Some of you think of them as banana-toting shells in government uniforms who take insanely long hours eating their bananas at the expense of taxpayers while verbally demolishing the reputation of some unknowing unfortunate soul on the second floor. When they trudge back to their stations to face the people who have multiplied exponentially, the only greeting they breathe is the sour smell of digested bananas.
Admit it. You’ve nurtured the stereotype too. Chances are there was a point in time when you also thought government employees are lucky bastards who get paid to stare vapidly into outer space on the rare times that they are on duty. I know I did once.
I couldn’t help it. I got accepted for a government position once where all I was required to do was to receive mail. After stamping the day’s mail, I was to pass it over to the lady at the back whose job was to deliver it to the recipient. In between the interminable hours when there was no mail, I was to do nothing. That could have made an ill bred monkey out of me too.
Last year and more recently, I was pleasantly surprised. When I paid my community tax a year ago, the clerk in charge of the counter I was in front of took a whole 30 minutes to, I imagine, eat her bananas. When she got back, she was bringing along another stick of bananas and a story for the clerk on the other cubicle. To my utter surprise, another lady approached the clerk with bananas, told her to keep her bananas and start working. Gasp! Government people now apparently care about the time and taxes that we pay.
This year, I had an even better experience paying my community tax. The woman who stole… erm… received my payment had a beautiful smile and said please and thank you. Double gasp!
My best experience of all was at a government agency. I had a problem with my health benefits and was prepared to argue myself hoarse with an uncomprehending clerk when, to the sound of my internal triple gasps, the lady in charge calmly took note of my problem and solved it for me in ten minutes. Best of all, there were no bananas in sight.
I have therefore come to the logical conclusion that not all government employees are useless banana-toting shells. Wow!
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