Living The Theory

Recently, I finished my bachelor’s degree at Leiden University. More precisely, I have a degree in Public Administration. One of the peculiar things about Dutch Public Administration, is that it borrows heavily from American scholars. Therefore, it’s almost as if I have an American PA degree (I looked it up, and apart from the law courses, I’ve had the same courses as a PA undergrad at Saint Louis University). American bureaucracy is therefore like a mutual friend that I have heard so much about, but never got to meet. Or a city you visit after having read every single travel guide about it. Every place seems familiar in a strange way and everywhere you look, there’s something exciting about recognizing it.

Like the iconic towers in Las Vegas.

Like the iconic towers in Las Vegas.

Miss Missouri (soon to be Mrs Boshouizen, according to the DMV, that had some letters laying around) and I went to the county capital to have our marriage license prepared. The way there was fantastic. I am slightly fascinated by the government apparatus (not to be confused with enthusiastic, which I’m way less often), so to see all those buildings stacked up on a few blocks was already like coming home. For instance, there was a car parked at the designated judge parking spot. Nothing special there, but it also happened to have handicapped license plates. All the handicapped spots were both closer AND all available, but this judge had chosen to use only one of his privileges. We weren’t even indoors and the bureaucratism had already started.

I'm actually trying to get my manuscript 'Bureaucratism: A Horror Movie' to a movie, but there's a lot of red tape.

I’m actually trying to get my manuscript ‘Bureaucratism: A Horror Tale’ to a movie, but there’s a lot of red tape.

We went up the elevator. Inside, we were greeted by a lady. We told her we came to get our marriage license. She wrote it down, and had us sit next to her. Absolutely nothing happened. Two minutes later, the manager came up to us. ‘You guys are here for your marriage license?’ he asked. We nodded. ‘Okay, if you could just wait here.’ We remained seated in exactly the same spot. Our lady came by and took us to her desk. She browsed through all of our papers, had us plead that we weren’t cousins (while trying to maintain a seriousness) and then explained the progress to us. If you’re not a PA major, it is hard to explain how all the employees (almost caricature-like SLB’s, of course), all the signs on the ceiling and every cubicle is an real life enactment of the theory I have studied over the last three years. It all became real to me and I loved every minute of it. Next time, I’ll present my recent findings about how New Public Management has spilled over to non-government businesses and how it effects me and my wallet.

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5 thoughts on “Living The Theory

    • I still have a master’s degree to finish in The Hague, at Leiden University. Meanwhile, I find myself looking for pretty much the same kind of jobs I would look for in the Netherlands. People have been understanding of my situation, and I try to present my recent migration as a sign that I’m independent, take initiative and am willing to take risks (which is all true). I don’t have a career path mapped out, but I think my Dutch degree won’t set me back too far; although it might help that my master’s degree is less strictly seen as Public Administration (I’m doing the Crisis and Security Management MSc. program, which can be applied more broadly).

  1. Pingback: Logical Implications Of Waste Management: NPM Explained Through Taxi Fares (Or Fees) | visitingmissouri

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