"Jobsworth" is it an insult?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Fred26, 24 Aug 2019.

  1. Fred26

    Fred26 Member

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    Mod Note: Posts #1 - #5 originally in this thread.

    'Jobsworth' is such a vile term for someone who is doing their job. Not doing things properly, or the official way, could lead to dismissal in a lot of situations.
     
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  3. Pluto

    Pluto On Moderation

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    As insults go it's on the mild side.
     
  4. hooverboy

    hooverboy Member

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    not really.
    put in it's proper context of "it's more than my job's worth", it is meant to show either overzealous application of rules,or inability to show/act on own initiative or use discretion.

    there are lots of rules and procedures for attending/treating road traffic accidents and casualties too, but that does not necessarily mean they must be adhered to to the letter.
    The first thing you need to do is ASSESS THE SITUATION!.that requires discretion and on the spot decision making.
    The conditions/environment you find yourself in will determine the course of action that needs to be taken.


    inability to apply this is either down to a poor candidate(power tripper) or poor management(meddlesome micromanager,again, it's own power trip of sorts)
     
  5. Fred26

    Fred26 Member

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    Thanks for the condescension.
    Showing initiative or discretion is often a big no-no. People who use the term 'jobsworth' are trying to bully staff into doing something they shouldn't. That has been my experience every single time.
     
  6. Aictos

    Aictos On Moderation

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    In my own job as a contractor, there are strict guidelines on what I can and cannot do and what I cannot do is simply because it is the responsibility of the client to do because 1. They're trained to do it, 2. It's their job and 3. More importantly they are covered by insurance and I'm not.

    That doesn't make me a jobsworth for refusing to do something that I am neither trained for nor part of my job description but common sense.

    My own supervisor has said if you show initiative or discretion to do something that the client is meant to be doing in the first place, if it goes wrong they won't sue the client but rather take legal action against YOU.

    The staff on the ground have every right to protect themselves from any unwanted action taken against them.
     
  7. 87 027

    87 027 Member

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    Those of a certain age may remember Esther Rantzen and That's Life on the BBC. Each week they had a 'Jobsworth of the week' award as nominated by viewers and I recall the feature opened with its own catchy little jingle!

    Jobsworth, Jobsworth, It's more than me job's worth,
    I don't care, rain or snow,
    whatever you want the answer's no...

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/597889.stm
     
    Last edited: 25 Aug 2019
  8. geoffk

    geoffk Established Member

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    Agreed. As a railway-related example, I've never had any problems taking photographs on stations but others I know have been told it's "not allowed" and sent away. I always take with me the ATOC Guidelines for rail enthusiasts in case I'm challenged. Also I remember when working for a local authority seeing a sign saying you weren't allowed to take a cup of coffee up the stairs! I'm 72 so remember when things were different.
     
    Last edited: 25 Aug 2019
  9. AntoniC

    AntoniC Member

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    In my job as a Civil Servant I take pride in getting called a jobsworth as its I am doing my job and the person who has complimented me wont get what they want !
     
  10. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    There are a lot of jobs where rules are NOT meant to be broken. Somebody following their rules and procedures of their company is a good employee. Somebody who flouts the rules or deliberately breaks them is at the risk of losing their job; especially in a job where rules are there for safety or very very specific reasons. If you take the 'Railway' you see why rules are so important. When you see any incident being discussed there is always a point where rules and procedures become the crux of what happened. Feel free to read any RAIB report.

    Those that tend to use the term are using it as an insult and usually because they didn't get their own way or because the worker didn't break the rules for them.

    The insult is actually unfair because people are supposed to do their jobs and should be supported when doing so. A good employee is someone who does their job correctly.
     
  11. 507021

    507021 Established Member

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    I've been called a jobsworth several times and it's never bothered me in the slightest.
     
  12. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

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    If it's a petty rule that's being enforced then its the rule maker not the rule enforcer who should be castigated.
     
  13. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    I think the difficulty comes when there’s rules or procedures which aren’t clearly defined, or perhaps in some cases don’t exist at all. There’s certainly people who in that situation seem to delight in forming their own interpretation of the situation which just happens to be as awkward as possible.

    I know someone who constantly books faults for office lights which are out. In reality *everyone* else has agreed to have a small proportion of tubes removed because they find the room uncomfortably bright. Of course there has to be one individual who objects to this, on the basis that “it’s in my contract to report faults” and “someone might walk into a wall”. I think that’s the sort of mentality that the term is intended to apply to. Naturally it unfortunately gets extended to people who are quite reasonably following correct procedure when it stops someone else getting their own way on something.
     
  14. underbank

    underbank Member

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    It's more for cases where you know the person has discretion but they claim they have to stick to their rule book, more often than not, just to be awkward.
     
  15. Pluto

    Pluto On Moderation

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    That's exactly what I'd say, the staff member who wants to make a drama about somebody taking photographs on the platform when numerous other staff members don't care one iota for example.
     
  16. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    Does that make it acceptable to insult someone ?
     
  17. bb21

    bb21 Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Funnily enough I got called a jobsworth the other day by a photter for daring to shout at him to stand behind the yellow line because "I'm already way back from the train". (Yes the problem sir is that there is a curve and you are blocking my view of the dispatch corridor so I can't see the first two coaches when you set up camp there with your tripod.)

    Such a sweetheart. I will take it as a compliment I did my job correctly.

