Essentially, You’re An Idiot

, , , , | Working | December 18, 2020

I work in a hospital as an IT technician. My colleague told me this story. A few years before I started working there, the Estates department declared a cap on “unnecessary expenditure” within their department. This basically meant they wouldn’t do any work that they considered to be “nonessential.”

Around the same time, the Chief Executive of the Health Trust to which the hospital belonged declared that “all departments must do their utmost to reduce waiting lists” and that “resources would be made available to facilitate this.”

My colleague was contacted by the leader of a small nursing team who had determined that waiting lists in her department could be reduced by the addition of three new staff members. She had recruited the staff and now just needed three new PCs and monitors. My colleague ordered the PCs, got them set up, and then visited her department to see where the new machines could go. He realised that, while there was ample desk space for the new employees, there weren’t enough power sockets and network points in the office to connect the computers.

My colleague put in a request to Estates Services to get three new network points and six new power sockets installed in the office. That afternoon, one of the Estates people rejected the request as “unnecessary expenditure.” Furious, my colleague phoned the head of the Estates department.

Estates Head: *Arrogantly* “Power sockets and network points are not classed as essential maintenance, and would thus incur unnecessary expenditure.”

Colleague: *Calmly* “Okay, fine. But when [Chief Executive] asks [Nursing Team Leader] why she hasn’t done enough to reduce her department’s waiting lists, I’ll make sure she tells him that it’s because your department won’t do their jobs!”

The following day, my colleague got a call from a delighted [Nursing Team Leader], who informed him that Estates Services had just been in and installed six new power sockets and three new network points.

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