Friday, August 29, 2008

An Upside to Everything

From May 1 until today, I've been working half-time at Queen's University and half-time at the Royal Military College. Today marks the last day of my employment at Queen's. This fall, or rather next Tuesday (which still seems a season away), I will be full-time at RMC. My duties at RMC are changing from strictly research to research and teaching, and this addition requires a new application process. While I was filling the first forms, the department head said to me, "You're not an employee until you've filled out your bodyweight in forms." That was a couple months ago. He appears to be right. There have been three occasions since then, including today, where I've had to fill out even more forms (and one more before then if you count the electronic submission of my CV and other documents). The process involved traipsing around to at least 5 different locations on the RMC campus, and in some cases more than once. I'm still not done. When I was waiting at security the second time (after seeing the secretary of the math department for the second time), I thought about the stereotypical government [1] inefficiency which was being confirmed before my very eyes, and about the ways in which the process could be made at least marginally more efficient [2].

Moments ago, I turned on my browser, and, courtesy of the Quote of the Day Google Gadget, I read the following quote from Harry Truman

"Whenever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship."
So I guess I should be grateful.

[1] RMC is part of the Department of National Defence, which in turn is, of course, part of the government. It seems to be tied more closely with the federal government than Queen's is to the provincial government.

[2] To be fair to RMC, they've improved things somewhat since I worked there a couple years ago. That time, there were 6 locations that I had to go to instead of 5, and they're closer together now than they were before. Baby steps.

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