This week commenced with bitter cold, high winds, and an innocuous little e-mail from my ISP to the effect that they were about to “migrate” their email system and there might be some interruptions in service. It might have been more helpful if they had notified users that they would have to change the server settings and ports and provided the required information in the same email but, alas, that did not happen.
I suspect that this lapse occurred because the buck was passed from the geeks to the customer assistance staff who are not geeks. The geeks “assumed” the “everyone” obviously just knows what has to be done during a “migration” (it does not involve going to Florida). The “Not Geeks” (ie. the entire rest of the human population on the planet) of course, DON’T know what is involved, and just sent out a general mailing which said in effect “Hey there wonderful customers, we are changing something important but don’t worry”. So, four days later everything is working again. Sigh…
This sequence of events reminds me again of the truth embodied in “Sturgeon’s Revelation” which was wrung out of him after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud.:
“Using the same standards that categorize 90% of science fiction as trash, crud, or crap, it can be argued that 90% of film, literature, consumer goods, etc. is crap. In other words, the claim (or fact) that 90% of science fiction is crap is ultimately uninformative, because science fiction conforms to the same trends of quality as all other art forms”. Theodore Sturgeon, 1951, from a talk given at New York University.
In like vein, it follows that 90% of service (we are after all a “service based” economy) is also crap, mitigated in no way by bureaucrats and executives who at some low level understand it is crap but are covering their collective asses because crap is OK as long as they get their perks and rewards and don’t get “blamed” and held accountable for the crap. Lack of responsibility and accountability at all levels in all fields results in a feedback loop of continuous degeneration.
The reality of this is confirmed by daily experience – where no-one is held accountable, and no-one is responsible, no-one gives a crap that everything is crap because it is always someone or something else’s fault. We are steadily moving away from a guilt based culture towards a shame based culture. That is seriously bad for a number of reasons. (Hmmm, might be another post there somewhere – I’ll have to think about that one.)
Responsibility and accountability are fundamental planks in a cultural moral framework where everyone is accountable to some higher authority. This is what makes a moral framework work. In a properly functioning moral framework there are consequences for producing “crap”. But look at what happens when one removes the highest authority as we have done in our modern progressive society.
The trickle down effect gradually works its way through the system until the entire structure is rotten to the core and then it collapses utterly, bringing down everything and everyone who depend on that framework for their very survival. In essence, what we see is slow motion societal suicide.
We see this at all levels and in all sectors these days and nowhere better exemplified than in the ever increasing over-bearing self-righteous pontifications of gubmint authorities and their professional proxies – the experts. In real life, real people see things like the following and do not doubt the decline in which we are all entrapped.
Several years ago when working for a gubmint agency as a numbered professional I was “rendered redundant” through the elimination of my position by my “superiors”. They did this because I was unwilling to commit a felony on their behalf and give them cover. They could not “fire” me for cause because I was doing a good job.
So they phased me out, paid me a large sum of fiat money to “go away and stop causing problems” for them. The exit interview branded me as “A Lone Ranger with an over developed sense of right and wrong” and “Not a team player”. My response was “Which team?”
Anyway, I took the fiat money and turned it into real property before it could depreciate away and eventually bought a business. Although we are nominally a private enterprise we provide “professional” services to customers. As “professionals” we are of course governed by a government sponsored licensing body because the gubmint and their proxies in the licensing body “have to protect the interests of the public”. RIGHT …
So I got a professional news bulletin in the mail earlier this week entitled: “Maintaining professionalism amidst demands for increased productivity”. What is left unsaid in that title staggers the imagination. The message from the (professional licensing authority executive) continues:
“CBC Marketplace’s recent documentary questioning (professional service) provider’s practices cannot be ignored.”
For those who are not proud natives of the Dominion, the CBC is the visible face and operations centre of the Progressive Propaganda Ministry, claiming to speak for and to “all citizens” of the Great White North. The Mother Corporation claims virtually 100% following amongst federal civil servants, academics, and the chattering classes (and most of Toronto, the “Centre of the Known Universe”).
The inconvenient fact that the CBC has about 5% market share in the remainder of the Dominion places everything they do in context and virtually anything espoused by their choir is automatically suspect and lacks any credibility. Some of their fellow travelers in the media jungle might give this writer’s opinion some context. Have you ever heard of “Pravda”? Or “BBC” or Xinhua, CCTV, and People’s Daily ? Well you get my drift. “It MUST be true, I heard it on the CBC”, and so on and so forth.
Anyway, to cite the CBC on any topic immediately exposes the writer or speaker as another progressive ass covering bureaucrat whose agenda is “control of the masses” for their own good, of course.
This exalted personage goes on to say: “We have already reminded you through our e-newsletter, Title of the E-newsletter, to review your practice to ensure compliance with our standards and the Code of Ethics.” Translated “We have already reminded you to do what your told for your own good.”
As an experienced Policy Writer for a couple of govmint departments I can testify that “Standards” and “Codes of Ethics” are in a continuous state of flux as senior officials discover ever more detailed ways to cover their collective asses and blame the front line folks who actually have to do the work.
The use of the word “Ethics” in connection with ANYTHING to do with gubmint is pretty much universal cause for ROTFLMAO throughout the civilized world and also in most of the uncivilized world. It is possible that the uncivilized world has a better or more realistic appreciation of “gubmint Ethics” than the unfortunates in the Western Kingdoms.
In the next line we get: “Professional” licensees have been personally addressed, requesting that they work with you, and other team members to review policies, procedures, workflow, and the allocation of human resources, to ensure operational factors enable and support you to comply with the standards and the Code of Ethics.” Waaahhh?
Seriously! W.T.F. does that even MEAN???? The rest of the “message” continues on in the same manner and style for three full columns! Where do they get these people? And it comes as no surprise to the writer that these chowder heads get six figure salaries from the “Public Purse” to spend their time coming up with these sorry justifications for their pathetic existence!!!!!
On a positive note, for those hardy souls who managed to survive the introductory “message” (God Bless ’em everyone for heroic tenacity) the rest of the 6 page bulletin ain’t half bad with a number of helpful articles and tips and tricks and an inspirational closer about an example of “professional” excellence in community service.
To the corner office types – a free tip. Once you get so far out of touch that you feel you have to follow the lead of the CBC, your organization is in marked decline. Better look for a new line of work. There are probably lots of openings in the front lines and it just might get you back in touch with your profession and what it really does.
Disclaimer for nitpickers: We take pride in being incomplete, incorrect, inconsistent, and unfair. We do all of them deliberately