The public administration office – A universal truth

public admin officeThere are some universal truths when dealing with public administrators in deeply bureaucratic countries. The first of which is:

‘No matter how well prepared you are, they will always ask for a document that you don’t have.’

It will probably be something you have never had, or even knew existed.

Don’t panic, my advice is never admit anything! To leave now with a view to returning at a later date with said document is just setting you up for the same problem next time. What you must do is to begin confidently searching through a huge bundle of badly organised documents (that you prepared earlier) and make it look like it will take a good while.

If you are really lucky they will continue processing your paperwork and forget about it

If they decide to sit and wait, or ask for it again after 10 minutes, wait momentarily for them to get interrupted by the telephone, or someone else butting in from behind asking a really awkward convoluted question (don’t worry, that will definitely happen) and confidently hand over a document (anything similar looking to what they asked for) just out of direct sight, but within peripheral vision.

As they are busy that moment, they will likely leave it to one side and hopefully resume without actually looking at it

If that doesn’t work, you are left with the all-or-nothing option, which is to fain a sudden realisation as to where the document actually is and promptly send your colleague off to get it from a conveniently close location. The goal of all this tedious procrastination is to arrive at the perfect point in time whereby it is more effort for them to undo what they have already done and hand your stuff back, than it is to finish it and get rid of you regardless. Good luck!

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