It is said that civil servants have it good. Modern folklore has it that they have this job feature that allows you to leave your coat on your chair as you step out to attend to other business. The same folklore says they go for innumerable conferences, have long study leave, have long lunches, arrive late and are closer in line to being President since they, like him, are civil servants. Folklore seems to be trying too hard to paint a picture of job heaven. The same folklore though has fed us a lot of inaccurate information before so it isn’t to be wholly trusted.
Nothing could prepare us though for true job heaven on earth – civil service in India. It was reported last week that an Indian public official was sacked for taking leave 24 years ago and never returning to his desk. Assistant executive engineer A.K Verma went on leave in 1990 and has only just been sacked for “willful absence from duty”. If you thought the people in Sweden, with over 1 year maternity leave, had it made, you are swimming with the small fish. 24 years. When you think about it, a time off that long is good for the country – rather than put all their nation-building energy into one activity, it allows citizens to go do other activities so the country can develop faster. Then, for workers who don’t say good things about their workplace, 24 years is enough to get them energized and excited about work again.
One downside is the few restrictions it imposes on how young employees should be when they join the workforce. It also makes scheduling leave a bit tricky since the company would probably only allow one person off at a go. If you are that lucky person, what can you do with the 24 years?
You can have a son, A.K Verma Jr., raise him, train him and have him take your job before anyone notices that your leave has gone on too long. If your genes are strong actually, even your workmates won’t notice the difference – they’ll think you ate vegetables.
You can become President of Uganda and still have a number of years left on your current term. You’d need to officially ask for an extension to your leave because the 24 years wouldn’t be enough