Reading the Spanish press is often a pleasure. I resist the feeling of smugness in the ability to do this as I am constantly reminded of how many words I don’t yet know, but I get the gist. I have become immune to the amount of reports of corruption within the political elite as it is just a way of life here. In fact, if there are less than half a dozen pages of this I start to think that the country is ridding itself of this scourge, but next day all is back to normal as another mayor or two are banged up

What caught my recent attention was an advert in the Sit-Vac columns which started to ring a bell with my daily dealings regarding vehicle re-registration. It went something like this:

We are looking for open minded individuals with the ability to solve problems, think outside the box, with great customer facing skills, specifically courtesy and the ability to smile. A high degree of empathy and understanding of customers’ concerns is vital as you will be dealing with members of the public, often foreigners who are totally bewildered by what is required here in Spain, but to ensure even-handedness these people must be treated on an equal footing with natives who can be equally bemused. The ability to work long hours with minimal breaks is also important as your customers have busy lives and cannot afford the time to be kept waiting. You must always have the correct and consistent answers to any issue

If you think that you meet these stringent requirements, then you may wish to apply to large multinational companies where this level of service excellence is expected. If you cannot comply then you are just who we are looking for. Town Halls, the tax offices and especially Trafico are desperately in need of more people who are completely unlike the above in order that they can maintain their deplorable standards. Previous experience with the utility companies especially those in the electricity sector or perhaps within the telecommunications industry are more than welcome as you have already demonstrated the lack of skills that we crave

Gestors and idiots

Every town has its fair share of gestorias whose role is administration of the law or more specifically acting as an interface with the bureaucracy. Unreal! Where else in the world is there such a need? Imagine going to university and after graduation deciding to spend your life dealing with jobsworths

Then there are idiots like me. I came to Spain knowing that I would have to find work and have ended up carving out a highly specialised niche dealing with motoring matters but daily I deal with the heartless wonders who rule every aspect of life. I am certainly not unique in facing these people. We are easy to spot; our foreheads are covered in bruises as testament to the amount of walls that we bang our heads against. Those with any teeth left have found them worn down by constant grinding, our colleagues with false gnashers always have a spare pair handy. Once nicely rounded backsides have been flattened from sitting and waiting. Kindle reading has been a huge bonus as carrying copies of “war and peace” and

“Papillon” was becoming tiresome. We have become ever so humble with well-practiced hand wringing gestures as we try and plead with the stone-faced bureaucrats

So, the next time that you hear a story from one who deals with authority that sounds like it was written by the Brothers Grimm, resist the temptation to raise your eyebrows in disbelief as he may just be telling the truth, though for the unscrupulous it is a great opportunity to lie their way out of a problem

But hey, I love it here as every day is a challenge and never boring, so maybe I should thank these guys after all. Yeah why not? But check the date at the top of the page first

Published 1st April 2016