I Love Bureaucracy. No, I Really, Honestly Do.

We're in the midst of full-on house-buying crazytown, a quest that took me to the Bureau of Something Something near PSU last week to look for old plumbing permits. While there, I was reminded again of the grace of professional bureaucrats and the ease of navigating a huge bureaucracy. Want to know the secret? Here you go:
  1. Be really nice to the bureaucrats.
These people spend their professional lives in front of spreadsheets and/or the public, both of whom can be bitches. Bureaucrats do not hate you; what they want is to have an easy time doing their jobs. What they want is a nice, polite person to make reasonable requests of them and to then follow the rules in having those requests fulfilled. They want you to be patient and understanding. If you do these things...they will DO WHAT YOU WANT IN THE CONTEXT OF THEIR PROFESSIONAL CAPABILITIES AND CAPACITY. They will get you that permit! They will process that request! They will transfer your child to the other school! They will DO THESE THINGS. Sorry to e-shout.

In short, to brag, I always get what I want with bureaucrats, because I am nice to them.


Ransom said...

There are exceptions, to be sure. There are unreasonable requirements, contradictory rules, and there are bastards in every profession. I'm not sure that I would go so far as to say that I like bureaucracy, but fundamentally I agree with your observations.

It's why I generally leave the DMV in a fine mood.

kungfuramone said...

Indeed! Exceptions exist, but in my 32 years of living in the web of regulation and oversight, I'd have to say that I've had a 90+% positive overall experience with bureaucrats.

"Bureaucracy" literally means "rule by office," BTW. :]

noncoupable said...

*except when you are in China.

That is all.