Thursday, 22 June 2017
Politics

How many government workers does it take to look out a window?

Imagine a new reality TV show with CCTV cameras focused on government workers working.

Wait a minute here! Government workers? Isn’t that an oxymoron? And add “working” to it, it sounds unbelievable. How could it be a reality TV show?

You’re right. It’s too bizarre, not to mention too boring. Watching a bunch of “government workers working” would be like watching paint dry. However, it might help you get to sleep.

I was recently at a JobCentre Plus interview for my NINO. I tried to imagine it as a script for a TV show. Here is a transcript of what happened.

Applicants 1, 2, 3 enter the room and are greeted by Mr. A who asks their reason for coming. He takes a letter from Applicants 1 & 2 and ushers them to a waiting area where 2 more applicants are seated. Mr. A places the letter on a side table. Next he returns to Applicant 3 and repeats the procedure.

The camera now switches to the occupants of the room. Mr. B is busy staring at his computer while he hastily munches on some crisps. Mr. C is combing through the pile on the side table. He walks purposely across the room and stands looking out the window. After 5 minutes, he sits down at his desk. Fifteen seconds later, he returns to the side table and combs the pile again.

Two more applicants enter the waiting area. Mrs. D sits down at her desk. Mr. C returns to the window. Then he sits down and taps a few words on his computer. He gets up and approaches the last applicant, “What is your name?” The applicant gives it. Mr. C scans his papers. “Your name is not –?” “No.” “Right. You’re not the one then.” Mr. C goes back to the side table, puts another form on it and returns to his desk. Mr. B still munching and still mesmerized by his computer. Mrs. D answers the phone.

Security alarm goes off in adjacent building but no one is bothered. Five minutes later, Mr. C asks, “What is that racket?” Mr. C and Mrs. D approach the window and discuss the issue. Mr. A joins them. Soon, Mrs. E, F, and G come out of another room and are at the window. About 5 minutes pass before they all return to their desks. Mr. C has a discussion with Mrs. D.

Mr. B then calls the first applicant. Mrs. E calls the second applicant. Mrs. F calls the third applicant. Mrs. G calls the fourth applicant. Mrs. H comes to get the last applicant. Five minutes later, all applicants depart.

Have you fallen asleep yet? If you haven’t, there may be hope yet for a reality show on government workers. Or maybe, an episode on a return of The Twilight Zone. “You are about to enter a new dimension!”

To think these people’s jobs are secured because they “work” for the government. It’s nice to know my hard-earned tax money is used to support people whose biggest thrill of the day is a faulty security alarm. What can we do to get government to move faster? Am I the only one to complain about the slow turn-around times in government agencies? Three weeks to get a provisional license? Six weeks to get a driver’s test? Seven weeks to get a NINO? Three to six weeks for Child Benefit? If they spend less time doing nothing, they could actually get some work done.

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