Navigating Administrative Bureaucracy, Part II

February 17, 2010

One of our commenters suggests the following strategy for getting what you want from an administrative bureaucrat:

I take a deep breath just before entering their office. [Then I look] them in the eye and say[] “look here you fuck, I need X, Y and Z. And you are wasting my fucking time with all this fucking bullshit. So what you are going to do, is get on that fucking computer of yours and type what ever the fuck it is you type in order to make it happen. Capice?”

Well, that is a close enough paraphrase!


7 Responses to “Navigating Administrative Bureaucracy, Part II”

  1. Dr. O Says:

    Hmmm…wonder how well that actually works.

  2. Peanut Says:

    OP and response both boil down to the same thing: Person 1 getting thru whatever needed so that Person 2 can get thru whatever needed.

    Problem: Person 1 and Person 2 do not have the same procedures, timelines, goals, or rewards. Nor do they speak the same language, despite being connected.

    Solution: MFJ! At least Person 1 and Person 2 can start speaking the same language.

  3. Narya Says:

    Well, and, as someone who has been on both sides of that particular type of desk, a few other notes:
    1. Do not come in at the last fucking minute all the fucking time, and expect me to put aside every other fucking emergency!!11!! demand for YOUR demand. Give me a heads-up when you know something is coming along, and make sure you have your ducks in a row. Thus, when you DO come in for the occasional unavoidable drop-everything emergency, I will be much more likely to accommodate you.
    2. Do not act as though I am your personal servant. I may not be curing cancer AND ending poverty the way you apparently are, but I do, in fact, have responsibilities that have nothing at all to do with you personally but that, overall, enable you to do your work.
    3. Try to tell me what you need; don’t try to tell me how to do my job. If you tell me what you need, what you’re trying to accomplish, I may know multiple ways of doing that and can strategize accordingly.

    I have taken this approach from the “I need something” side of the desk, as well, and it often works nicely.

    The whole thing falls apart when one of the people in the transaction is stupid or mean, but that’s always true.

  4. muttie Says:



    I have to admit that I haven’t read a funniest post in my entire life.

    I don’t have to do any abs today at the gym. You saved me a lot of pain. Thanks.

    If you don’t get your *F* money, (I mean your *F* grant), you can become an instructor in a fancy gym. Don’t despair !!!

  5. Historiann Says:

    A friend of mine, Fratguy, likes to use the technique he refers to as “the grinfuck.” AKA more flies with honey, appear to agree smilingly that you all have the same goals but insist on your own being top priority, etc. approach.

    But the one you describe above could be a highly enertaining plan B.

  6. Isis the Scientist Says:

    This sounds hilarious, but I’ll bet it doesn’t get him far.

  7. Narya Says:

    I used to work with someone who was in Marketing. I didn’t trust her as far as I could spit and hit her, because the only time she was smiling and nice to people was when she wanted something from them. That is, she tried the grinfuck.

    The thing is, there were times when what she wanted was also what needed to be done, or what was the next/right thing to do, which meant that she got positive reinforcement for her grinfucking when it was actually that people other than her had already figured out, well before she walked into the room, that X needed to happen and Y was the path to take to do that.

    She was such a weasely fuck. A couple of years later, i was walking down the street w/ other friends and ran into weaselfuck. I said hello and kept going. The other friends said, hey, I think she wanted to talk to you. And I said, I don’t give a fuck; she’s a weaselfuck of a marketing person and I no longer work with her, so I have no interest in talking to her, and, in fact, would not piss on her if she were on fire.

    Point being–and I do have one–grinfucking can work against you, too, if the person on whom you are attempting this tactic realizes at all what you’re doing.

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