Dealing with Mrs Jobsworth
A jobsworth is a person who uses his or her job description in a
deliberately obstructive way, "a minor factotum whose only status comes
from enforcing otherwise petty regulations". The term comes from the phrase "I can't do that, it's more than my job's worth."
You may not be familiar with this term in the U.S. but in England it's a very common phrase. My wife's been involved with one of these people for a few weeks now and this morning I think we're close to seeing a meltdown. Soon this "official" is going to be feeling the wrath, and I'm staying in my office until it's over, thankyouverymuch.
My wife wants a part-time job. She figures the school system is a good place for this, so she applied to the local county school system. After submitting forms, applying for open positions, etc we get this email.
"Dear Mrs Shaw, We need proof of your graduating high school" or words to that effect.
Aaah, well, you see in England we don't graduate high school. You just kinda..leave. You take exams, sure, but no-one here knows what a CSE, GSCE, etc are. Or cares.
So, we contact the old school. They send emails and finally a fax on headed paper to the county saying that my wife had left high school with good grades, passed exams and could have gone to college.
(Apparently, "could have gone to college" is a key phrase here, because only people who graduate high school can go to college)
None of this helped, unfortunately.
Mrs Jobsworth at the Henry County School Administration says that the correct words weren't used. The FIVE emails and letters that have been sent from the English school JUST WON'T DO. Sorry, she spoke to her supervisor but they still need a certificate or something.
We don't want to cause the poor woman in England any more grief, so we're probably going to drop the whole thing. But as you can imagine, my wife is pissed.
It got me thinking though, isn't this a subtle form of racial discrimination? Aren't schools the world over going to have trouble producing a high school diploma?
This is the problem dealing with jobsworth's - you are almost always better off just walking away before you say or do something you regret later..