COB-40: focusing on your job

Focus is a key to greatness. The best bureaucrats focus on doing their jobs. Entrepreneurs and innovators often lack formal job descriptions, and even if they had job descriptions, they probably wouldn’t follow them. But committed bureaucrats get their jobs done, day in and day out, year after year. That’s what makes a twenty-five-year service award such an important achievement.

Without a doubt, the work-a-day world is filled with distractions. Some young guy wants to try something new. Some ambitious woman pretends that she can do her work twice as fast as others. These types of persons will never succeed in maintaining their positions in a bureaucracy.

You’ve got your own challenges. Someone just outside of your door will make bodily noises or imitate animal sounds. Someone might tie a pink balloon around your head. To succeed, you’ve got to ignore all the possible nonsense, find your rut, and run smoothly back and forth in it. Nothing is better than a job well done, and well done, again, and again.

Other bureaucratic reporting this month:

Highlighting one among the many huge challenges facing the newspaper industry, Bee at Backreaction observes that journalists favor crazy and scary stories. Bee, who is a physicist at, I would guess, a large university, adds:

I will admit that most of our research indeed is quite boring and repetitive. It’s just small variations on always the same theme. I bet it’s the same in your job.

Indeed it is. I believe that this points to some deep feature of the cosmos.

Bear Matters BC reports on bureaucrats’ criticisms of their own agency’s proposed orphan black bear rehabilitation facility. Good bureaucrats fearlessly tell their leaders the truth. In light of freedom-of-information laws, it is best to tell the truth verbally in meetings.

Dipali Mukhopadhyay at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace assimilates Afghan warlords to bureaucrats. This seems to me rather inappropriate, since only a very small share of warlords are women. Mukhopadhyay writes: “Acknowledgment of hybrid governance need not mean the abandonment of formal institutional capacity building on the part of international, intervening organizations.” Of course not. Warlords or no warlords, leading bureaucracies will continue to build new bureaucracies.

THE ominously reports that Zhu Qingshi will become president of the South China Science and Technology University. Zhu has declared one of his top priorities to be the de-bureaucratization of the university. In other words, he plans to completely destroy the university. This sort of action wouldn’t be permitted in the U.S.

Under Carnival of Bureaucrats’ regulations, this carnival cannot include any posts that use the phrase “stupid bureaucrats” (see Rule 6). Under the third revision of the submission guides (not formally published and not legally binding), the phrase “stupid American bureaucrats” is considered a “similar phrase” under Rule 6. We consider it likely that “stupid British bureaucrats” is also a similar phrase and hence covered under Rule 6. However, we have issued a waiver of Rule 6 to include a post entitled “Stupid British bureaucrats kill rare bird“. The waiver issued because the death of a wild golden eagle in Britain is an exceptional event with unprecedented importance to hard-working, dedicated bureaucrats. In particular,we tentatively conclude that bureaucrats should avoid attempting to care for large, wild birds if doing so is not in their specific area of expertise. Nonetheless, this waiver should not be interpreted as establishing a rule that the death of a bird, or even the death of a wild golden eagle in Britain, permits using the phrase “stupid bureaucrats” or similar phrases covered under Rule 6. Each such case needs to apply individually for a waiver of Rule 6.

That’s all for this month’s Carnival of Bureaucrats. Nominations of posts to be considered for inclusion in next month’s carnival should be submitted using Form 376: Application for Bureaucratic Recognition.

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