Monday, 12 November 2007


I hate form filling. I hate it even more when I can’t see the point of the information being requested nor the benefit of completing the form in the first place. Hence it was with a feeling of dread that I sat down on Saturday morning to tackle four visa applications, one for each of us, followed by a Contact Details Questionnaire and a Consent for Educational Visits (one of each for both Apprentice Man’s and Little Girl’s respective schools). Whilst so occupied I became increasingly more irritated; mentally accusing the senders of being over officious and small-minded. By 12 noon, I calculated that I had written out our address and telephone number twenty-eight times. Then, just to make a full weekend of it, on Sunday I collated all the information that my accountant has been pestering me to produce, so that he can prepare my Tax Return ready for submission in January.

You will appreciate, therefore, that when I awoke this morning it was with a smile on my face as the prospect of a day in the office seemed to offer the opportunity for some light relief in comparison. Legal documents with which I’m familiar and for which I understand the point can sometimes be a delight and on other occasions an intellectual challenge. Also I’m assisted by technology (no unnecessary duplication of input) and clients who supply the information required (sometimes neatly bundled and recorded, sometimes on copious documents stuffed into a carrier bag).

Of course, I never consider how small minded and officious clients might think me when I hand them, for instance, the standard twenty-four page questionnaire known as Form E which forms the backbone for resolving financial disputes. Instead I appreciate the relevance of the information requested and anticipate that the client will do likewise. I wonder if that’s how the clerks at the Embassy and Local Education Authority feel when they devise and distribute their forms. Surely not; if I had to ask clients to insert their names and addresses three to four times on every form I use at work, I’d have lost all my clients and been obliged to find myself another career by now.

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