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Contrary to popular opinion, bureaucracy is not only found in government.  Bureaucracy thrives in insurance companies, hospitals, utility companies, phone companies, and most large organizations.

 Welcome to the game of bureaucracy.  People who work in bureaucracies have to abide by the many rules used to determine eligibility, need, and the amount of money to be granted or services to be provided.  They can rarely be familiar with all the rules and forms of their organization.  It is your mission, if you choose to accept it, to find out who has what you need and how you can get it.  It is very easy to be frustrated and give up, but then you dont get anything.


      Know what you want to ask, but dont think you have to know everything.

      Find out all you can about the issue before you call.  Talk to your friends.  Call advocacy groups to get the information they have and learn about your rights.

      Call early in the morning.  You will have a better chance to reach the person who can help you.  They will have more time to research your questions and get back to you that day.

      Always get the name of each person you talk to and their phone number.  You may be transferred several times before you get to the person who can help you, if you get cut off you dont want to have to start from the first number you called.  Give your name and number so they will recognize you when you call back, and so they can call you.  When you exchange names you establish a more personal relationship.

      If you get an answering machine leave a message. 

      Be persistent!  Call again and again, until you get the person who can answer your questions.

      Keep notes of the bureaucratic trail youve traveled.  This should include the names and phone numbers of all the people youve talked to.  It can also include what each person has done for you.  This will be useful as you work your way up the chain of command and if you need to get help from your legislator.  You will also have a list of the people who were most helpful to you, and you can call them first the next time you need help.

      Dont Give Up

      Remember, bureaucracies are made up of people, many who want to be helpful, and you need to find the person who has the knowledge and authority to deal with your problem.

      Alone, you can feel isolated and powerless.  Find an organization that is working on your problem and join it, and if there is no group find other people who share your problem and organize a group.  Bureaucracies are more likely to listen and respond to the concerns of an organization rather than a lone voice.  In unity, your power increases and you are better able to make your problem their problem.



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