    No doubt some people do take it a bit far but the word is so overused these days as a throwaway insult.
     
  18. AndrewE

    AndrewE Established Member

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    Time to re-watch the original;

    and a useful comment below "With this song Jeremy added a word to the O.E.D. referring to a worker with more power than wit or wisdom. We all know these people."
    It is obviously a term misapplied in some situations...
     
  19. bussnapperwm

    bussnapperwm Member

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    Same here :)

    But on the other hand, it depends on if the punter fails the attitude test. I'm more likely to show a bit of leeway to someone who has been more polite and calm as opposed to someone whos f-ing and blinding at me on the phone.
     
  20. whhistle

    whhistle On Moderation

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    I've told people before who have accused me of not doing a good job that in fact, I was doing an excellent job by giving them the correct information, even if it's not the answer they want.

    Just a shame people make things personal to the person giving the bad news.
     
  21. dosxuk

    dosxuk Member

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    I use it solely to describe those people who don't have sufficient knowledge to do their job, and will prevent others from doing things they are entitled to do because of that.

    In my case, it's mostly for security staff who refuse to believe that my pass gives me access through the route they are guarding, but also refuse to check with a supervisor or pass sheet they have been given. Another is car park attendents, who, even when holding a piece of paper with registration numbers, still don't let you park where has been agreed, and you end up having to get a superior to come and negotiate.

    I'm not after discretion here, just a willingness to accept they might be mistaken.
     
  22. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    I'm intrigued to know where I can find a copy of this 'attitude test', as it seems to get many mentions on this forum, because I'd like to peruse it at my leisure. I'm particularly interested as to whom it applies, because from what I read on here it would seem to be 'the public' (an amorphous term, admittedly) and not the body charged with running the railway, managing the car park, etc etc or its employees, no matter how unreasonable they might appear to be being to a reasonable person. I'm not for one minute, by the way, defending the ranters and ravers, regardless of the case they are making, but even the calm and polite can get frustrated, even testy, when they feel their argument or factual information is not being listened to. I've been a 'bureaucrat' too, by the way, so I can certainly see both sides, but pedantry is not, on the whole, an admirable trait and shouldn't be encouraged imo.
     
  23. 61653 HTAFC

    61653 HTAFC Established Member

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    I've certainly never heard it used as a compliment! :lol:

    The only times it's ever been used against me was the drunk I refused to sell a bottle of cheap rum to at 7am (in a large supermarket); and a bloke who decided to let his small child (the kid looked about 6/7) operate the petrol pump at the Motorway services I had a summer job at: which meant I refused to activate the pump.

    My response was the same in both cases: the rules are there for a reason, and it's me who gets it in the neck (and wallet) if the rules aren't followed.
     
  24. tony_mac

    tony_mac Established Member

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    You can't make rules for every possible situation - rules are typically made with the assumption that they will be applied with some amount of common sense.
    With advance tickets, for example, there is a rule that you must sit in the assigned seat. If the seat has been soiled, for example, this would obviously not be enforced, but there is no rule for that.
    People obviously have differing views about what might be a common-sense departure from the rules.

    You just failed it!
     
  25. Sweetjesus

    Sweetjesus Member

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    I'll be a devil advocate and say that jobsworth term isn't meant to be used for those who do their jobs.

    It's meant for those who are extremely unfriendly, unhelpful and do as little work as possible without getting fired.

    For example, you're at a job centre and they tell you to fill out form A to receive a benefit.

    You return to them with the form and it turns out that you also need to fill out form B. They haven't told you because they don't care and they did their job in the first place anyway.
     
  26. etr221

    etr221 Member

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    Dare I suggest that jobsworths fail the attitude test in doing their jobs.
     
  27. Busaholic

    Busaholic Established Member

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    Thought I might! Not sure which of Kafka or Catch 22 is more applicable!
     
  28. Tetchytyke

    Tetchytyke Established Member

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    The issue, of course, is where a "good employee" is "doing their job correctly" but, in doing so, is showing precisely zero common sense.

    https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fury-london-traffic-wardens-ticket-13222918 shows two excellent examples:

    and

    Nobody would ever say the traffic wardens were wrong in law, but surely you stop at some point and think "hang on, ticketing an ambulance is really not a good look".
     
  29. Tetchytyke

    Tetchytyke Established Member

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    Agreed, but that is a big part of the problem. Common sense goes out of the window when management insist that discretion cannot be exercised, or do not back up staff who show discretion. Or where targets are set that can only be met where blind adherence to the rules is followed.

    It's a tough one- too much discretion becomes inconsistency- but we've all met people who will rigidly stick to every little rule even though it's clearly ridiculous. This is another great example:

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/ne...terror-tickets-motorists-whose-cars-stranded/

    As I said above about a different warden, the warden doing this was well within his rights to do it. But really why would you, unless you were either an idiot or an a-hole? Why would you not stop and think "hang on, this doesn't look good". Madness.
     
  30. ComUtoR

    ComUtoR Established Member

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    I get why the terms exist and who it applies to. My issue is that people seem to think its ok to insult someone or that 'jobsworth' is an acceptable insult to use.

    What about other 'mild or amusing insults ?
     
  31. RJ

    RJ Established Member

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    Some people resort to insults just because you don't do what they want you to do, even if you're not supposed to do it! It's a thinly veiled form of manipulation and only really bothers those who pay way too much mind to what people think of them.
     

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