Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Adventures in bureaucracy

I've finally moved, at least in cyberspace. Back in July 2009, shortly after Large Nameless Agency acquired a new Director, a re-organization was announced. As part of the effort to get rid of the cooties left by the previous administration, a great reshuffling would occur, various centers and divisions would vanish in the name of efficiency (and, not coincidentally, provide an excuse to jettison upper-level management that had been cronies of the old Director)(for awhile the standing joke at staff meetings was "What Center director got fired this week?"), and it would all be done quickly.

Those of us working at the sort of job I have (i.e., anyone below a GS-13, you know, the people who do the actual work at the agency) were told no worries, the changes will be mostly on paper, the work won't change, and you won't physically have to go anywhere. The only thing that will change, and it will happen soon, is that you'll notice your electronic address, the part of your email identity that tells recipients who you are, will reflect the new reality. Pshaw. In true bureaucratic fashion, it took many, many months for my identity to switch from MyName(LNA/CenterWithinLNA/Division/Branch) to MyName(LNA/MysteryAbbreviation/NoLongerExistentCenter). That identity, we were told, was a placeholder. We were told what the Mystery Abbreviation stood for, but no one had a clue what it did (if anything) or why our old center was still showing up if it had been eliminated. 

Well, the permanent change has finally occurred, a mere 21 months after it was first announced it would happen. I noticed not long ago that I am now MyName(LNA/NewDivision/NewCenter). Oddly enough, though, only one other person in my work group is showing that new address in emails; everyone else is still stuck in the placeholder. Bureaucracies definitely move in mysterious ways.


  1. Bureaucracies definitely move in mysterious ways.

    And sooner or later they tumble.

  2. And now no one at LNA will be able to find you because they will all use your old email? Isn't it fun?

    Some Roman guy (Scottus Adamus?) wrote a couple thousand years ago that whenever they got organized and started to be effective, they got reorganized immediately.

  3. Actually, the quote I suspect you are referring to appears to date only as far back as 1957.



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