The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: a typology of Fonctionnaires

This is a post I have been preparing for a while. I put a lot of thoughts on it and I would really be curious to get your feedbacks.

Like any organization, the staff is an heterogeneous group with different levels of interests and motivation. Here is how I would classify my colleagues. It is not a scientific survey, just rough estimates.












Lazy Bastard












I will focus on three specific categories:
  • The Good (the Lazy Bastard)
  • The Bad (the Saboteur)
  • The Ugly (the Prick)
The Lazy Bastard
Those are officials who are known to be inactive, but remain neutral. Sometimes you even forget they exists as procedures have been established in the unit to bypass them. Several reasons can turn you into a Lazy Bastard: you reach the end of career and don't have any prospects; you have been given an inadequate position, so you just wait for your rotation; because of internal politics you have been offer a golden closet...
So if you take 15% of 23,000 fonctionnaires, it is 3,450 officials, which can represent its own DG!

The Prick
Even though there are less pricks than lazy bastards, they have a stronger visibility by complaining a lot. Instead of being constructive, they will make sure to criticize you without offering an alternative way. Of course, being constructive could force them to be productive. Some are actually experts at hiding their laziness with constant bitching. Fortunately you can just ignore them or just ask them to produce. It is actually your best defense, they will definitely shut up if it can save them from working. People get there out of frustration, being there for so long.

The Saboteur
This is the "Crème de la Crème"! If not controlled, the Saboteur can messed up your all unit. Very hard to ignore, very hard to fight, you have to be very skilled to deflect their attention to a less important subject. He will definitely break one of our Golden rules, which is no criticizing of colleagues with external people. I think some people don't know that they are saboteurs. if they are not doing it on purpose, you can still manage... it is just their personality. But the one who are doing on purpose are just mean people. Since you can't fired them, just try to promote them and hope that another unit will make the mistake of hiring him.

So how would you compared it with your own organization in private sector and national/local public sector?


  1. wow, that's a great classification! I used to work in the private sector and I have to say that I have recognised most of my former colleagues in these categories, maybe not in the same proportions though. There are probably more proactive and positive people in the private sector due to the necessity to be efficient and productive.

  2. True everywhere. I guess you're not trying too hard to solve the EU's PR problem.

  3. Great classification. However, I would add a bemol.

    The fact that your an offical, a contract agent, an interimaire or even a stagiaire may really affect the quality of your work and motivation.

    E.g. A young contract agent is far more productive than an old cynical official close to retirement. ..