Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Create your own title

More strikes on the horizon it seems. We could all be standing outside the Department with the wind blowing up our holes on November 24th if our unions' ballots are passed.

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

Synaptic Knobs

I've returned once more. The ongoing media war against the public sector has made me nearly wee myself with fright (or maybe I shouldn't have had that 15th cup of coffee), so I was in hiding for a bit.

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


I wandered into work today at 10am, much later than usual, because I simply couldn't have been arsed getting up earlier. What I gained in sleep this morning was negated by the annoyance I suffered within two minutes of hanging up my coat.

"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.