So what DOES your salary cover?

When dealing with Israeli bureaucracy, one must have a really good sense of humor. One time I went to a government office to pick up part of a scholarship I had received and was quickly told that I needed an “ishur” (Guarantee) from my university that I was actually a student there. I remarked that I had supplied the ishur the last time. The grumpy old lady told me that that ishur was sent to my file in Jerusalem and I needed another one. I asked her if she could just call Jerusalem and confirm that it was in my file and she told me that there are too many files in Jerusalem and that no one there would go look for mine. They are all very busy, you see. It would also have made too much sense for them to have a computerized record of who has supplied which forms.

So I called the administrator at my university who said she wasn’t sure she had the right form they needed so she told me to ask the secretary there to write down the name of the form so that we could double check it next time I’m on campus.

“No,” replied the secretary when I explained the situation.

“But how will I know what form I need?” I asked.

“I’m telling you what you need. And I told the administrator what you need,” grumpy lady replied.

“But I don’t know what you’re talking about…I don’t know all the forms at the school. Can’t you just write it down so that I do this right next time?” I asked.


“Why not? Why don’t you want to help me?” I asked.

“My salary does not cover writing in the office,” she replied.


One Response to So what DOES your salary cover?

  1. Warren says:

    A friend of mine once heard the following at a government office, and although the clerk was pompously referring to himself in the third person, it explains a lot of you take it as a general principle.

    הפקיד אינו פה לשרות הקהל

    The clerk is not here to provide service to the public.

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