28 January 2008

Inertia Bad and Good

Inertia: n. 1) Physics. The tendency of a body to resist acceleration; the tendency of a body at rest to remain at rest or of a body in straight line motion to stay in motion in a straight line unless acted on by an outside force. 2) Resistance or disinclination to motion, action, or change: the inertia of an entrenched bureaucracy.

Nothing new there. Here's what's new: Conversations with mid-level agency officials who are practically demanding that changes be made.

I know!

When the head donkey of an agency says "We want change," you can rest assured it is nothing but pifflegabble of the odious kind. But when several of the permanent members of that agency look you straight in the eye and say they want to do more and want to do it now, you sit up and take notice.

What they're saying is that money is available, but that it is blocked by incompetence or malice. That they have the tools to expand their assigned roles, but again, blocked by incompetence or malice. And that what they want is a path out of this bureaucratic prison, in essence, a jailbreak from the outside, for they have lost hope of being able to do it from the inside.

Not one or two agencies, either; in My recent experience, it's up to seven. Not a huge number when you realize there are over 200 in Our wasteland called government, but when you see a 7-for-7 trend, you should take notice.

And then there's this: I am not the first person they have spoken to. (A kick to the ol' ego, huh?) When I ask what happened to the previous contact, I get the same response: They said they'd help, but did nothing.

So after a dud or two (and in one agency, four), the agency's true leaders are sitting across from Me, in conference rooms and offices with framed pictures of smiling Fools, and they are telling Me about seeking services for their needs and being ignored.

I have been tempted to point out the irony of "they won't do anything" coming from a government agency, but (in a rare fit of maturity) I haven't. The trend is positive, and the chance for Me to do something that not only creates benefits but also shows up My so-called competition is just too good to pass up.

Inertia: n. Making use of an unusual property to prevent capsize.

The Jenius Has Spoken.


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