Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Becky's First Law of Bureaucracy

Today was good day for me and the government.

I was told that I was valued. I was encouraged to follow projects that I enjoyed. I found people who were just as enthusiastic about them. And best of all....I had a sense of humor.

What else can you do when a developer of a major project tells you that not only did he not expect people to want to export results to a spreadsheet, but that he also expected end users to be able to write their own Python scripts in order to interpret the results of a query to his database?

Hahahaha!! Sometimes the government is like when my 6-year-old uses first grade logic to explain the existence of unicorns!

Why does this happen?

Presenting the first of Becky's Laws of Bureaucracy:

The Law of Mediocrity Acceptance
Allow room for mediocrity, but encourage people to rise above it.

Some people need a box. They love the box, and they can't operate outside of it. These people are generally at the middle of the bell curve. The government - like society in general - needs to find places for those people. We need to develop a check list, so that they can follow it. In this way they will always know how to do the bare minimum. In general things will get done. And those people will be happy because as Tom Stoppard wrote... "Life in a box is better than no life at all."  [nevermind that in the stage play, that line is said in a coffin]

The bureaucracy also needs to accept that some people can master multiple boxes, can move between boxes, and can create new boxes. These people are force multipliers. If allowed to thrive, not only will things get done, but things will improve.

The bureaucracy also needs to accept that some people should be sent straight to the Farm to pull weeds and spread manure. But this last part is a rare thing for government to accept.

For more on the psychological pandering to mediocrity and how the Jets personify it, check this out...That Sunk-Cost Feeling.'s not just the government.

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