For a senior bureaucrat …

Job title: Senior manager for a European-based intergovernmental organisatios

Required experience

Minimum five years experience in a middle management position for a similar organisation. A master’s degree in political science or a similarly relevant topic. Ten or more years experience in using words and acronyms[1] that are meaningless for most people. Long term experience with office politics.

Significant hands-on experience in opening e-mails, reading reports, attending conferences on any given topic and demonstrating expertise on that topic.

At least five years experience in multitasking, in particular, appearing to pay attention during conferences/meetings while updating your Facebook account, chatting with friends, and answering personal e-mails.


Superhero abilities in ass-kissing, self-delusion and doublethink (the power to hold two contradictory ideas true at the same time, and use one or the other in order to maximise the first two superpowers mentioned above, and to ensure the final goal of a fast and smooth advancement to a higher position).

Exceptional abilities in attending meetings, calling for meetings, discussing about meetings, designing meeting mechanisms, and spending significant budgets for meetings.

Ability to suspend critical thinking whenever your superiors talk. Skills in faking blindness and impaired hearing whenever required, in order to attain the final goal – promotion to a higher position.

Skills in turning action into non-action, avoiding responsibilities, or passing them to other institutions or persons non-affiliated with your own institution (i.e. ability to delegate).

Ability to talk nonsense in a meaningful and persuasive manner.

Ability to work under the pressure of huge budgets which must be spent on useless projects and conferences in order to please your superiors, and present these events as effective and major contributions to improve/eradicate whatever needs to be improved/eradicated.

Skills to interpret superiors’ bullshit as metaphysical metaphors meant to contribute to the new era of enlightenment promoted by your organisation

Ability to tune out conversations that do not contribute to your main goal, as well as to sleep in your chair while pretending to be listening, are essential. Capability to train your superiors to do these things more efficiently or credibly is considered a bonus.

Ability to enjoy, provide and encourage arrogance, logical fallacy, paternalism, sexism, racism, as well as stupidity and plain idiocy, in order to achieve the higher goal (promotion) is fundamental for the job.


 The successful applicant must be fully dedicated to his or her career, and ready to sacrifice bringing about any real change, as well as his/her sense of ethics, for the higher goal (promotion).

The applicant must believe in the God-like role of the organisation’s bureaucracy: the organisation distributes the only true rules of morals and ethics; senior management is obviously absolved of these rules; senior management makes no mistakes and is to be continuously revered and praised.

The job requires humbleness and the ability to put up with extreme conditions. The successful applicant may be forced to adapt to occasional habitation in 4 star hotels (the standard is 5 star hotels) as well as to occasional short excursions in poverty stricken areas.

The successful applicant must be able to adapt to dangerous situations such as economy class air travel, and local travel by taxi (in case the limousine doesn’t show up).

*In case the successful applicant still has a spine, he or she must be prepared to undergo urgent surgical removal.


I think the job advertisement above applies well to many positions at the European Commission, Council of Europe, UN, OSCE, World Bank, but also to many major international non-governmental organisations, and to many Roma NGOs. It applies to the Romanian society at large and particularly to the Romanian bureaucracies. There are certainly exceptions.

A few necessary explanations

The anonymous avatar who posts furiously on forums, blogs or Facebook, and promotes anonymous leaks, confidential letters or confidential support (“I agree, but please do not mention my name”) is not displaying courage or promoting reform.

Hands-on experience does not mean that you used your own hands to open an e-mail or to hold a report about abject poverty, discrimination, trafficking, criminality, drug abuse and any other similar topic.

Traveling to places, including ghettoes, doesn’t make you an expert in anything besides traveling.

An overall focus on positive practices does not mean you are an optimist; more likely it is a lame excuse to avoid talking about the massive waste of money and miserable results of your organisation.

The fact that you believe you can not change anything or that you can do much more when you reach a leadership position or leave the institution is just a delusion. It is also a clear signal that you gave up your spine, and should feel comfortable and intimate with the word ‘coward’.

I do not think that more bureaucracy will help Roma issues. Better bureaucracy might.

[1] See flexicurity, ToR, EU2020, mainstreaming, multistakeholder approach, etc.


  1. What you describe in this post is a typical Western-European/North-American successful person. This is the „civilization” at the beginning of 21st century (for which so many of our countrymen would give a hand and a leg to be part of).
    Cannot help wondering how desirable it is to fight for integrating a minority group into „that”, if one really cares for that group…

Leave a Comment