A bird in the hand (of the bureaucracy) … is worth a good laugh!

Monday, October 18th, 2010 | Miscelaneous

An interesting thing happened to me today.  I went into the building of a provincial department for an early morning meeting and took the lift to the eighth floor.  A pigeon was fluttering in the window of a little lobby, which contains the lifts and a stairwell, desperately trying to get out.  All the windows in the building are welded to prevent people from opening them (not sure if this is for the sake of the air-conditioner or to prevent suicide), so I have no idea how the pigeon got in.  Perhaps it came through a broken window on another floor and flew up (or down) the stairwell. I looked around and could not find any place to let it out.

Seeing the poor bird in distress made me forget about my not-so-fit body and after a number of attempts caught it and took the lift down to perform an act of liberation.  When I reached the reception lobby I took out my security card to swipe me and the bird through the barrier … and then the security receptionist saw me!

“Sir, you’re not allowed to bring a bird in here,” she said with a frown.

“I’m not bringing the bird in, I’m taking it out,” I replied meekly

“But how did you bring it in?”

“I didn’t bring it in – it came in by itself.”

“How could it come in by itself?”

“It flew in,” I said.

“Where did it get in?” she asked, her face and body reflecting her disbelief.

“I have no idea.  It was fluttering around in the lobby on the eighth floor, so I caught it so that I can set it free outside,” I said while aiming my security card at the barrier again.

“But you can’t take it out here,” she said with a don’t-mess-with-me look on her face.

“OK, but where can I exit then?”

“This is the only way out.”

“If there is no other way out, and I can’t get out here, how am I going to get the bird outside?” I asked, frustration building up.

“That’s not my problem, Sir. All I’m telling you is that you can’t take a bird out here,” she insisted, taking a threatening step towards me.  “It is not allowed.”

“Shall I let the bird loose here?” I asked, my sarcasm lost on her.

“If you do, I will have to call Security.”

I was trumped.  There was only one way out – in more way than one.  I swiped my card, walked through the lobby, out the door, and started breathing when the pigeon took to the air.

When I re-entered the building the no-bird–in-here lady gave me a dirty look and said: “You better wash your hands … these birds carry lice.”

Have you ever wondered why is it so difficult to get things done in a bureaucracy?  I rest my case.

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5 Comments to A bird in the hand (of the bureaucracy) … is worth a good laugh!

Albie
Monday, 18 October, 2010

Ja Kobus ! I am with you on this one ! When you try to accomplish any deed that is not in your domain, but in someone else’ domain to “decide” on it,(especially if it is a good one too) the bureaucratic system experience it as a threat ! To solve something that is not in the “textbook”, might be a “threat” to me, you and the system!

Maybe they (who follows the rulebook … as on page 12 Section 6.1.2.1 (i) it reads as follows :”……. and and and …..” feel threaten when a situation is out of their parameters. They cannot think out of the box how to handle it or how to solve it! If it is not part and parcel of their 13x job description red tape rules, regulations and protocol procedures, you are not “allow” to perform the deed, how good the intention maybe.

So what must you do ? Leave it or act it ? Leave it, will have its ramifications, act on behalf of it, will also have some results ! What must you do ?

Just do it !!

Albie – just get it done !

Mark C
Tuesday, 19 October, 2010

I see that you spell bureaucracy correctly…a word I have a problem with on all fronts. Although I must say that I don’ t necessarily being without rules and guidelines but sometimes they cannot be implemented for practical reasons…like in your case.

Unorthodox methods/solutions to doing things should be explored and assimilated. However, a bureaucrat will either look how to justify unorthodoxy or how to squelch it. One wonders sometimes about the phrase “think out of the box”.

There is also a saying:”Give a bureaucrat a good idea and he’ll stuff it up”.

In the times I used the word bureaucrat in these paragraphs I misspelled it every time. Makes you think, doesn’ t it?

mba
Wednesday, 20 October, 2010

This is an excellent thought provoking post.

chas
Thursday, 21 October, 2010

If red tape was nutritional , we could feed the world..

Mark C
Monday, 25 October, 2010

Bureaucracy-The Maths HOD at a poor state school cannot mark grade 12 externally in 2010. Reason? Her current school did not make the pass rate criteria in 2009. But in 2009 she was teaching at a school which made the pass rate criteria. In all probability she won’t mark in 2011 either. She took over extremely weak learners from someone else who did not do her work. The pass rate for 2010 will in all probability still be poor. She put in a lot of extra hours to help the learners and used ICT when it was working. It is fair to exclude her? She is hardworking, has a BSc, teaching diploma, BEd and has quite a number of years behind her back as a maths teacher.

Just some questions. How will an teacher at a poor-performing school learn what is expected if s/he is not allowed to mark externally. If learners’ results are poor does it mean that the teacher is a poor teacher? Another question is…will mainly ex-model C school teachers of a particular race group be allowed to mark since most of their results will be good? Why is it the poor-performing school’s teachers are pulling at the short end of the stick, yet they are expected to perform? The opportunities should also go to the poor-performing schools so that they can boost themselves.

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