Bureaucracy – 4 Tips for Dealing with Government Agencies

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Bureaucracy is unavoidable.  It pervades almost every aspect of our lives.

Think about it.

Are you getting married?   Then you’ll need a license.

Building a deck?  Not without a permit.

Hiring an employee?  You’d better tell the state.

Dealing with the government at any level—federal, state or local—is never easy.

But how you approach the situation can minimize your frustration.

Here are a few tips that may help.

Understand the Bureaucrat’s Mentality

First, you need to understand that you’re dealing with a check-the-box mentality.

You either have the information or paperwork that the bureaucrat needs or you don’t.

If you don’t, then no amount of reasoning or arguing is going to help you.

So it’s best—before you submit anything to a government office—to understand exactly what they need from you.

 If You Don’t Know What You’re Doing—Say So!

Many bureaucrats talk down to people.

The moment they realize you’re confused about their policies or procedures, they treat you like the village idiot.

You should always admit your ignorance.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, say so.

Then ask for help.

This will disarm most bureaucrats and encourage them to act more like helpers and less like regulators.

Write Down Everything

Even bureaucrats can’t comprehend all the rules and regulations they enforce.

I often get conflicting advice from bureaucrats that work in the same office.

It’s possible to get their advice, do exactly what they say and then have them reject your paperwork when you finally submit it.

This is why you need to take notes.

When you ask for guidance always write down what you’re told to do.

Record the date and the name of the person who gave you the information.

Read everything back to them.

When you return to submit your paperwork—days, weeks, or months later—bring your notes with you.

If they tell you that your paperwork is incorrect, show them your notes and name the person who told you what to do.

At this point they will be forced to either accept your documents or contradict their coworker.

Keep Your Composure

Whatever you do, don’t lose your cool.

Yelling and losing your temper will almost guarantee that your paperwork or your case get the lowest priority.

Even the most efficient bureaucracies move like molasses.

Don’t give them any reason to put your matter at the bottom of their list.

Keep calm.  Be polite.  But remain persistent.

Like I said, dealing with these offices is never easy.  But if you follow my advice it should help reduce your aggravation and hopefully speed up whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish.

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