Some time ago I was talking to a senior bureaucrat in a public sector organization. I had gone to meet him in connection with some banking transaction. He had put in long years of service in the organization and by virtue of his many years of experience considered himself an indispensable part of the organization. It was another thing that the top management did not appear to share the same enthusiasm about him. He had risen from the ranks to the present position purely on the basis of so many years of seniority and not because of any scintillating performance. Any way, out of politeness I asked him what he considered to be the biggest single contribution by him to the organization during all these years. The reply was very interesting.
According to him his single biggest achievement lay in his disposal of "NOT FOR ME' letters/memoranda. By way of elaboration he stated that the finance department had 27 finance controllers, 25 joint finance controllers, 55 deputy finance controllers and an equal number of desk officers. Every morning the letters received register would do the rounds among these officials and letters on all clearly delineated subjects would be taken delivery of against the initials of the official concerned. The problem lay in receipt and disposal of letters dealing with subjects not falling into any of the above categories. These letters would do the rounds along with others and each of the officials would mark in bold letters NOT FOR ME on the face of the letter or the NOT FOR ME notation. It was a big headache to get rid of these letters as each day would add a few more such letters and memoranda.
Our friend took special interest in these unclaimed letters. He saw to it that every such letter was allotted to a proper official after deciding who should deal with the subject. Naturally he became very unpopular among the staff who resented extra work on their tables. He carried on regardless and was proud of the fact that he could achieve the impossible feat of ensuring that the letters received register carried NIL unclaimed letters.
A very impressive achievement indeed.