Archives for category: Office

Our lips twisted into a sardonic smirk as we arched our eyebrow in disbelief. Was there no limit to the ridiculousness that the PTB would engage in to defend admin?

It started innocuously enough. With some spare time on our hands we were asked to do a particular task, one not relished by anyone in the office. Indeed, almost studious avoided. With the universal dread we accepted it and that is where the trouble began.

Like our colleagues, we noted the procedural flaws. It is something with a bit of time (and admittedly money) could be streamlined far more efficiently. There at heart of the current dispute laid the letter.

The letter, due to legislative reasons needs to conform to particular strictures, but we pointed out that a certain paragraph shouldn’t be formatted in that manner and another needed slight amendment. A two minute job. Yes? No.

“But that is how is it supposed to be. The paragraph is supposed to be like that.”

“No, it is not. We checked (insert relevant website) and it is not supposed to be like that.”

“But that is how is formatted.”

“No, it is not. You can check the (insert relevant website) and you can also check (collaborating source) .”

“It must have been like that. It wouldn’t be like that otherwise.”

“It has never been like that…(until your stupid admin started we added silently)”.

This continued for a while, as PTB drew upon every possible defence that it was not a problem within the remit of admin.

“Fine, we have a look at it.” PTB said exasperated and wanting me out of their office.

A week later, we asked if the template had been fixed. You guessed correctly, of course it hadn’t.

“Is it fixed yet?”

We were greeted with silence.

“Why don’t you tell me where the template it is and we will fixed it.”

Again silence. Otherwise, it would be interpreted as bullying the admin, if it was to be fixed.

“There is nothing wrong with it and that is how the template is (insert relevant website)”. We were amused but not surprised how quickly they were to defend admin vigorously and their *cough* infallibility.

“No, it is not.” At this point we thought, Why are we bothering?, if you want a letter to go out indicating a deficiency in education in the organisation, not my problem.

Reluctantly, PTB looked at the websites and conceded that the template may need to change.

So, a month later, the template has not been changed as to do so would be an admission that admin was wrong. We can’t have that as it is better to appear amateur hour than upset admin.


“You didn’t read my email, did you?”  was my accusatory tone to PTB.

“We did read it!” was the defensive reply.

“Really and what? Didn’t comprehend it?”

We have always been a cynical and bitter person but with every passing year immersed in such unrelenting stupidity it is sometimes hard to bite one’s  tongue.

Admittedly, emails can get overlooked in an inbox but when there is a pattern of emails being ignored and questioning emails demanding information that has been provided days, weeks beforehand is aggravating.  Some days there is no point bothering.




We do not know what is customary in other countries, but the chocolate fundraiser has always been a staple in the part of Australia that we live. Various times of the year you would see school children board a bus with their purple cardboard containers containing Freddo Frogs or Easter Eggs. Of course, there would be the parents that would take the box to work and sell to colleagues but alas that is to be no more if the Canberra Timescadbury-freddo-friends-funpack are to be believed.

We had to giggle that chocolate was considered a “red” food. (There is a whole post that could be dedicated as to why marking in red pen is detrimental. We are just waiting for the colour red to have its own safe space.)

Foods and drinks categorised as red – including cake, confectionery and soft drinks – are no longer permitted at fundraisers or as rewards and gifts.

Directorates and agencies have been given a year to become compliant.

A memo sent to staff on Tuesday explained the health risks of chocolate and confectionery fundraisers.

“Combining these high-energy foods with sedentary lifestyles can lead to unhealthy lifestyle behaviours, which increases the risk of developing long lasting health issues, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some forms of cancer,” the memo said.



Umm, chocolate isn’t a meal replacement. These days, the packaging even comes with its own health warning.  When will the demonising of sugar stop??????  There is a little thing called moderation.

As an alternative, it is suggested:

“If you are organising a fundraiser, try suggesting a novel approach like sporting equipment, fruit trays, movie tickets or store vouchers.

Ah, no.  Fruit Trays!!!!!!!!!  We would love to know how these “healthy” alternatives compare to the humble Freddo.

People need to take responsibility for their own dietary choices and not inflict their stupidity on to others.

Why?  Because the genesis of this blog is to document the mind numbing stupidity of the work-place.  A prohibited activity if we were a public servant.

