Ask a Bureaucrat (August 2012)

Dear Bureaucrat,

My first trip for work is coming up next week. Am I allowed to take a taxi to and from the airport or should I use public transportation?

-New to E2 Travel Solutions

Dear NE2,

The government only requires receipts for travel expenses above $75. You should therefore take a $74.99 taxi everywhere you go. Add in comp time and per diem and this trip could be your ticket to early retirement.


Dear Bureaucrat,

I am sitting in a meeting that is super boring. How can I play solitaire on my phone without being super obvious?

-Sneaky Suzie

Dear Sneaky,

Place your phone on your lap to hide it, but avoid the rookie mistake of looking down. Instead position a mirror at waist level to reflect the screen. Attach a second mirror to your notebook and hold it at such an angle as to capture the reflection from the first mirror, rendering the image right side up and eye level. Pretend to take notes with your visible hand while moving red jack to black queen under the table with the other. Wait a minute, is this a conference call?


Dear Bureaucrat,

Please help me resolve a debate I’m having with a colleague. What is the appropriate etiquette for using the mute button during conference calls?

-Silent at State

Dear Silent,

The proper way to ———- is to always ————— but never —- ——— or else ———– potatoes. Got it?


Dear Bureaucrat,

Our summer intern is unpaid. What work am I legally allowed to ask her to do without contravening the Fair Labor Standards Act?

-Charlie Compliant

Dear You Big CC,

An unpaid internship is legal if the employer derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern. So ask her to do whatever you want, and just wait a few weeks before deriving advantage from it.

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