"Jobsworth" is it an insult?


Established Member
23 Jan 2014
All the times I can ever recall having been called it or witnessed other staff being called it , it has been meant as an insult . And almost exclusively by someone pushing their luck with something , and facing a member of staff who dont let them do something they are not allowed to do .

A common example is when dealing with ticketing . I was called it recently when I had the audacity to challenge someone on a peak time service which always gets full and standing by its destination because they had an advance ticket for a train an hour and a half later which would not have been as busy . Personally it seems common sense to me that people travelling with advance tickets for an off peak train during peak time should be made to pay for a peak ticket or alight and wait for their booked service . I apply leeway to advance tickets at locations like airports when in some instances there are formal easements and in others it is obvious why people would miss advance trains . But to not challenge someone on a peak train with a cheap advance for a later train would be unfair on passengers who have paid peak time fares .

Ive also been called it for other more important stuff like asking people to take responsibility for their children running up and down a train , or doing other dangerous stuff in other jobs I have had , telling people to stop smoking . Instances when actually if I was found not to be telling people to do or not do something I could be subject to disciplinary action . Personally I take it with a pinch of salt , have been called much worse and will then usually just continue to insist that the person does as they are told .
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.
Whilst having been on the receiving end of such stuff as I am sure most of us will have been and agreeing that it is totally frustrating . And I dont know for sure from your post if you would advocate this btw but I dont see what benefit there would be , or how it is going to alleviate things by calling the staff member concerned a jobsworth . It almost always will make someone more defensive of their position .
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