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Great Guy

Bureaucracy

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I don't want to write too much about my employer...

However it's in an industry that until about twenty years ago was done by civil servants but is now privatised..

The job absolutedly does my nut in. There are forms for everything and it's so hard to get something done as I have to get so many people to agree to it. It's just so frustrating spending days on something then the whole project gets scuppered because someone says "no". Then you have to handle people with kid gloves. Sometimes someone makes bad decisions and you have to humour them and try and avoid the eventual fall out. 

As a comparison the family company has few decision makers and decisions are made *quickly*. 

I see issues at work that I really really wish I could resolve. However it's an uphill battle trying to resolve them. It's CV time for me.

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14 minutes ago, Great Guy said:

I don't want to write too much about my employer...

However it's in an industry that until about twenty years ago was done by civil servants but is now privatised..

The job absolutedly does my nut in. There are forms for everything and it's so hard to get something done as I have to get so many people to agree to it. It's just so frustrating spending days on something then the whole project gets scuppered because someone says "no". Then you have to handle people with kid gloves. Sometimes someone makes bad decisions and you have to humour them and try and avoid the eventual fall out. 

As a comparison the family company has few decision makers and decisions are made *quickly*. 

I see issues at work that I really really wish I could resolve. However it's an uphill battle trying to resolve them. It's CV time for me.

 

Someone once did me a favour by telling me a truism, it went thus

"You'll always know when it's time to leave a place (employer) - It's when you hate everyone"

It has never held me back.

 

I could write an essay on how bureaucracy and financial accountability has ruined science, but I expect the same holds for many professions.

Edited by Hopeful

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1 hour ago, Great Guy said:

I don't want to write too much about my employer...

However it's in an industry that until about twenty years ago was done by civil servants but is now privatised..

The job absolutedly does my nut in. There are forms for everything and it's so hard to get something done as I have to get so many people to agree to it. It's just so frustrating spending days on something then the whole project gets scuppered because someone says "no". Then you have to handle people with kid gloves. Sometimes someone makes bad decisions and you have to humour them and try and avoid the eventual fall out. 

As a comparison the family company has few decision makers and decisions are made *quickly*. 

I see issues at work that I really really wish I could resolve. However it's an uphill battle trying to resolve them. It's CV time for me.

I worked in a privatised ex-government company.  It seemed to have the worst possible setup -- people at the top and down to about 1/2 way were thinking like a corporate, those in management from the top 1/2 down were all ex-civil servants and in love with forms and filing, and the majority of 'workers' were all jobs-for-lifers that had often never actually applied for a job (many started at 18 just out of school) but had had years of annual pay rises and promotions so were sitting pretty.  So, no money, no pay rises, plenty of leadership rhetoric, loads of barely qualified people that thought they were experts and no-one around to actually do any work.

I just left.

The majority that stayed are still moaning.

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12 minutes ago, dgul said:

I worked in a privatised ex-government company.  It seemed to have the worst possible setup -- people at the top and down to about 1/2 way were thinking like a corporate, those in management from the top 1/2 down were all ex-civil servants and in love with forms and filing, and the majority of 'workers' were all jobs-for-lifers that had often never actually applied for a job (many started at 18 just out of school) but had had years of annual pay rises and promotions so were sitting pretty.  So, no money, no pay rises, plenty of leadership rhetoric, loads of barely qualified people that thought they were experts and no-one around to actually do any work.

I just left.

The majority that stayed are still moaning.

This^

It is the most awful way to spend you life, but it generally befits those that stay.

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I sympathise. My coping mechanism is to simply just stop caring for the most part and to accept 90% of most work is BS. I grow ever more convinced that a lot of professional life is just "make work" schemes. A client currently has me doing a project which adds zero value, is labour intensive and in my experience of doing it for years (counts for not a jot apparently) not even required. I was tempted to tell the clueless bint that I've guided a gazillion similar projects to successful completion without ever having to do this bollox...then, naturally, I take a sharp inhalation of breath at my computer and reply back with "no worries, I'll get on to it". And beaver away at the pointless paperwork task to which no f**ker again will ever look at. Productivity puzzle? Spend a week with me and you'll see how little I do contributes to GDP. Swimming against the tide when a working week is having to tick everyone elses boxes, fill in their forms, sit in their audits etc.

In my experience in a regulated industry, the form filling has approximately doubled inside a decade, the "questionnaires" and other generic customer requested documentation seem to have gone from a page or two long to in some cases 30-50 pages...I am literally swimming in paperwork to the point that it isn't possible for to read it all, it is now "s**t in, s**t out" from me, generic questions get generic copy and pasted answers, skim reading everything for gist, corner cutting etc. Occasionally you will get pulled up by dropping a bollock with this approach but it is the only way to get through it all. Just very busy doing nothing much at all in summary. Very soul destroying but it pays the bills.

