4.14.2008

Bureaucratic Inertia

I am a very small part of an enormous academic machine that serves the Pajaro Valley. We educate thousands upon thousands of students, support hundreds and thousands of teachers, keep thousands of computers up and running as best we can and operate under ever-decreasing budgets and looming pink slips.

It isn't an easy or fun situation from time to time. The inertia of the machinery can become as much of a burden as the mental toll of coping with the bombardment of help requests from, well, everyone.

But the situation is exacerbated by internal inertia, general crankiness and worker bees doing almost nothing but filling up their seats and pushing ever closer to retirement and the benefits promised for a lifetime of "service" that ended ten years ago.

I have limited experience in the system but I have a decent body of experience from the professional world to compare and contrast to. For what is standard practice in this educational bureaucracy would get you shit canned in a New York minute. Things are just basic common courtesy are lost in the joy that is a bureaucracy based on absolutely nothing beyond seniority. Not job performance, not response times, not anything but how long your ass has been filling your seat.

Which means that there will always be cranky people approaching retirement who are literally in their job for no other reason than to run out the clock. Which means that they couldn't give a damn about doing a good job, they just show up, duff through their day and go home and ignore the parts of their job that require them to do actual work.

And I know that I need to adjust my expectations are I will go completely insane. But I want to get a few minutes with my boss to properly set my expectations in line with his. That way, when another codger dodges my support requests, I'll kick it up the chain per my boss's procedures.

But hey, I did just invent a new word to describe what its like trying to work in a bureaucracy (and no, not the easily made up bureaucrazy). Unertia - the non-movement one finds in trying to get small changes cleared in a bureaucracy.

0 comments: