Tuesday, March 31, 2009


...For Hitler (from The Producers - the original one!) was all I could find when trawling Limewire for recordings of Nazi marching songs to get me in the mood for bollocking some COs at work. It doesn't set the correct tone somehow I think. (But it is very funny.)

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.
Govstooge: Bleargh!
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.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Normal Service Resumed

Ah-ha! I just knew it!

I couldn't possibly have been full of the joys of life forever more and have nothing to rant about!

And no, it's not the fact that those nudie paintings of our revered (ha!)yet corpulent Taoiseach put me off my breakfast this morning. That, I have to say, was pretty fecking disgusting in itself.

What really put a dampener on the recent bonhomie in the Department this morning was one of my louder colleagues coming to work in a bad humour. Now I am not judging anyone for being in bad humour. I am prone to moodiness and downright gloominess myself at times. I keep it to myself, and the only discernible difference obvious to those who work with me is that I'm quieter than normal.

Well, just think of the opposite of that. A person who is loud to begin with, coming to work with a foul temper, ranting about everything in sight- sometimes unintelligibly - and turning the volume up a few notches. I can't help but have an adverse reaction to it. Especially when it coincides with some very important work that I am engaged on.

First it starts off:
Colleague: Rant rant rant blah blah
Govstooge: Jesus. I can tell it's going to be a long day.

A few minutes later:

Colleague: Rant rant rant rant
Govstooge: I don't agree with that.
Colleague: Well I do. Rant rant rant rant rant rant.

Half an hour later:
Colleague: Rant rant rant rant
Colleague: Oops someone got on the wrong side of the bed this morning!
Govstooge: !!!?????

A short time later, my colleague's temper has moderated and it's time to offer the olive branch.

Colleague: Govstooge, want to see something funny?....Govstooge? Can you hear me? Look at this, it's funny. You'll like it.
Govstooge (not looking up): I have absolutely zero interest in what you've got on your head or shoved up your left nostril. If you've got nothing better to do I can find you some work. Lots ot it.
Colleague: Humph.

The upshot of this is that my colleague now knows that a line has been crossed by pissing the EO off to the point of shouting, and they say no more.

And I could get on with my work, silently chuckling to myself. Nothing my colleague could have done could have amused me more than scaring them into silence. And this in itself is enough to diffuse any irritation that I might have been feeling up to then.

And tomorrow, I will keep up the affronted act for a little while longer. It might just get me a cake.

Revenge is sweet.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Board Room

Meetings suck. I've gone on about them before. They're a great way of wasting time. And they're also a useful forum for managers to show off their command of Management Speak.

A language as obscure as Ancient Etruscan.

I'm generally to the point in plain English at meetings. I present facts and figures as they are and don't feel the need to build a narrative around them.

Today, in a meeting involving a certain degree of planning, I heard the phrases: "These will book-end the central issue" and "That should dovetail nicely with the earlier proposal".


When I asked if we needed to bring saws and hammers to the boardroom for our next meeting - because I thought we would be doing some basic woodwork (and making some useful things for the house), I was met with stony silence.

I think I'll bring them in anyway. Sandpapering a HEO's arse with weapons-grade sandpaper has always been a fantasy of mine.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Just the Beginning?

I got lost on my way home from work today. Yes! Lost!

Considering I've now been living in Ballyfuck for the greater part of two years, this might come as something of a shock. Is it early-onset Alzheimer's do you think? Well, in the civil service, we're quite good at dribbling, so we're already some of the way there.

The road I take to work is a somewhat meandering, narrow, cross country route. Part of it is on high ground and retains the snow for several days after it has thawed completely in the village.

Wildlife is in abundance - I almost ran over a red squirrel a few weeks ago. Nearly crashed for the endangered little beastie. Luckily he got away while I tried not to flip the car over. I wondered which of us was the most endangered at that point.

Today, I am halfway home and am about to turn at the last unsignposted crossroads for Ballyfuck. I am full of good cheer due to clerical officers and HEOs having left me in peace for the whole day. As I approach the crossroads, I notice a big bastard of a truck indicating in the same direction as me. "Well, fucksocks", think I - given the windy narrow road ahead I am never going to get past that fucker whose top speed must be 20 miles per hour. And I am not a patient person. And I also like a clear view of the road ahead, unobsructed by smelly 40 foot wagons like the one I now see in front of me.

So I choose the road less travelled by and decide to follow my nose. It's a nice straight road and I notice a lady out walking. I take a turn onto a road that I think will lead me to Ballyfuck. And another turn. And another. Until I am on a shitty boreen with grass growing up the middle. And potholes so large they have memorials erected beside them for those road users who did not make it home alive. Gulp.

