Ask a Bureaucrat (December 2012)

Dear Bureaucrat,

I just started in the government after spending the last five years waiting for my security clearance, and I’m wondering, will any of my unused vacation hours carry over to 2013?

-Cooped up at Commerce

Dear Cooped,

There is a simple formula for calculating how much government vacation time carries over: take the total number of hours remaining. That’s it. The catch is that your boss won’t ever let you take time off because he’s worried about having enough coverage in the section. We call that a catch-75, which is what it costs the government to catch 22.

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Dear Bureaucrat,

Whenever someone travels abroad they are supposed to bring back treats for the office. Well, I was in Geneva for a conference last week and I just plumb forgot. SOS!

-Dead Meat

Dear DM,

This one’s a piece of cake. Buy a Toblerone at Safeway and say it’s from Switzerland. Or, even better, do what the rest of us do and just order something online.

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Dear Bureaucrat,

I read that if we go over the fiscal cliff then all agencies will have their budgets cut by 8%. How will that affect bureaucrats like us?

-A. Taxpayer

Dear Taxpayer,

For us it will be nonbusiness as usual. Let’s face it: if we cared about things like getting raises or finding supplies in the supply closet or maybe one day upgrading to Windows 98 we would work for one of those fancy pants private companies like Wal-Mart. Okay, I admit it, some of us do work nights and weekends, but that’s only until we reach 10 years of service and the government forgives our student debt.

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Dear Bureaucrat,

My boss gave out Christmas cards emblazoned with Bible quotes. As a Muslim, how should I respond?

-Not Well Versed

Dear Not Well,

You can take the high road and say thank you, or you can take the holy road and send him a card with a quote from the Quran. Good luck getting your clearance renewed.

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