs or restaurants on this date. I could have conformed and accepted the invitation to go out from an ex-boyfriend who has been getting back in touch, but instead I slagged him for being corny and made arrangements for next week instead. And to bring flowers if he wanted. Flowers that aren't marked up by 100% for the day that's in it. There's a recession on don't ya know. Oh, and Halloween is shite as well. They'll be exchanging cards for that next.

2. Our Government. They're completely shit. I don't blame Brian Cowen. I blame Bertie for dumping him in the shite. 1% income levy, stupid pension levy, soon I'll be paying the Department for the privilege of working there. And this is just the beginning. The Government have plans to cut spending right up to 2013.

As hundreds of people are made redundant every week, I am grateful for merely having a job, and acknowledge that we should make sacrifices (like the 3.5% pay increase on September 1st under the National Pay Agreement which has now been axed). What's pissing off many of us lower and middle-income public servants, however, is how we are being villified by the media, (did you know that as a post-1995 recruit, I was paying my own pension all along?) and also the fucking disgusting incompetence of senior bank executives, who have gotten away with murder!

No-one's going to have much sympathy for us paper-pushers if we go on strike, but why take it lying down? Steeeee-RIKE!

3. The bloke with a chocolate addiction who sits at the opposite end of the section to me. His man-boobs have increased from a B-cup to a C-cup since last summer, and worst of all, I can hear every bite. Even at that distance. Bleurgh. You disgusting noisy-eating bastard.

4. The wet patch in my back garden. It makes noise when I walk on it.

5. The voice of a worker in a neighbouring section that can be heard over a considerable distance. I'm sure she is a very nice person, but her voice could cut sheet metal!

6. The fact that the neighbour who backs onto me STILL hasn't taken down his outdoor Christmas decorations. I can see Santa on his roof as I type. Lazy twat.

Ummm.... that's about it. Must be losing my touch.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The IT Crowd

I have been adopted as our section's unofficial IT person. Yes, the Department has its own IT section full of staffless EOs (Jammy Bastards!) who have all the permissions to change settings, install software etc, but why drag them all the way down to us for piddling little operational matters, when there's a spare EO floating around the section just dying for something to help with (yeah, right).

I admit, I like technology and gadgets. I've ripped my own PC apart and rebuilt it with extra bits. And it didn't explode. Not even when I spilt coffee on it. I like messing with spreadsheets and formulae and macros and Photoshop and all kinds of boring stuff. So, when new to the job, I was eager to show off my prowess and lent a hand where I could. Assuming, of course, that all my colleagues knew the basic stuff.

Most of them did.

Others are complete luddites and have managed to work in an office for several years without learning anything beyond turning the thing on.

Yes, really!

Here are some of the IT emergencies I've helped with in the recent past.

CO: Govstooge! My monitor's switched itself off!
Govstooge: You've kicked the switch under your desk off. Try not to think about auditioning for Riverdance while you're working.

CO: My spreadsheet's disappeared!
Govstooge: No it hasn't. You minimised it.

CO: How do I attach a file to an email?
Govstooge: Get onto Supplies and ask them for a set of digital staples (Jeesus!).

CO: The printer's out of paper!
Govstooge: Here's a blank A4 sheet. Go to the photocopier and make some more.

CO: I was on the Internet looking up stuff and all of a sudden this 80s pop video came up on screen!
Govstooge: You've been Rickrolled. It happens to everyone sooner or later. You'll get over it.

Still, it's nice to know I'm needed. Bless 'em.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Full of beans.... (or not)

Jesus Christ, I’ve just recovered from some sort of infection in my bronchial tubes. I’ve been wheezing like Darth Vader’s granny for over a week now. The days when I was at work I could no longer launch surprise attacks on clerical officers as my rasping respiration meant my approach was no longer stealthy.

Today, though, I may just as well have not recovered. The day got off to a bad start. And not how the casual reader and weather enthusiast might think. Ok, the roads were dodgy this morning, but I did not at any stage put on an impromptu performance of Govstooge on Ice. Nor did any jeep-driving bastard drive up my hole with headlights on full. Maybe the recession is picking off some of these twats because I’m definitely seeing less of them.

I arrived at work with the same level of enthusiasm as one would expect for a Tuesday (marginally higher than Monday but significantly lower than Friday); and immediately went to get myself a coffee. Most mornings I get a coffee at work because I’m generally out of bed too late to get one before I leave the house.

This is where it all went wrong.

There was no hot water!!


