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AODA Implementation Techniques Can Help You Avoid Work

By Victor Schwartzman 
September 23, 2013

You, a regular person (aren’t you?), have a work ethic and should stop reading now. 

However, if you are irregular (have you tried more fiber?) and your work ethic is lacking and your job only a paycheque, then you can learn a lot by studying the Ontario Government’s implementation of AODA.  You probably do not think I am serious.  How, you may ask, if you are the sort of person still reading, can I learn from AODA to work less? 

To implement AODA, the Government needed standards on which to base regulations, so it created a number of committees which did not speak much to each other. 

That type of work situation is where lazy people want to start!  The proof is in the ol’ pudding.  Over half a decade later, only one committee actually developed standards which could be implemented.  That was the customer services group, and more power to them—they finished their work within a year. 

The other committees?  Nothing useful in all this time. 

Without those regulations, the Government argues, AODA cannot be implemented.  It’s almost as if AODA was being sabotaged indirectly.  The Government seemed to be fully implementing AODA while in fact it was ensuring little happened.  But thinking that would be paranoid.  Frankly, if we had been less trusting and more paranoid we would not be at this point, but that should be another column. 

Anyway, here are the Top Ten Ways You Avoid Work From The AODA Experience: 

(Note: let’s be clear: going to a meeting is not work.  If you think going to a meeting is work, then stop reading now, you won’t enjoy the rest of this.)

10.       Your boss not caring what you do is a gift.  It is not possible to overemphasize this.  The results make it obvious that neither the Premier,
Minister nor Deputy Ministers responsible cared about whether AODA was implemented in this century.  Is there anything better than having a boss who does not care what you do?  It is not possible to overemphasize this.  The idle can stay on idle! 

9.         Having no deadline is heaven on earth.  Apparently no one set deadlines for the committees.  Months became years with nothing to show.  Getting a deadline means the job has to get done.  No deadline means at 3 pm your work day is done.  Indulge the indolent!  

8.         Change the rules partway through and it’s party time!  Just when the committees began to learn how to function and produce, the Government appointed new committee members.  Each committee had to start from scratch.  This not only guaranteed delays in getting anything done, but introduced the likelihood of nasty internal politics that benefited only the lazy.  Always look for internal politics, those are the workplaces where the least is done.  Love it, lotus eaters!       

7.         I’m fully booked with meetings and I can’t help you!  If you don’t want to work, there is nothing better than having a full schedule of nonproductive meetings.  You are either preparing for a useless meeting, having the meeting (hopefully with donuts), or debriefing after the meeting including minutes and memos and more donuts.  No one will read what you’ve written, so it’s hardly work.  Then you start to prepare for the next meeting, and should seriously think about more exercise and fewer donuts.  Gifts to goldbricks! 

6.         Look for work where no one is responsible for results!  If one person had been appointed to develop each set of standards, then those people would have had their careers on the line and it is much more likely work will get done.  You do not want to work with those people.  However, if you can get onto a committee with luck no one will feel responsible for anything.  You’re home free, unless the chairperson actually pushes to get work done, but often you can rely on the committee members to fight the Chair for you.  Good for goof offs!    

5.         No pressure, no work!  The work ethic aside, most of us put in an effort at work because we feel pressure—from our boss, colleagues or the clients we serve.  However, with committees there is no collegial pressure (you may be the only staff, except for other staff from other Departments) and the boss is totally absent.  If you’re lucky, staffing the committee means taking notes and writing memos, and even then other people are usually responsible for the content.  Chime in clock watchers!      

4.         Love it when actual work does not matter!  You want to be in situations where someone else’s work on a similar project is meaningless, so no one expects anything from you.  You never want to be compared with anyone productive.  The Government appears to have ensured the committees were isolated from each other.  Probably it is a mystery to the rest of the committees how the customer service group got their work done promptly.  If the committees all met together regularly, that might have created some kind of synergy and competition.  You want to avoid that at all costs, because it means work. The lazy love it! 

3.         It’s great when there are opposing sides!  As staff, you can just sit back and let them fight.  This happened partway through the process, when the Government appointed significant numbers of new committee members to each committee. All the new members were community advocates.  The Government followed up that stroke by providing no training to committee chairpersons on how to manage this new situation. Battle lines were quickly drawn between the committee’s consumers on one side and businesses/governments on the other.  Everything became an argument.  Everyone was paranoid about the other side. Perfect!  There should be a whole column about the usefulness of paranoia!  Lay it on for the layabouts. 

2.         When committee work turns out awful it does not matter!  Yes!  The committee is awful, not you!  It is easy to blame someone else when everything falls apart.  You still took the minutes and wrote the memos, right?  It’s on to the next assignment for you!  A prime professional path for the pokey.

1.         It should involve a disability issue because that really means having to do nothing!  Let’s face it.  If this was about toxic waste, it would
have been over years ago.  No wait, there is still toxic waste.  Well, if it was about ensuring jobs were not exported and unemployment was low, action would have been taken.  No wait.  Health care waiting lists?  Wait.  Okay, we can’t really say it’s great to work on a disability issue in Government if you are lazy, because nothing happens no matter what the issue. 

Life in Ontario for most people seems okay as long as the roads are paved.  Perhaps that is as it should be, as long as you can get out onto the roads and use them.  We should be concerned that the Government is not doing what it promised.  But having a Government keeps certain people off the streets, like politicians, and you can’t ignore the benefit of that.  And by the way, while working in the civil service is often very difficult and full of pressure, you can escape that once you are a manager.  Then there are bonuses and your work is going to meetings, but all that is supposed to be secret. 

You could give it all up, being lazy, and just move to British Columbia, but frankly we don’t want your kind here.  Especially if you are a politician. 
We have plenty of politicians here, they sure haven’t done us any good, and any time Ontario wants some we will be happy to bundle a few up and ship them East. 

Next:   Paranoia About Politicians: Is There A Down Side?