Diary of a Federal Employee

by Steve Weiss

The following journal entry has been "borrowed" from a federal employee, whose name and occupation have been withheld for his or her protection.

Dear Diary,

Today was the same as any other day. I got to work 5 hours early in order to find parking in the Menial Federal Employee Parking Lot. It's mandatory that all employees park in the lot, although there are only 10 spots for 400 employees, but there is ample street parking. Then there is the Supervisor Lot, which has 50 spots for 2 supervisors. Our cars will be immediately towed if we park in the Supervisor Lot. Actually, one of the two supervisors does nothing but make sure that nobody else parks in the Supervisor Lot. He's currently making a six figure salary.

At the door, I had to show my building card to the security guard. He started telling me about his wife's problems. I told him I need to get to work, and he reminded me of the clause in my contract that stated that I have to listen to every story he wants to tell me.

Six hours later, I went upstairs to my office, and was docked for being late. I tried to explain to my supervisor about the security guard, and he had me fill out a Lame Excuse for being Late form. I filled it out, and he told me I had to mail it to him, even though he's in the office next door.

I put the form in an envelope and was about to put it in my outbox for the mailboy to pick up, when I remembered that the mailboy would not be in today since he had to attend the Federal Mailboy's Workshop, so I went outside to mail it myself. As I re-entered the building, the security guard stopped me and demanded to see my card, which I had accidentally left upstairs. Even though he had known me for years, he made me fill out a Lame Excuse for Thinking You Belong in this Building form, which made me agree that if I try to steal anything, I have to donate all my organs to the government.

As I handed him the form, I noticed a person wearing a ski mask, who was holding a crowbar, enter the building and freely go upstairs. I asked the security guard why he didn't stop the person, and he told me he's on a break.

I went back upstairs, only to find my supervisor waiting for me, who was angry that I haven't done any work today. I tried to tell him why, but he made me fill out a Lame Excuse for Not Doing Any Work Today form. After I threw out the form, I got to work.

I was going to get to a stack of paperwork, when I noticed the many flashing lights on my phone, I answered one of the calls, and found out that person had been on hold since the Carter Administration. He asked me something about a form, and he what ethnicity to check, because of his multi-ethnic background, which was not covered on the form. I told him that if the form doesn't mention his exact situation, then his situation does not exist.

The next call came from someone who misplaced one of their forms, and needed another one. I then told her to call the Office of People Who Mail Forms to Losers Who Lose Them, and she told me that it closed because of budgetary constraints six years ago. I told her I was not the one who closed it, so she has no business complaining to me about it.

I was about to answer another call, but my supervisor announced that today was Mailperson's Appreciation Day, and it was mandatory that we all attend a three hour reception honoring mailpeople. We all went to the designated coffee room, where we each had to pay $35 for stale danish, and to listen to a mail-person who had been flown in (first class, I might add) from Argentina, who discussed the mail delivery in medieval Turkish society. I made the mistake of pointing out that in the Middle Ages, Turkey was known as the Byzantine Empire, and I was fined $50 for harrassing the guest speaker.

I answered two more calls, before being interrupted by my supervisor, who told me it was mandatory for me to go to a seminar on agricultural accounting, when I pointed out that I was not an accountant, nor did my job even remotely involve any kind of accounting. He told me that he does not care about a minor technicality.

After returning from the seminar, I was about to answer another call, when my supervisor announced that it was quitting time, and like every day, I had to fill out a So, You Think You're Going Home form that made me promise not to try to break in later that night and steal anything, and had me verify that I had not been deported today.

As I left, I picked up my paycheck, and used that money to buy a pack of gum.