Archive for Junie, 2011

Working for the government

Working for the government is an entirely surreal experience. It is a place where the lines between right and wrong blur to a point where you can’t even remember where the line is. It’s a place where, the harder you work the more drama you gather for yourself and sitting in your office all day having tea is the safest place to be.

Needing to add, I have never worked in the private sector (except part time last year) but my one year and six months (separately) of working for the government has left me nothing less than hopeless. People in government hospitals have perfected the art of looking busy by scheduling meetings and talking in circles that even I bought into the illusion of productivity in the beginning. Later on you notice the subtle dodging of duties, the avoidance of eye contact when the plan forward is discussed and tasks are delegated, the utter pointlessness of a discussion where nothing has been changed to the situation except the time on the clock on the wall.

Yesterday another department asked me to assist them in something and I said I would if they emailed me the details. Today I told the involved person that he had not sent me the email yet. His reply was: “Yes, but you said you were gonna remind me if I forget” As if the burden lies on me. This is an art perfected by people working in government institutions. At anytime you can say “I am just waiting on this or that person” or “This or that person hasn’t come back to me yet” and it is seen as an acceptable excuse. Whether you tried to phone this or that person isn’t even a question.

The government is a place where lunch time and tea time are strictly enforced, wars are fought over salaries, but working hours are merely a guideline. I also learned that, as long as you keep record of every meeting you attended and hour you spent at work, whether you were actually productive is irrelevant.

Needless to say I am a bit negative at the moment. I have always been pro-South Africa. Not in an energetic irritatingly happy way, but in a way that I would always stand up for South Africa and it’s potential. I’ve found myself over the past few months becoming increasingly negative and scoffing with others when anybody speaks of the government. I’ve also, without noticing, become more and more racist. Not outwardly, but inwardly and in my actions and in the confidence I place in certain people I work with.

I am done at the moment. My energy is depleted. I feel like this country is hopeless at the moment and that nothing we do or say can change that.

The positive side is, that I am going to Sweden for 6 months. I have received a scholarship allowing me to continue a part of my studies in Sweden. So I hope to come back renewed. Or at the very least equipped to run like hell when this place goes up in flames.



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