Monday, April 19, 2010

Why I Hate Bureaucracy

First off, I can never spell the stupid word right. Seriously, I get it so incredibly wrong that the Word spellchecker just kind of stares at me in confusion. Every. Single. Time.

Secondly, it seems like it is a kind of social rot that is encroaching on every part of our society. It isn’t enough to simply be able to do something any more. You have to have some piece of paper in order to certify that you can. You can’t just ask for a position, you have to send in some random information that has little chance of going anywhere but some bulk file in some paper-pusher’s computer, and then ask for a job.

In Mexico, there was a bishop serving in one of my wards who pointed this fact of life out to our young men’s group. He was a professional musician, a piano player, and believe me when I say he had skill. Unfortunately, though he knew what he was doing, and had a lot of experience at it, he couldn’t find employment because he’d never gotten an official music degree. How many brilliant musicians, scientists, philosophers or teachers are we missing nowadays simply because they didn’t go through the paper mill that our school systems have become?

Of course, some would argue that the paperwork is necessary to ensure the people who are given jobs have qualifications. Then again, I would say that just as many people these days manage to have the paperwork and not the skill it is supposed to represent, so the idea that it justifies the whole system rings a little hollow. Especially since I suspect that nobody bothers to check it anyway, so most of these things just sit in somebody’s trash can waiting to fill a dump somewhere.

Perhaps I’m just in a bitter attitude about things lately, but the more and more as I think about it, bureaucracy as we know it consists of trying to hide from the actual world behind a piece of paper. It obstructs people more than it helps them. Doctors spend more time filling out forms than treating patients, scientists are lauded more on publishing than on actual discoveries, and politicians care about statistics more than statesmanship. I have to wonder how far all of this will go before it just all comes crashing down.

Oh well. My view is a little colored by my ‘useful’ Molecular Biology degree in the first place as well as the recent process of filing taxes, so I’m biased. What do you think?

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