Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 05/11/13

Sifted? Or Shafted?

First off, please read (or re-read) this.

Now, older readers may be familiar with the work of the late, great Ian Dury.

Some of you in that category may well be acquainted with one of Lord Upminster's early masterworks, the tale of Plaistow Patricia.

If so, you will remember the very striking introduction to that song.

If you aren't familiar with it (or simply want to wallow in a few seconds of nostalgia), then click on the button below to hear it (if you dare), then try to guess why it was the first thing that went through my head and - had I not stopped myself in time - almost the first thing that came out of my mouth at a few minutes after 13.00 today:


That's right, I didn't get the job. In fact, it's worse: I didn't get any of the seven of them which were up for grabs. After nearly a week and a half of having to wait whilst the HR bods apparently tried to teach their computer systems that you don't send letters calling people for interviews if there are no interviews, the thirty-odd candidates received their automated e-mails at lunchtime.

The usual guff contained therein, of course: "We are sorry to inform you..." <blather-blather>, "...not reached the required standard..." <willy-willy-willy>, "We appreciate that this will be disappointing news..." <wibble, wibble>. And then inviting me to logon to my account at the Civil Service jobs site to get the feedback.

So I did, and found under the 'Making Effective Decisions' competence, "No evidence of decision-making".

Well, excuse fucking me, but the whole thing was about how I'd made decisions; how I had decided to approach the case, how I had decided on the most appropriate course of action to resolve it, how I had decided to confirm that my approach was correct by seeking advice from a technical officer, and how I had decided to spend over an hour on the telephone with the representative of the 'customer' (yechhhh!) to get to a mutually-satisfactory result.

And then, under the other competence, 'Managing A Quality Service', I found, "Did not go into sufficient depth".

Well, strap me to a tree and call me Brenda, what 'depth' could I go in to bearing in mind that I was limited to 250 words? I mean, short of resorting to txtspk or removing all active verbs and thereby creating a speech by the criminal mastermind Tony Blair at the height of his malign powers?

None of the four people on my team who had applied got any further than I did, despite the fact that I know that each one of us could do the offered jobs perfectly well.

It's the 'competence-based' crap again, though; just as it blocked me in 1997 and again in 2008. As on those two occasions, I find myself once again wanting to shout, "Just what the sodding hell are you looking for, then!!?". I mean, good luck to the eight people who got the seven jobs (eight into seven will go if some of them are part-timers), but once more I can't help thinking that I have been held back by a low tolerance of bullshit in either direction.

So, I'm left in a job whereby - although the work itself is OK, and the team I'm on is fantastic - I'm ready prey for middle and senior management who treat people as if they were cells on a spreadsheet, and might well put those people in cells if they thought they could get away with it. And where our beloved union seems to have sat on its collective arse for months on end without showing a single testicle or any other indication of leadership (and I speak as a committed trade unionist).

I suppose I'm taking it quite well really, but that is mainly because I didn't expect much better, being a firm follower of The Hidden Beatitude, viz., "Blessed are they who expect nothing, for they shall never know disappointment"

Ah, me! What is to come, pray? I think I'll just sit on my arse and coast the last eight years or so to retirement.