Meaning that I had to face, for the first time EVER, the horror of FORMS, HEOS, Clerical Officers and jamming photocopiers, WITHOUT the aid of my favourite stimulant! Jesus Christ, the world’s a horrible place without caffeine.

I did manage to get some coffee at tea break time, but it was too late. The damage had already been done. The lack of legal, brown, Colombian marching powder in my synapses had plunged me into the deepest depression since the pensions levy. I was barely one step above catatonia on the Glasgow Coma Scale.

Today's exchanges generally went along the lines of:

HEO: Govstooge, going forward we will need a synergistic approach on this whole issue. I'd like you to touch base with your team on where we're at so that we are all singing from the same hymn sheet.

Govstooge: Unnnhgh....


CO: Govstooge, would you mind if I took the afternoon off?

Govstooge: Unnnhgh....


Forget mind-altering drugs, fags, alcohol, licking toads and hallucinogenic chilli peppers. Give me coffee any day. I'm an addict. I keep thinking about where my next cup's coming from. I bring it with me to meetings and training sessions. I've been known to make university lecturers end classes ten minutes early due to their being tempted by the aroma coming from the paper cup I brought with me into the lecture hall. Sometimes I'm so desperate I will even drink Maxwell House, just to keep the caffeine coursing through my bloodstream.

I'm not alone. Even that Lutheran organ master J.S. Bach composed a cantata about addiction to coffee in 1732. Now there's an aurally pleasing precedent!

What I've learnt today: ProPlus, though obviously no substitute for taste, is useful for emergencies such as today's. Failing that, keeping a stash of those coffee sachets that you get in hotel rooms for snorting. "Doing a line" of brown powder on your desk at 8.30 in the morning is a surefire way to put the wind up your colleagues.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

This job is great!

I'm starting, for the first time in 3 years, to enjoy this EO role. The managerial stuff is coming far more easily for me now.

I told a clerical officer today that "I'm allowed to slag you off. I'm an EO and you are here for my amusement and diversion."

Tomorrow I'm looking forward to bollocking another CO for disappearing for ages when they're clocked in. I've got one of those leg tags the police use for criminals under house arrest, and I'm going to clamp it to their ankle. Or I could just staple the CO to the chair. I haven't decided yet. Maybe the leg tag thing. If the CO had to use the toilet while stapled to their chair, there could be an almighty mess.

Heh heh heh.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Ah yes, our friends in IBEC got their pound of flesh. Happy now lads? What a lovely pension levy. Thanks to the recent debacle, I'm now down 20 quid a week. Well, shite. I'm going to have to sell the Damien Hirst now to make up for that.

Ah well, sure don't we all have to do our bit? All of us PAYE workers? Public and private alike? I mean, something has to be done on behalf of the incompetent top brass, in the banks, FAS, etc etc. It must be lonely for them now that they've gone, with only enormous golden handshakes to keep them company?

In the next election, I will be voting for the garden gnome in my next door neighbour's garden. It has more charisma, ability and intelligence than any of the current muppets, be they in government or opposition.

Monday, February 2, 2009


So I was in one of those bloody enormous retail park stores this afternoon after work. I was wandering around the big DIY outlet to see if I could pick up a bargain on housey stuff, like energy saving lightbulbs and shit.

A man walked up to me and asked me, "S'cuse me love, could you tell me where I can get two inch socket screws?"

I did a fairly reasonable "Uhuurgh?" grunt in the style of Tim the Tool Man from that dodgy 90s sitcom Home Improvement. This didn't confer any sense of authority on me at all whatsoever.

"Sorry, I thought you worked here!", said the man.

"Whut?" Ok, maybe if I was wearing bright coloured overalls, yes, that's a plausible mistake to make.

"Well, you've got a badge on," he continued, pointing to where it was, indeed, still hanging off my waistband. And went to search for a real member of staff.

Fucksticks. I've got to stop doing that, wandering out of work on autopilot, clocking out and then going about my business. It's not so bad being mistaken for an employee. But because it says the name of the Department I work for on it, it's obvious that I'm a civil servant. A civil servant with an evil grin, captured forever on a piece of rectangular plastic.

And the media / employers' groups haven't been kind to us of late. IBEC and their likes portray us as fat leeches, sucking all the good out of the public finances. Similarities have been drawn in recent weeks between us and the Jews in Weimar Germany.

So imagine, an identifiable civil servant, wandering around a DIY store unawares. There's chainsaws in there, you know. And axes. And pointy things.


Think I'd better remember to remove it in future.