Daniel Starr,Starr v Department of Human Services [2016] FWC 1460 a front line public servant first came to the powers to be’s attention when in April 2015 he contradicted posts by the Department of Human Service’s social media unit on the online forum ­Whirlpool.

The social media unit (Flick@HumanServices) posted youth allowance claims took at least 21 days to process but could be longer than expected.

Starr (mmmdl)responded by posting the benchmark was now 42 days and claiming that by giving incorrect information, it was “doing nothing other than giving people false hope, and increasing customer traffic”.

The department then trawled mmmdl’s various comments posted over the years and built a profile which they then ran against internal HR files to determine mmmdl’s identity.   Are you following?  A poster corrects the department’s erroneous assertions and they go on a witch-hunt!!!!

Of course there were the injudicious comments which hereto had not come to the Department’s attention. In 2012, Starr described appointments with long-term social security benefit recipients as “an appointment for the ­spastics and junkies.” It is Centrelink…

Starr was sacked as he breached the Code of Conduct (not for the post that first caught the Department’s attention) but the Fair Work Commission stated the Department had overstepped and should he should be re-instated.

This case is important  as it makes a distinction between senior and lower level public servants, and spells out how admin(front-line) workers are unlikely to derail government policy, no matter how critical they are online.

The Vice Commissioner found: I reject completely the proposition requiring all members of the APS to be respectful at all times outside of working hours, including in the expression of their attitude to the government of the day. It would require express and absolutely unambiguous language in the statute to justify the conclusion that such a gross intrusion into the non-working lives and rights of public servants was intended.’

It can be argued that APS Code of Conduct is being used to silenced Government critics but where does a public servant’s private life boundary begin?  Should you be sacked for something that was posted years ago?  Where does it leave employees in the private sector?

The Department intends to appeal the Starr decision to the full bench.



#86 (08.04.2016) Unfair Dismissal: Social Media Posts No Grounds for Dismissal



So, Good Morning
Good Morning
Sun beams will soon smile through
Good Morning
Good Morning to you and you and you and you (From Singing in the Rain)

Oh dear, it is now official. Failing to greet your colleagues with “Good Morning” and unfriending them on Facebook is a form of bullying.

Lifting straight from the Sydney Morning Herald:

Rachael Roberts was a real estate agent with 10 years’ industry experience. Since November 2012, she has been working at Tasmanian real estate agency VIEW Launceston.

Ms Roberts went to the Fair Work Commission alleging she had been bullied by her employer, mainly in her interactions with Lisa Bird, the sales administrator and the wife of the agency’s principal.

Ms Roberts said when she complained to the agency principal James Bird that she was not getting a fair representation of her properties displayed in the front window of the agency, Mrs Bird called a meeting and accused her of being a “naughty little school girl running to the teacher”.

Later that day, Ms Roberts found that Mrs Bird had deleted her as a Facebook friend.

The tribunal found unfriending her on Facebook showed a “lack of emotional maturity” and was “indicative of unreasonable behaviour”.

And …

The tribunal also found that Mrs Bird acted unreasonably when she did not acknowledge Ms Roberts in the morning and delivered photocopying and printing to other employees but not Ms Roberts.

On another occasion, Ms Roberts asked Mrs Bird to carry out a rental appraisal urgently. However, Mrs Bird sent the appraisal by letter instead of via email, which was the normal procedure.

Moral of the story:

  1.  Don’t friend anyone from work on Facebook (particularly the boss’s wife).
  2. If you have a problem with someone don’t trust them to carry out a task which is urgent.

Active wear giant Lorna Jane created controversy over the weekend with its ad seeking a receptionist/fit model.

Not only do you need to be a size 10 to subscribe to the philosophy of ‘active living’ but be patient as you will be’ required to stand around for long periods of time’.

Herein lies the question, if you are required to stand for long periods of time in a state of undress, how are you to tend to your receptionist duties?

Again for an ‘active’ company, you are expected to be motionless in your receptionist duties as well as you administer the ‘stationary requirements of head office.’

Yep, nothing like an ad to reveal the real philosophy of the company.

Department secretary (Department of Immigration) Michael Pezzullo revealed to a Senate committee on Monday that a staff code of conduct has been rolled out including advice on professional business dress standard because if you work in said department, this (ugg boots):

plus this (onesies)

apparently is not uncommon attire.  We know Canberra is cold but really?