Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sh*t Bureaucrats Say and Do

So, if you haven't seen it already, watching the Sh*t Bureaucrats Say video will be helpful for the reading of the remainder of this post. Go ahead, I'll wait.

First, I think the video is hilarious, and the actress is adorable. And yes, I know exactly what she's talking about. But there's some good commentary on this - while it's awesome (and sometimes very needed) to poke fun at ourselves and our jargon, there are indeed some sinister overtones. I've seen it happen to me - I'll be trundling along, minding my own business, and suddenly the most appalling bureaucratese will just pop out of my mouth.

If you know me, you may have been witness to it. More than once, I have stopped in my tracks, felt my jaw drop a little as my brain registered what I said, and have asked myself and/or those around me "Did I just say that?" The need to be polite, subtle, let others read between the lines... in my experience it's definitely an expectation of those working in the Government of Canada, but I do wish we could all just be frank in our work.

"We need to consult wider" often means "we've made our decision, but we have to LOOK like we're considering the opinions of others, so we'll send this out for comments and disregard them, okay?" And that's bullshit - a waste of your time and mine. We should be consulting our colleagues where their input may have value - but the ruse of it isn't helpful to anyone.

So yeah. We should take a good look at the sh*t we say and do, and really get back to our first principles in order to reduce/eliminate the ridiculous - especially in light of the upcoming (later today!) maybe-scorched-earth-but-who-knows budget announcement. If things go the way we fear, I won't have time for your sh*t (or mine!) - I'll be too busy doing three jobs or trying to find a new one for myself.

That being said, I also think we need to remember that this is damn funny.

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