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Jobsworth: Confessions of the Man from the Council Paperback – 1 Apr 2013


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Product details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Chaplin Books (1 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1909183156
  • ISBN-13: 978-1909183155
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 885,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Malcolm Philips became a local government employee in 1967, and was immediately struck by the curiosities and oddities he encountered, some of which form the background to his book Jobsworth - Confessions of the Man from the Council (published by Chaplin Books in 2013) Humour, he discovered, was the only antidote to the terminal frustration of life in the public service.

He survived in the business for over 20 years before leaving to take up an equally questionable role as a training consultant, during which time he served a wide variety of industries from heavy engineering to civil aviation, and from construction to the law.

Malcolm now lives in south west France, where he is gradually getting to grips with some of the eccentricities and opacity of French public service.

Product Description

Review

"An entertaining book crammed with fun anecdotes" - The Bookbag

Book Description

Malcolm Philips was a reluctant bureaucrat.

When it was suggested that he give up selling ice-cream and go to work for the council, he protested that it would be full of jobsworths, skivers and crawlers. Truth to tell, however, he quickly fitted in among what his boss described as all the other ‘sods and buggers’ at County Hall.

The 1960s and 1970s were the halcyon days of local government when rules and regulations multiplied at the expense of common sense and no-one was entirely sure what the person in the next office actually did … or even what purpose their own job served. In these Confessions, Malcolm tells all: his surreptitious visits to the girls in the typing pool, the ingenious fiddles, the arrival of flower power in the computer room, the goings-on in the roof-space after the Christmas party, and the mysterious expenses, such as ‘repairs to elephant’.

Some of the ‘sods and buggers’ you’ll meet in this book include Archie, a master of foul language and never without a Player’s No. 6; Vince, who had the power to disrupt machinery just by looking at it, and the Lord of the Stationery Cupboard who refused to issue a new pencil unless the old one had been worn down to a stub.

As for Malcolm, he thrived, quickly progressing from his early faux pas in
commandeering a chair with arms (only for staff on a higher grade) to being allowed to use the rubber stamp with the chief’s signature on it.

What more could a young man desire?



Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I much enjoyed this light-hearted romp through memories of how local governments used to function - and how to survive the experience of working in the 'system', and how to cope with the many characters who 'lived' there.. This is an excellent book for casual reading and odd moments; while there is a consistent thread, every chapter stands alone and is good for an educational chuckle.
Malcolm was not your 'standard issue' bureaucrat; he learned how to 'work' the system, but without becoming captured by it. Those of us who worked in large organisations - whether private or public - will see familiar shadows pass.
This is a reminder of the times when jobs were often for life; when some folk became their routines and rules. With today's methods and technologies, these episodes couldn't be repeated... or could they?
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Format: Paperback
Love this book and can't wait for the sequel or even the TV series!

I can just see Malcolm Philips sitting in his old swivel chair, in some dark corner writing this amusing account of the weird and wonderful goings on of the County Council, and it's all-important picking- order, chuckling away to himself as he recalls these events.
I'm sure this is a genuine account of the goings on in County Hall in 60's & 70's and that Malcolm's all too recognisable character's are, as he says, his former work colleagues.

He was probably listening with one ear for the sound of his boss's footsteps in the corridors, while he scribbled down notes for his forthcoming book, instead of rubber stamp some poor unsuspecting rate payer's document before being filed never to be seen or heard of again.....
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Format: Paperback
Whilst this book may have been intended to show anyone who worked in local government in the 1970s (or thereabouts) they were not alone in the way the system behaved, it also goes some way to explaining why us, the ratepayers, were treated the way we were.

Now I can understand why it took weeks for a reply to a letter. Why I must adress said letter to the man in charge even though he would probably never see it, and why those who dispensed road tax always seemed to be such a surly lot.

Add to this the general bureaucracy of the time and I just have one question to ask, "Can I have a refund on my rates?"

Well actually I have another question, please Mr Malcolm Phillips, how about some more....? (I need all the information I can to sue the b*****s.)
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Format: Paperback
For over 20 years I worked for a vast number of Local Authorities in England and the Channel Islands as a management consultant/management trainer and throughout that time I was very often regaled with what sounded like' tall tales' as to what life was like working in a Local Authority in the 1960s and 1970s. Well, according to Malcolm Philips, in his outstanding book, what sounded like tall tales to me were `business as usual' for many people. This book really is a must read for those thousands of people who worked in local government in the 60s and 70s and for the thousands more who simply heard all about life in the `good old days'. In fact, it would be a fascinating read for anyone!
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By Phil on 6 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having worked in the private and public sectors for a number of years I found Malcolm's experiences both achingly accurate and immensely funny. Although I joined the public sector later than the decades about which he writes, many of the idiosyncrasies he describes still exist to this day, chairs with arms for senior officers is but one example. One sentence in particular resonated with my experience and in a funny way summed up much of my public sector experience, "it's a sunny day, let's go and measure something!" An enjoyable read.
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Format: Paperback
In this excellent little book the author combines a slice of social history with amusing recollections of some weird and wonderful people he encountered in local government in the 1970's and 80's and manages to evoke a,hopefully, bygone era.
If you ever thought that local government would be a dull or dry subject, be prepared to have your views changed. Mr Philips must have kept extensive diaries or have an amazing memory to be able to write in such glorious detail. I look forward to a follow-up.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Would recommend this to anyone as a great read. Particularly if you we're born in the mid to late forties and grew up in this era. So many parallels to businesses that I worked in as a young man. Brought back quite a few memories. I urge everyone to purchase this book, it's a light enjoyable journey through the machinations of that type of business of its time. Well worth reading.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reading Malcolm's book made me remember the time I was working in the public sector at the end of the 1970s. It was not quite as bad as Malcolm's time but still rather non PC.

I laughed out loud at the "pink shirt" episode. Not only was he reprimanded departmentally but to add insult to injury his grandmother was less than impressed too.

An excellent light-hearted read, especially interesting for anyone else who has done a stint in the public sector.
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