I reach yet another unsignposted junction and think that the road to Ballyfuck must be to the right. Is it arse. I meet the lady again, this time in the opposite direction. She waves cheerily to me. I don't ask for directions. I live around here for feck's sake!

I turn around and take a left. This shitty boreen is even shittier than the last shitty boreen. Because it is completely brown with the shitty splatterings from muck spreaders and cow anuses. The potholes have flames coming out of them and are marked with "Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here". Gulp.

This time I have got it right, for, as I round a bend I suddenly see the familar sight of the river just outside Ballyfuck. I press the accelerator gratefully. And then the brake, with terror. I am now looking right at a bale of silage being transported by a jolly farmer in a blue tractor which I recognise from yesterday's Paddy's Day Parade. It was a lot cleaner then. Thankfully he pulls into the side of the road to let me pass by. The remaining two miles are uneventful.

I hope I didn't knacker my suspensions. Because the bloody pensions levy has put paid to any pretensions I might have had towards a newer car. Or even just fitting my existing motor with an anti-tank gun mounted on the bonnet, so I can take out anything that's annoying me. The Bastards!

P.S. Just a thought: with all the ministers abroad on the national holiday, wouldn't it have been an opportune time to stage a coup d'etat and declare a second Republic?

No I couldn't have done it. I'm supposed to be impartial, and anyway I was having my tea.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Bollocks, don't know what happened to me this week. There was simply nothing to write about. The main problem was, I was actually in a good mood for most of this week and found absolutely nothing to get angry about. Not even the smarmy email from my least favourite staff member (well, that did provoke a sputtering of bile, but not enough to fuel my rage). And I didn't lose my shirt on the Cheltenham Gold Cup. I've been left the collar.
Work really have to stop putting Prozac in the watercoolers. It's stunting my creativity.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Levy Blues and Amateur Cardiology

Today, the Pensions Levy manifested itself in its virulent form by launching scathing attacks on our payslips. The air was full of the voices of staff comparing the damages. I'm not sure why, but my take home pay isn't decimated to the extent of those of some of my colleagues. Maybe Payroll made a mistake and I will have to spend the rest of my life paying it back. Ulp. But calculating it manually, it makes sense. Lucky me!

I have a horrible feeling that in spite of industrial action, the levy is here to stay, and this is only the beginning. The likelihood of raised taxes for those us fortunate enough to still have jobs is rearing its ugly head. And maybe redundancies down the line. Who knows? The sheer magnitude of this country's financial mismanagement is growing by the day. I've started to resist watching the news and its nightly doomsaying of RTE's resident Apocalypse Forecaster, George Lee. I can't take it anymore. I might succumb to some terrible cardiovascular condition if I watch another five minutes. Even the weather forecast now reads like the Simpsons by comparison.

Speaking of cardiovascular conditions, this site has lifted one of my posts from about three months ago. And tagged it "Heart Disease, Signs, Symptoms".

Well, thank you, Doctor MacFUCK! Now the last time I looked, my laptop did not have a USB attachment for taking blood pressure and ECG readings in order to transmit them over the web. I imagine such a device would be useful, but I have enough leads coming out of my computer already, thank you very much. But your remote diagnosis is greatly appreciated. What treatment do you suggest, "Doc"? Virtual beta-blockers? Licking JPEG images of foxgloves so that I may benefit from the digital digitalis therein?

The failed academic/ author in me is somewhat flattered by the citation which turned up during a random search for sites linking/ referring to me (I'm bored tonight). However it doesn't cite the source. Which, according to any text on academic biblographies, may be construed as Plagiarism. I'm aware that writing material on the Web and having it openly accessible leaves one wide open to such abuses. Mind you, given that McFuck didn't even attempt to remove the "Govstooge" references from the body text suggests nothing more than a simple copy and paste exercise. That's an instant fail as far as my previous experience will attest. Knobjockey.

Think I need to lie down now. Where's my angina spray when I need it?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Could you make it any more obvious?

I fucking hate nosey people.

Now, I don't mean the kind of people who stick their heads over office partitions to see who made the strange noise, or those who, when hearing a couple of colleagues having a rant in the bathrooms, decide to spend that little longer in the toilet cubicle just to hear the end of the story. If I hated those kind of people, then I would hate myself, for these are things I have done in the past (hey! It's blog fodder!).

In spite of having a blog in order to pour out my woes in cyberspace, I'm generally a very private person. I don't divulge much information to my staff or colleagues about my activities outside of work. The reason for this is that, as a manager, you are leaving yourself open to abuse if your staff know everything about your private life. I'm not saying they will all do this, but there's always one or two. I go along the lines of "I'm your manager, not your mate", and don't talk much about my personal life outside of where I watched the rugby match last Saturday and wasn't it boring! (Good result though!)

