Quote of the day/week/however long

"Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does."
~William James

Monday, April 20, 2015

If Your Cause is Righteous and Just...

Once upon a time there was a consular section whose layout was beyond nonsensical. It dated back to the times when visa interviews were conducted at leisure across an office desk. Or it dated to the building's former use as a bar or a bicycle repair shop or a cattle byre. And it dated to the times when there were, at most, four visa applications in a day.

But those days were past. Now scores of applicants queued up outside, inside, outside and inside again, for up to eighteen hours, and were constantly pestered by sun, bugs, crooked cops, travel agents, leather-jacket punks, queue-cutters and general touts. There was no shade, no seating, no water, no restrooms. And they were supposed to consider themselves lucky, that the consulate would see them at all.


Madam has said so many times before: fix this. Does she even have to tell you why?

Three quick reasons:

- It shows a contemptuous lack of the simplest respectful courtesy for our host country nationals.

- If there is a drive-by bombing, these innocent civilians will be the ones killed: in the embassy bombing in Nairobi, 213 people were killed and 4,000 wounded, 99.9% Kenyan. Only a few hundred of those Kenyans were queued up to visit the consular section ; a few hundred too many.

- It is inefficient.

Remember what else she has said before, repeating the excellent advice of a colleague she admired: "Take out of the process everything that you won't be arrested for not doing. Then simplify everything that's left."

If it will take six hours to see a person who is in the queue now, that person should not even walk up to the building until six hours from now. If he's here long before his appointment time, it's because you're still doing something wrong so he doesn't trust you.

If you tried to fix this and your fixes didn't work, then keep fixing everything that you do until they finally do work. The Department-required appointment system doesn't work? Refuse to use it or get it fixed. After all, what do you have to do that's more important than this? Yes, that's a trick question. The answer is 'Nothing.'

Do you think that you, an ordinary consular officer, can't change a Department-wide foul-up of any kind for the better? You're wrong. One of the best pieces of advice that Madam ever got was from an officer with a lot of experience in moving the supposedly immovable for the better. That officer said simply, "If your cause is righteous and just and you don't get tired before they do, you WILL get your way."

Now.  Fix this.

Or live with this

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nag, nag, nag! All right then!