Edited by SillyBilly

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11 minutes ago, SillyBilly said:

I sympathise. My coping mechanism is to simply just stop caring for the most part and to accept 90% of most work is BS. I grow ever more convinced that a lot of professional life is just "make work" schemes. A client currently has me doing a project which adds zero value, is labour intensive and in my experience of doing it for years (counts for not a jot apparently) not even required. I was tempted to tell the clueless bint that I've guided a gazillion similar projects to successful completion without ever having to do this bollox...then, naturally, I take a sharp inhalation of breath at my computer and reply back with "no worries, I'll get on to it". And beaver away at the pointless paperwork task to which no f**ker again will ever look at. Productivity puzzle? Spend a week with me and you'll see how little I do contributes to GDP. Swimming against the tide when a working week is having to tick everyone elses boxes, fill in their forms, sit in their audits etc.

GDP is all about the money.  If you're paid you're contributing.  It really doesn't matter to GDP if what you're doing is useful or not.  Indeed, 'not being useful' is great, because then you can employ more and more people to do the 'not being useful' and it'll never become saturated employment.  I think this is the theory behind the UK's growth strategy over the last 20 years.

Edited by dgul

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It’s good to know it’s not just my place. Although Ive noticed it’s getting significantly worse of late.

Apart from the job insecurity, at least a recession tends to streamline internal processes and red tape. Its easier to navigate departments that have been through a recent restructure as through the confusion you can normally slip things through and bypass the usual nonsense. 

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1 hour ago, Great Guy said:

I don't want to write too much about my employer...

However it's in an industry that until about twenty years ago was done by civil servants but is now privatised..

The job absolutedly does my nut in. There are forms for everything and it's so hard to get something done as I have to get so many people to agree to it. It's just so frustrating spending days on something then the whole project gets scuppered because someone says "no". Then you have to handle people with kid gloves. Sometimes someone makes bad decisions and you have to humour them and try and avoid the eventual fall out. 

As a comparison the family company has few decision makers and decisions are made *quickly*. 

I see issues at work that I really really wish I could resolve. However it's an uphill battle trying to resolve them. It's CV time for me.

If you work in IT projects getting canned are just part of life. I used to get really annoyed about the pointless meetings, the ludicrous one upmanship among the technicians, the mind numbing bureaucracy, the endless management fuck ups  and the orgy of arse covering from the top down that used to follow. Now in the twilight of my career where I have little to lose I have become something of a connoisseur of these events. Watching the lemmings devise ever more ingenious ways to chuck themselves off the cliff has come to have a fascination all of its own. In fact as long as you are not centre stage there is nothing more enjoyable than a big IT disaster 

Edited by Virgil Caine

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7 minutes ago, dgul said:

GDP is all about the money.  If you're paid you're contributing.  It really doesn't matter to GDP if what you're doing is useful or not.  Indeed, 'not being useful' is great, because then you can employ more and more people to do the 'not being useful' and it'll never become saturated employment.  I think this is the theory behind the UK's growth strategy over the last 20 years.

That’s why throwing more bodies into the furnace country keeps the ponzi scheme ticking over, and why they will never be able to cut migration.

Even the destitute that arrive still stoke the GDP figures by need of housing, food, services etc. 

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22 minutes ago, ste said:

That’s why throwing more bodies into the furnace country keeps the ponzi scheme ticking over, and why they will never be able to cut migration.

Even the destitute that arrive still stoke the GDP figures by need of housing, food, services etc. 

The great GDP effect.

There was a programme on R4 last week (new series on economics for dummies).  It was a bit flawed*, but it did go on for a bit about Japan having dreadful GDP figures but about how everyone was happier, lots had jobs, the trains run on time, etc, etc.  GDP is a useless measure that only has the effect of encouraging successive governments to encourage the wrong types of investment.

[* as an example, they went on about how a big drugs bust in Scotland reduced GDP, because the black economy is included in GDP.  But this wouldn't have actually happened -- drug demand is largely constant, so reducing supply (through the confiscation) would increase street-prices, which are measured (somehow) for the GDP calculation -- the net result ((lower use * higher prices) vs (higher use * lower prices)) would be GDP would be unaffected.  And if there was less spend on drugs (because some people couldn't get it, say), they'd only spend the money on a conventional night out, so the GDP would be influenced through that route.  GDP is a funny calculation like that -- it is arguably just a measure of the amount of money in circulation * velocity]

Edited by dgul

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I work on remote Scottish islands. The regulatory bodies have removed cross-matching of blood in local hospitals and insist that 'safe' blood is flown up from regional centres such as Glasgow. The argument being that it was deemed unsafe to prepare blood locally for individual patients.

