As a senior and a bureaucrat, I have recently assumed the authority to identify myself as a “Senior-Bureaucrat” on LinkedIn and other non-government, unofficial, controlled-by-me public notices of my existence.
This has had the unintended consequence of attracting annoying inquiries from young aspirants interested in a career in public service and looking to learn at the elbows of a master in the profession.
After entertaining a number of such requests, I have developed a standard reference piece to redirect bothersome appeals for career guidance. I am reproducing it here and will post it on the Internet to serve as a resource for students. The document is drawn from the transcript of my most recent interactions with a scholar from the Castorian University School of Public Administration and Strategic Thinking.
“Rrrrringuh, Rrringuh ....”
“Hello, the office of Jonathon L. Swallow, acting interim manager of support and secretariat services.”
“Yes, Mr. Swallow, my name is Cyrus Stoodias – I’m a undergrad in public admin and strat thoughts at C-U, and I was wondering if I might interview you about your duties and your views on your profession in general.”
“ Well, ah, I think you have the wrong person. How did you get my number ?”
“I got your number from the government operator – I saw you on LinkedIn as having some responsibility for your department’s support and secretariat services and that’s the subject of my project.”
“Well, I think you might be looking for someone in operations – my job is limited to policy and planning and what you are talking about is not really in my area. Please call the government operator again and ask for someone in the program delivery section.”
“No, honestly, Mr. Swallow. The policy and strategy stuff is what I am studying, and I would really appreciate the chance to talk – I could maybe come down and meet you in your office – sometime convenient.”
“I’m sorry – I am very busy this week and will be on leave the week after – maybe longer - and I think that they plan to increase the security requirements for entry to our building particularly by officially unauthorized members of the public - you might be best to talk to someone in one of the other departments.”
“Well, I have been assigned your department and all of the interesting ones have already been taken by the other students – would it be OK if I sent you my questions in writing.”
“Yes, I suppose, but you must submit them via the department’s online form to the Media Relations office for vetting.”
“But I’m not a journalist, and I don’t expect to publish this paper – it’s just for my term project on multifarious administrative processes and innovative accountability avoidance.”
“Oh, in that case, you should also file a freedom of access to information request with the requisite $6.50 fee listing all of the information you need, time frames concerned, and likely sources of the relevant documentation?”
“Thanks, Mr. Swallow, this has been great, I think I have all that I need – forget the interview, bye."