This email was from my buddy Demotivated Dan on 06/28/11

I was assigned to something like a react team.  It was a 6 month active duty.  Anywho, I had to go through a short screening process which involved a checklist that I had to complete and submit.  It was a very easy checklist, all I had to do was fill it out with information that was pertinent to myself and get a couple of signatures.  I filled it out and went straight into my superiors office and asked him to sign it.  He asked what it was and I told him what it was.  He signed it after going through it for a few seconds.  Simple and easy.  All I had to do now was get a signature from my health care provider.  Any of the following was eligible to sign off on it.  The list included:
a. Your primary health care provider
b. a nurse practictioner
c. a physician or
d. a corpsman

So I called the clinic and spoke with the scheduler for my care provider.  I asked if I would need an appointment to get a signature and she replied, “No.  Just swing by around lunchtime and we’ll sign it for you.” Easy enough right?  It should have been anyway.

So I get down to the clinic, expecting to use about five minutes of their time and be on my merry way.  I get to  the front desk and make a little small talk and explain my situation to the lady at the front desk.  After I was finished explaining this is the conversation that took place.

Overanalysis and bureaucracy…

L:  What is this for again?
D:  I just told you, but here is the checklist.  There’s a small paragraph at the top that says what this is for.
L:  Oh.  I can’t pronounce that.  Please take a seat.  I’m going to go get my supervisor.  Take a number as well.
D:  Alright.

Fifteen minutes later…

I approached the counter as I got tired of waiting.  I asked them what was going on.  In the fifteen minute span, the receptionist had forgotten who I was.  For the third time, I was to repeat my situation, however she had my paperwork in her hand.  Sadly I had to repeat for the fourth time as her supervisor was now out on the floor asking why she had called him.  All I needed was a signature and a date for when my physical was completed.  I failed to mention this before but the physical only needed to be current as of five years.  The situation took an all time low while I was speaking to the supervisor.  I thought management was supposed to alleviate situations the regular employee could not handle.  Unfortunately for me, it was just bureaucracy playing tricks on me.  I had known this before as Navy Medicine works like a bureaucratic machine.  Quality of health care provided is mumbo jumbo.  What really mattered were numbers.  It isn’t about how many ill or injured personnel have I treated and cured today.  The real mission of the Navy Medicine team are how many people have came in and how many people left “treated” or how many cases of injuries or illness can I mask today!?  The unfortunate motives of the Navy Medicine are just that.  Even something as trivial as one signature must go through their totalitarian appointment system.  I realized it then and now.  I’m just adding a number to their daily quota by making an appointment.  That’s all I was to this so called physician.  A number.

Back to the issue at hand though…

After explaining that all I need was one signature.  The doctor just looked at me and said well you still need an appointment.  By now I was irritated and explained that I don’t need to be seen.  I have the date of my last physical and a pen, all you need to do is sign.  He quickly replied, “No, you need to make an appointment.”  By now sarcasm had set in with my irritation and I replied with, “Well really, any monkey can sign this.”  I was pretty certain it had offended him, he shot back “Any monkey cannot sign this. Are you insinuating that I’m a monkey?”  Honestly, it was a figure of speech made by a irked dude.  I thought to myself, did he really just take offense to that?  Him being an officer in the Navy demanded I respond to him.  So I replied, “I wasn’t insinuating anything, it’s just that its a simple signature and frankly I can probably sign it myself and save myself this trouble.  Perhaps I came off a bit condescending sir, but aren’t you being a little too sensitive and insecure?  I mean it’s obvious you’re no chimp.”

To wrap this up…

My five minute quest ended up turning into an hour long quest thanks to having to deal with two primates.  It was quite ridiculous.  They also didn’t end up signing my paperwork.  They scheduled me for an appointment for Thursday.  I needed the signature today though.  Checklist was given to me on Friday afternoon and expected to be done by Monday afternoon. Feasible, or so I thought.  I ended up asking a corpsman at the smokepit to fake sign this checklist.  After soliciting about three corpsman, the final corpsman agreed.  God bless her pretty blue eyes.

Overanalysis – It’s a simple signature.  Not a complex neurology related operation.
Bureaucracy – I understand that implementing a system that promotes high efficiency and low cost is good for a business or agency.  However, I think that if you put wait times on trivial tasks, it just wastes more time and energy.  Isn’t the purpose of a bureaucracy to make an organization more efficient?  When was putting an hour long wait to a less-than-a-minute task considered efficient?  I must have missed that conference where sixty-five minutes is shorter than five minutes.