In response to my post about Ms. DS-160 and the um -- “unforeseen” challenges in the rollout of DS-160, a reader quoted former Consular Bureau top honcho, Maura Harty who used to say "We touch people's lives." Reader has some added words of spicy wisdom: “Yeah, well, we touch a LOT of people's lives, and when we screw up, we screw up big.”
The full title of the first chapter of the book is “Parkinson’s Law, or The Rising Pyramid.” This chapter explains how work expands to fill the available resources within a bureaucracy and why bureaucracies grow exponentially at a compounding rate of around 5% per year. The subtitle addresses the mechanism for this growth, bureaucrats creating a pyramid of subordinates. Parkinson derives his law from “two almost axiomatic statements”:
- An official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals.
- Officials make work for each other.
Nowadays Parkinson’s law is usually condensed to saying work expands to the time allowed. It is applied to individuals as well as a burgeoning bureaucracies. Parkinson discusses this interpretation in his opening paragraph but then limits his attention to organizations.
The total effort that would occupy a busy man for three minutes all told may in this fashion leave another person prostrate after a day of doubt, anxiety, and toil.