What a load of bollocks.  The risk is due to untrained staff being employed in large cities down south. And we all know where these people are coming from. Poorly trained individuals with weak qualifications. They make horrendous mistakes with near misses and fatal transfusions.

Result of this bureaucracy?   Cancelled operations in remote hospitals. Massive increase in costs due to blood being flown in daily to the islands. Huge demands on O Negative stocks in Scotland to the point that the Blood Transfusion Service is often struggling to find supplies. De-skilling of local staff. Masses of paper work. And I could argue increased risk to patients due to blood not being screened against individuals in an emergency. Unacceptable wastage of unused blood stocks.

The regulatory bodies are full of self-important idiots.

Edited by Wahoo

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10 hours ago, Great Guy said:

I don't want to write too much about my employer...

However it's in an industry that until about twenty years ago was done by civil servants but is now privatised..

The job absolutedly does my nut in. There are forms for everything and it's so hard to get something done as I have to get so many people to agree to it. It's just so frustrating spending days on something then the whole project gets scuppered because someone says "no". Then you have to handle people with kid gloves. Sometimes someone makes bad decisions and you have to humour them and try and avoid the eventual fall out. 

As a comparison the family company has few decision makers and decisions are made *quickly*. 

I see issues at work that I really really wish I could resolve. However it's an uphill battle trying to resolve them. It's CV time for me.

I think this is essentially a proof that the company which employs you has too many people and not enough work to do. Therefore politics and Veblen goods have taken the place of "line of sight" from the problem to the solution.

In a functioning economy, it would be down-sized and the leavers would find gainful things to do. Since it's not actually in the public sector, it may be that the current artificial situation won't last indefinitely, in which the bloodbath when reality hits should be something to behold ... from a safe distance.

I'm hesitant to give any advice when your experience could be different to mine (or you might just be having a bad few days) but, if pressed, I would say: "get the fuck out of there; you'll be much happier using your skills to achieve something productive rather than to feather the nests of obstructive bureaucrats."

 

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9 hours ago, SillyBilly said:

I sympathise. My coping mechanism is to simply just stop caring for the most part and to accept 90% of most work is BS. I grow ever more convinced that a lot of professional life is just "make work" schemes. A client currently has me doing a project which adds zero value, is labour intensive and in my experience of doing it for years (counts for not a jot apparently) not even required. I was tempted to tell the clueless bint that I've guided a gazillion similar projects to successful completion without ever having to do this bollox...then, naturally, I take a sharp inhalation of breath at my computer and reply back with "no worries, I'll get on to it". And beaver away at the pointless paperwork task to which no f**ker again will ever look at. Productivity puzzle? Spend a week with me and you'll see how little I do contributes to GDP. Swimming against the tide when a working week is having to tick everyone elses boxes, fill in their forms, sit in their audits etc.

In my experience in a regulated industry, the form filling has approximately doubled inside a decade, the "questionnaires" and other generic customer requested documentation seem to have gone from a page or two long to in some cases 30-50 pages...I am literally swimming in paperwork to the point that it isn't possible for to read it all, it is now "s**t in, s**t out" from me, generic questions get generic copy and pasted answers, skim reading everything for gist, corner cutting etc. Occasionally you will get pulled up by dropping a bollock with this approach but it is the only way to get through it all. Just very busy doing nothing much at all in summary. Very soul destroying but it pays the bills.

I have a theory that it was the arrival of personal computers and pdf files

Previously, when everything was paper there was an strong incentive to minimise the information requested to the essential becuase those asking for the information realised that:

i) they would have to photocopy it (before photocopiers they would have to type it if they wanted multiple copies),

ii) they would have to circulate the hard copies by post,

iii) they would have to store it.

Now, the bureaucrats have to expend no more effort than to push the 'send' button on an e-mail to distribute a pdf multiple times, and so the length of the document is immaterial; It can expand and expand to include absolute trivia.

 

 

Edited by Hopeful

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2 minutes ago, Hopeful said:

I have a theory that it was the arrival of personal computers and pdf files

Previously, when everything was paper there was an strong incentive to minimise the information requested to the essential becuase those asking for the information realised that:

i) they would have to photocopy it (before photocopiers they would have to type it if they wanted multiple copies),

ii) they would have to circulate the hard copies by post,

iii) they would have to store it.

Now, the bureaucrats have to expend no more effort that push the 'send' button on an e-mail to distribute a pdf multiple times, and so the length of the document is immaterial; It can expand and expand to include absolute trivia.

