DEALING WITH BUREAUCRACY
Contrary to popular opinion, bureaucracy is not only found in
government. Bureaucracy thrives in insurance companies,
hospitals, utility companies, phone companies, and most large
to the game of bureaucracy. People who work in bureaucracies
have to abide by the many rules used to determine eligibility,
need, and the amount of money to be granted or services to be
provided. They can rarely be familiar with all the rules and
forms of their organization. It is your mission, if you
choose to accept it, to find out who has what you need and how
you can get it. It is very easy to be frustrated and give up,
but then you don’t get anything.
what you want to ask, but don’t think you have to know
out all you can about the issue before you call. Talk to your
friends. Call advocacy groups to get the information they
have and learn about your rights.
early in the morning. You will have a better chance to reach
the person who can help you. They will have more time to
research your questions and get back to you that day.
Always get the name of each person you talk to and their phone
number. You may be transferred several times before you get
to the person who can help you, if you get cut off you don’t
want to have to start from the first number you called. Give
your name and number so they will recognize you when you call
back, and so they can call you. When you exchange names you
establish a more personal relationship.
you get an answering machine leave a message.
persistent! Call again and again, until you get the person
who can answer your questions.
notes of the bureaucratic trail you’ve traveled. This should
include the names and phone numbers of all the people you’ve
talked to. It can also include what each person has done for
you. This will be useful as you work your way up the chain of
command and if you need to get help from your legislator. You
will also have a list of the people who were most helpful to
you, and you can call them first the next time you need help.
Don’t Give Up
Remember, bureaucracies are made up of people, many who want
to be helpful, and you need to find the person who has the
knowledge and authority to deal with your problem.
Alone, you can feel isolated and powerless. Find an
organization that is working on your problem and join it, and
if there is no group find other people who share your problem
and organize a group. Bureaucracies are more likely to listen
and respond to the concerns of an organization rather than a
lone voice. In unity, your power increases and you are better
able to make your problem their problem.