Ultimately, that which makes the bureaucracy a rewardingly, safe job is also that which destroys it’s very integrity and the integrity of those working there: the culture. Weber, penultimate observer of the bureaucracy, believed that American bureaucracy was going to eventually supplant German bureaucracy (which at his time was considered an amazing and wondrous thing). It did, though not entirely in the anticipated means.
Now, firmly ensconced in its echo chamber, the bureaucracy is a monolith by its nature. Then again, most companies are; however, there is something truly unique about the pyramidal like structure of a developed agency. At my agency, the power brokers sit miles away at the state capital, surrounded in an echo chamber not three blocks from the state’s Capital Building. The state is divided in to X number of areas in which there is one main area office from which a director rules down to each individual office in the county seat. It is modern feudalism when one breaks it down: the governor is the king, the director his trusted companion, the director’s team is a series of trusted companions, and the directors of the area are the knight vassals.
At each point along this path, one can be roadblocked, railroaded, and tossed aside. Misrepresentation rules the day which falls right back in line with the culture: an individual that attempts to offer fresh ideas is often vilified the moment it becomes convenient to their management. Now, I realize that this is the fate of the middle manager, yet it’s disquieting. I look at friends in similar positions that work hard and well for their companies and seldom serve as a fall guy to their manager. Working hard and pretending to work hard are often the same within the bureaucracy. There is a great deal of difference between: “look what my team accomplished through hard work!” and “look what my team accomplished through me working hard!” Oh well, maybe I’m the bigger fool, a favorite musician wrote, that nurtures every fight and every loss.
In other news, if anyone that reads this is interested in a writing, anthropology/philosophy geek that has management, research, and field experience, toss me an email.