Ever wondered why, in your dealings with public services, appointment letters take so long to arrive, or you've mysteriously disappeared off their records? Read on to find out!
- Old people. Wittering. On and on and on and on and on.
- Internet Explorer.
They want a receptionist. Full-time. They want somebody to give up 8 precious waking hours of their daily life to sit there listening to people moan and share their worries and be all TMI about their problems. While trying to operate ancient systems (more on that in a moment), with the phone ringing at them, with colleagues also being all TMI about their lives, countless emails flooding in, chasing up correspondence that’s gone missing, writing out notes longhand for those colleagues reluctant to jump on that aforementioned newfangled 'electronic mail' bandwagon, and trying to look ‘presentable’ all the while instead of like they're about to go all Columbine on the place.
£13k they want to pay them. In Brighton. Where the living costs are rapidly creeping up to match London’s.
Thing is, you could make it £26k and they’d do a shitty job because they’d be going home with £26k in their pocket whether they do a good job or not.
Three words. PERFORMANCE. RELATED. PAY. Introduce that to the public sector and start seeing some changes. P'raps.
“Well you see Doctor, I was popping round to Ethel’s (she’s my cousin on my Father’s side, sadly her Albert passed away three months back – or was it four? – and she’s coped ever so well but she does appreciate my visits nevertheless, especially when I bring the Eccles cakes, cor, she doesn’t half wolf those down!) last Wednesday…or was it last Tuesday? No, I remember asking No.19’s young lad Malcolm to give me a hand putting the bin out the night before so it must’ve been Tuesday, and I felt my knee starting to give me a bit of gip…”
Dylan Moran in Black Books comes to mind. “More details! Please? What time of year was it? What jumper were you wearing?”
It’s sad though. To the professional, a trip to the doctor’s is a minor inconvenience to be dealt with as swiftly as possible so they can get back to important things like colouring in databases, and meetings which last half the afternoon where nothing very much is said. To an old person, it’s a rare trip out the house to talk to someone that ain't the cat or the telly. And doctors have to be patient. That’s their job. You’d think it would be the job of the patient to be patient, but that is clearly a misnomer.
I’m sure most of you have been in a position where you’ve innocently asked a receptionist to retrieve some simple information for you and you then spend the next seven minutes examining the moles on her face or the fake flowers on the desk with the film of dust all over them. It’s not because he or she can’t spell. Or double click. (Although I have worked with administrators twice my age that have had to be shown how, so possibly scratch that) It’s because of the browser, and the government’s reluctance to pay out for a Microsoft upgrade.
IT departments will tell you employees MUST use Internet Explorer because Internet Explorer is automatically regularly updated and patched by Microsoft, keeping information safe for both staff and customers. That’s BS. Firefox and Chrome are updated more regularly, if anything. That, coupled with (eventually) the updated versions of Windows knackered PCs stuggle to cope with, result in front line staff pulling pained faces, patting the edge of the monitor, and saying stuff like “it’s thinking about it” while they watch the pointer mockingly rotate the precious minutes of life both parties have wasted when all they’re trying to do is look up a postcode.