As a result of this, there are "questions" hanging over me, and some colleagues have been tring to plumb the depths of Govstooge. Lately, some of them have been getting even more audacious in their quest to discover the real dirt on me.

Like today. I announce that I am taking a couple of extra days off to lengthen my weekend. Immediately, a CO pounces.

CO: Well, Govstooge, I hope you have a nice weekend...
Govstooge: Thanks, Declan. I will.
CO: Wherever you're going.
Govstooge: It'll be nice anyway.
CO: I hope the weather's better than this, wherever you're going. Govstooge: I'll try not to let it get me down if it isn't. (Under breath) Now fuck off, will ya.
(CO gives up)

That's a harmless example. I could have just said where I was going, but the CO was being so obviously nosey, I decided not to give in and tell him.

The worst is yet to come...

Like a couple of weeks ago, on a tea break. A CO comes right out and asks me:

CO: Govstooge, you live in Ballyfuck don't you? Govstooge: Yeah.
CO: Where exactly? I passed through it at the weekend.
Govstooge: Did you now? Well, you know how there's only a couple of streets, and there's a couple of big new housing estates at each end of the village?

CO: Yeah!
Govstooge: And there's about 150 new houses between the lot of them?

CO: Yeah!
Govstooge: Well, it's one of them.
CO: Oh.

Well, I could have told the CO where the house was. But I started to have visions of my doorbell ringing on a Sunday afternoon while a pair of eyes peered through the letterbox into my hallway, and a familiar voice calling, "Hey, Govstooge, I was just passing through, and thought I'd save the cost of a phone call tomorrow morning. Can I have the morning off tomorrow?"

I really wouldn't be surprised if this happened. I might have to invest in a shotgun if it did. (Get orf my laaaand!)

And lastly, most disturbing of all, the mystery surrounding who does Govstooge spend her spare time with? Because she doesn't have any kids, and there is a noticeable absence of a wedding ring on her left hand. And we know she drinks pints because we saw her drinking several at the last work outing. Therefore, she must be .... a LESBIAN! So there's been a bit of subtle probing about this too from various corners, or at least, as subtle as incredibly nosey folk are likely to be.

For example, one day I mentioned having been to the dentist for a regular check-up.

Colleague: Do you like going to the dentist?
Govstooge: I don't mind. It helps when the dentist is easy on the eye, and mine is.
Colleague: What's her name?
Govstooge: Since when could someone who looks like Christian Bale be described as Female?

I'm not exactly what you could call a "frilly" girl. I wear t-shirts, swear in the office and like to talk about hurling. I like to go to the pub with the lads and drink pints. So maybe I fit their somewhat outdated stereotype of what a lesbian is. I don't know. I don't know any lesbians. Or, at least, I'm not aware of any in my current milieu.

The main treatment for these nosey folk is to keep them guessing; I feed them as little information about my private life as possible. I'll let them think what they want and I won't waste my already depleted energy trying to disprove it, as they have made up their minds already.

Or, alternatively, I should feed them lies. Tomorrow I will tell them all I've been promoted to Director General of FAS and can now afford that luxury pile next to J.P. McManus and will be leaving shortly. In a big helicopter. With champagne and a posh hairdresser on board. Oh, and it'll have doors. not like Martin Cullen's.

And that my novel based on life in the civil service has been accepted by a major international publisher and I've just signed a seven-figure book deal and sold the film rights.

And I know Elvis.

That'll show them, the nosey bloody gits!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Spam javelins, Pork Swords and assorted Knobjockery

I've not been very attentive to the old blogging this week. What with doing up my own home made-placards (samples: Lenno is a Knobjockey/ Execute Biffo and I'm just the EO to do it/ Fianna Fail=Abject FAIL etc) for the upcoming strikes, digging giant holes in the claggy earth of my back garden and filling them with compost in the hope that something other than scrub grass will grow there, I've been rather stretched.

I've checked my Eircom email for the first time in days, and was delighted to discover that I have been offered two fantastic opportunities. The first is to own a nine-foot guitar. The second is to watch a gladiator-style conflict involving weapons made only from pork products. How could I pass those offers up? A nine foot guitar would add a surrealist touch to my home decor, plus I could annoy the neighbours with my beginner's chords. The pork product fight would be Monty Pythonesque entertainment along the lines of the fish-slapping dance. How could I refuse! I clicked on them eagerly.


I'm far too easily taken in with e-mail titles. Apparently "Your instrument will be so large you will be able to touch the ceiling with it" and "Battle of the Sausages" are not what they purport to be.

Damn you Eircom!