Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You Can't Polish A Turd

You can’t polish a turd! This is an old saying that anybody considering a career in government should familiarise themselves with. Don’t misunderstand me, the public service is a fine occupation for the young person wondering what to do with their lives, and wondering how best they may be able to serve their fellow human-beings. However, some things, like turds, are simply not capable of being polished, or made to look or smell any better than they already do, however bad that may be. This is a fine metaphor to use when talking about government process.

There are systems in place that have been there for years that really stink. Even a cursory glance will reveal that they work about as well as a rusted old museum exhibit. But, and this is the crucial point for any person wishing to work in government, it is futile to try and clean them up or make them run more smoothly. Many a poor, delusional individual has brought out the oil and the rust remover, confident that they can clean it up, and then transform it into a gleaming, well oiled example of modern mechanical engineering. They usually end up wandering the corridors muttering to themselves in corners, occasionally bursting into tears, and looking that like the weight of the world has been dropped upon their shoulders. One look at the government machine shows that it is still there clanking along, still covered in rust, still looking like the hundred-year old dinosaur that it is. It also sucks out part of the personality of anyone who tries to tamper with it, leaving them chained to it, unable to escape from its dark clutches. This is the fate of those who do not heed the information in this book. They will end up with their soul trapped within the machinery of government, unable to improve it, and unable to escape to another job. You don’t want to end up like this.

Changing how government works is like trying to stop the tide coming in. The machine will suck you in, chew you up, and spit you out. As long as you understand this, you are well on your way to a successful and rewarding career. This book will provide you with the necessary arsenal of weapons that will enable you to establish a position, defend it, and gradually increase your area of influence within the system.

You will learn, among other things, about the five paradigms of government, the people you will need to deal with on a daily basis and the mysteries of dealing with boards and senior bureaucrats. In addition to this there will be tips on how to enjoy your day within such an environment, some helpful little mantras to keep your motivation going on those dull days, and also some valuable information on the effective use of jargon.

This book will be of use to public servants, those dealing with the public service, and members of the public who are interested in how the wheels of government turn (and why they turn so slowly). It will cast a light upon the dark corners of government that are rarely exposed to public view, and reveal the common tactics that public servants can use to procrastinate and delay making any decisions. It will also show aspiring public servants what sort of skills they need to rise through the ranks of government.

So, if you are considering a career in the public service, or have recently embarked on such a career, this is the book for you; its principles apply to all levels of government. If you think that you may soon need to apply to the government for an approval of some description, then this is also the book for you. If you are merely an interested spectator and wish to know how your taxes are spent, then this is the site for you.

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