Thursday, August 17, 2006

Buffeted by bureaucracy

In the past, I’ve taken more than my fair share of potshots at governmental officials. It’s ironic that I currently find myself serving in a quasi-governmental capacity in my new position. While I’m not specifically part of the state system, my new role finds me operating within the parameters of state and local government.

Fortunately for me, my boss appears to be a real asset. A “recovering academic” as he likes to refer to himself, from his former days as a university dean, he epitomizes what government ought to be—focused, given to results and not beholden to regulation and red tape. Having said that, I’m aware of the myriad of rules and regulations that have the potential of fencing me in and limiting my effectiveness in my current capacity.

After spending much of my first week or so being introduced to movers and shakers and people who have reputations for getting things done, I had my first taste of what I can only imagine soviet-style bureaucracy to have been like. Better, what passes for the government that so many Americans like to beat up on.

Yesterday’s meeting was filled with many folks who have worked in the cocoon of state government for much of their employment careers. Rather than look at ways to get things done, they seem to be fixated on rules, regulations, and take comfort in obsessing about dotting I’s and crossing T’s. They welcomed my introduction and brief overview of my duties with the awkwardness of a fart in church.

For my own sanity and if I have any hope of making my time in this position meaningful, I’ve adopted my boss’s mantra on tackling the tasks of my job—proceed until apprehended.

1 comment:

Weaseldog said...

Good luck Jim. The stress can get to you in such a position.

That's why people eventually conform, and take the safe path.