My daughter has a friend who works in a Government Department. She’s not got her own office or a truckload of minions working below her, in point of fact she is probably as close to the bottom of the pecking order as matters, but she does a good job- she’s a librarian in their (you guessed it) reference library.

A few weeks ago she applied for leave to attend her grandfather’s 100th birthday celebrations in Christchurch. “Sorry, the other library person will be away, and we can’t spare you” (well I’m assuming they said “sorry” when they turned her down!) Obviously she was very disappointed to miss the celebrations and see her grand old grandfather again, but there you go…

This week her grandfather passed away.

I am now assuming they will grant her leave to attend the funeral, but it’s not quite the same thing, is it? Unfortunately her last ever opportunity to see her grandfather alive was lost because of a bureaucratic decision based on her (apparently) ‘indispensable’ role in the Ministry! What tosh!

I am prepared to bet there are no Ministry managers, department heads or other similar jobs that come with a private office who would not have been granted leave of a day or two to attend their grandfather’s 100th birthday celebrations, regardless of how ‘indispensable’ their role may seem to be. We are ALL dispensable! If I fall off the perch tomorrow the world will not stop, the jobs that I do will still get done even though, possible, someone may have to wait a day or so for a requested action to take place!

I doubt anybody can convince me that the library and this young lady and her co-worker are of such pivotal value to The Ministry that if they came down with the flu and had to stay in bed for a couple of days the Government would declare a national emergency and the wheels of power would grind to an earth-shuddering halt (as least as it relates to matters concerning that particular Ministry)!!

Is it little wonder that she doesn’t like her job, doesn’t experience job satisfaction and doesn’t particularly want to be there?

It’s always sad to lose a loved one but I think particularly so in this case because of a missed opportunity caused by a lack of flexibility and unfair and uncaring bureaucratic ‘rules’ that lose sight of the important things in life, one of the most notable being able to celebrate just that- LIFE, (and more particularly in this case, 100 years of it.)


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