Friday, March 14, 2008

Swedish Bureaucracy in the American Embassy

I got turned down for a job the other day. A job I applied for a while back. In September. That’s 2007. Back in my unemployed state (those were the days…) I wrote about looking for a job and the slow response I was getting. Most of the time it seemed like it was coming from Swedish companies. And I partly attributed that to the Swedish summer vacation but also to the Swedish work ethic and bureaucratic nonsense. But in fairness I had to write about my latest turndown. Because it came from the American Embassy in Stockholm. And because this is fair and balanced writing that I do here.

Keep in mind that I have a job. And have had one since the first week of November. And that I applied for this job in the last week of September. Of 2007. This is March. 2008. Count with me now. October. November. December. January. February. March. About six months.

That is ridiculous. What is even worse is that this was a temporary job. I think it was about 8 months or so. I’m assuming it was for either maternity or paternity leave. And it was a job I was actually qualified for. So I had my hopes up. Because working at an Embassy would be pretty cool. But as time went on I forgot about it. I got a job and started working. I received a few more rejections and an interview request here and there but all came around November after I had already accepted a job. And they weren’t that late after my applications had been sent in.

But this one blew my mind. A part of me is appreciative that I received an answer. I hate taking the time to apply for a job. Showing interest in a company and then not receiving any acknowledgement at all. It seems like common courtesy to respond. But maybe not. What drove me nuts was that this seemed to be a resounding theme here in Sweden. So when I did get responses, both positive and negative I appreciated it. But at the same time, this one was nearly six months late. It was almost insulting. Let bygones be bygones American Embassy.

Obviously I blame the Swedish bureaucracy seeping into the American Embassy. Osmosis if you will. Because why else would something as streamlined as a government representing 300 million people take six months to respond to a job application? Or maybe this is a common theme in all things big. Like large corporations. Or large country’s embassies. Either way, it’s not every day you get turned down for a job six months after having applied for it.


  1. i am assuming that is your famous sarcasm coming thru about the swedish bureaucracy seeping into american embassy!!

  2. If ever there is a job that you really, really want - or an organization that you really, really want to work for - keep applying. Keep sending in resumes. And applications. Because with the big organizations, they really do need that kind of inflow if they're ever going to see/read/catch you. Otherwise, your resume/application is literally smooshed between hundreds or thousands of other resumes and applications, in tall stacks, on multiple desks, scattered about various offices. Which nobody wants to deal with. So nobody notices. Not even the temp hired to mail out the endless mass rejection letters. So keep applying. If you really want it, you'll get it.

  3. everything I write is of the utmost seriousness.

    and I managed to get myself a job. well before this. but it was just mind blowing to find out it could take so long to get turned down for a job. long enough that Ive been working at a diffeent one for 4 months.

    you're probably right though. little things like job applicastions can get lost in a big corporation. or govenment.

  4. Don't feel too bad, I was once approached by someone in the US Gov about a job (he was the CIO of the USDA)--now bear in mind they approached me and this was a job recruiting Chinese Americans into some of the assistance programs that are available to farmers in the US AND I'm one of the few Amercian rednecks who actually speak Chinese--Long story short, I had to go throught a very involved application process which involved a self analysis of your competencies relating to the job--I was honest, but still scored very high. About 8 weeks later (not quite 6 months), I received a letter stating that I didn't score high enough to be considered for the position any longer!

    So while you may be experiencing some Swedish bureaucracy seeping into the US embassy, it could just be the fact that nearly all governments are full of bureaucrats and have no clue what is going on.

  5. it is amazing how big organizations can struggle so mightily sometimes.

    and I love that you were the one being approached and it still took so very long. good times.