 

 

I was having this exact conversation with a colleague on Monday.  Emails mean that you can send to loads of people, cutting and pasting all sorts of unnecessary crap whereas writing and sending a fax using pen and paper almost invariably meant thought and only sending the bare essentials

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1 hour ago, Wahoo said:

I work on remote Scottish islands. The regulatory bodies have removed cross-matching of blood in local hospitals and insist that 'safe' blood is flown up from regional centres such as Glasgow. The argument being that it was deemed unsafe to prepare blood locally for individual patients.

What a load of bollocks.  The risk is due to untrained staff being employed in large cities down south. And we all know where these people are coming from. Poorly trained individuals with weak qualifications. They make horrendous mistakes with near misses and fatal transfusions.

Result of this bureaucracy?   Cancelled operations in remote hospitals. Massive increase in costs due to blood being flown in daily to the islands. Huge demands on O Negative stocks in Scotland to the point that the Blood Transfusion Service is often struggling to find supplies. De-skilling of local staff. Masses of paper work. And I could argue increased risk to patients due to blood not being screened against individuals in an emergency. Unacceptable wastage of unused blood stocks.

The regulatory bodies are full of self-important idiots.

This is also indicative of the other issue I keep banging on about, the disregard of expertise. Surely, those on the ground locally should be free to organise their services as they see fit. If this includes collecting and storing blood locally, so be it. They should be best placed to know best. 

9 minutes ago, Hopeful said:

I have a theory that it was the arrival of personal computers and pdf files

Previously, when everything was paper there was an strong incentive to minimise the information requested to the essential becuase those asking for the information realised that:

i) they would have to photocopy it (before photocopiers they would have to type it if they wanted multiple copies),

ii) they would have to circulate the hard copies by post,

iii) they would have to store it.

Now, the bureaucrats have to expend no more effort that push the 'send' button on an e-mail to distribute a pdf multiple times, and so the length of the document is immaterial; It can expand and expand to include absolute trivia.

 

 

Yep, agree, I‚Äôve often thought this. The driver for me is ‚Äúbecause they can‚ÄĚ. How many pointless emails do you get in a day? ¬†

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4 minutes ago, One percent said:

This is also indicative of the other issue I keep banging on about, the disregard of expertise. Surely, those on the ground locally should be free to organise their services as they see fit. If this includes collecting and storing blood locally, so be it. They should be best placed to know best. 

Yep, agree, I‚Äôve often thought this. The driver for me is ‚Äúbecause they can‚ÄĚ. How many pointless emails do you get in a day? ¬†

Now that I'm freelance, a lot lot less, an order of magnitude less

 

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1 hour ago, SNACR said:

Asterix worked out how to play the bureaucrats at their own game years ago

 

Love that. If you've never seen it it's well worth a few minutes of any dosbodders time.

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I was invited to join the on-site (public sector) gym by one of my customers..  the amount of safety training and inductions simply to be allowed access to site and use the gym was eye opening.  I had to do working at heights training,  identifying hazardous materials training, site safety, fire drill training, gym induction...   all just to swipe in,  walk down a corridor and use some exercise machines for an hour.

AFAICT it is just a symptom of the fact that at least 50% of the positions are make-work jobs,  so people who get put in charge of safety / security / etc have basically nothing to do to fill their time other than think up and implement procedures.  So things naturally just get far more complicated than they need to be over time.

The next worst are large corporations.  People at the top are usually very bright chancers who have very little understanding of the different regional markets they serve.  Leadership tends to be from the bottom up,  with top-down targets imposed based on whatever growth the CEO has promised the shareholders this year.  Responsibility to create that falls below senior management,  below middle management and to the product group and regional sales teams to try to deliver based on an ever reducing head count and complete lack of any serious development budget.

After that is the sweet spot..   medium size companies,  run by people who still understand the market, the customers and where they have come from.  They know where they need to be,  lead from the top, and employ people to do the jobs they simply no longer have time to do themselves.  Usually the people in charge are majority share holders and so run the company with a view to long term growth and investment with no other shareholders to report / explain to.

Finally you have the family run businesses.  A mixed bag,  often only employing direct relatives,   but when they do expand further only employ on minimum wage and tend to treat non-family members as "expendable outsiders".  Higher risk of bullying, usually limited / no career prospects..  other than learning an industry and moving to a competitor.

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FWIW I adopted a simple rule of thumb more than a decade ago: avoid any company big enough to need an HR department. It's worked for me :)

The only time that I broke this rule, I was summarily booted out after 6 weeks - and after the event, I worked out that my "colleague" had basically shit all over me and our technically clueless boss had swallowed his every word.

I learnt my lesson :)

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