Paul Wilson: On Being a Kansas State Employee

11642797Having spent most of my career in project management and development or business process improvement, things jump out at me that many people may overlook in day to day circumstances…

A couple weeks back, when renting a vehicle, it was pointed out to me that my driver’s license had expired. For Kansas residents that happens on your birthday and mine was in July, meaning it had gotten over looked more than a few times by however many different agencies and by the holder of said license.

Which necessitated the feared and dreaded trip to the Kansas Driver’s License renewal facility. My last fond memory of that process was changing my license from Missouri to Kansas.

I had arrived early that morning, standing in a 30 foot line outside the door and dressed in a suit for a meeting later that day. Naturally I found myself in line with a bevy of 15 year olds, parents in tow, there for the “drive” test, dressed in various logo t shirts and casual attire.

So I stood out worse than usual.

The door opened as the first in line, I witnessed from behind the counter, a two minute debate between employees deciding who would take the first smoke break while we applicants, residents and payers of their salaries waited dutifully in line. I commented to the ring leader that I’d like this smoke break mediation to move along as quick as possible as I had a full day.

dmv_long_lines_01w_t640As luck would have it, it was he that administered my written test.

I missed one question and was allowed to review the proper answer. In doing so, I made an off handed remark as to why I answered in the manner I had and that it seemed to me my answer was the one most closely aligned with the Kansas Drivers Handbook.

It was at that moment the test administer dude lowered his reading glasses to the tip of his nose, looked up over them at me and whispered with great, faux concern; “Here’s what I’d suggest, sir; why don’t you go back to your office, have your secretary write a letter to the Governor, and I bet he’ll change that for you…..”

I wished him a happy KAPERS kind of life and moved on with my day, a proud, legal Kansas licensed driver.

So it’s with that fond memory lodged in my mind that I approached my renewal.

I arrived at the Kansas License Bureau at 7:30, thinking I’d be early. Oh, how wrong I was because they open at 7:00 and the place was packed. I walked up to the front desk to check in and the conversation went like this:

Me: This looks like fun!

KS: It’s NEVER fun.

(I check in, have all my appropriate paper work and get my number. I would from that point further be known as B2071.)

Me: About how long’s the wait?

KS: The system says 32 minutes, but it lies. Topeka figures 2 min per customer but it really takes 5-10 minutes so I’d count on a couple hours or so.

Me: If they system computes 2 minutes per customer but it really takes 10, and you guys know that, why would Topeka insist you use 2 minutes as the guideline?

KS: I think they (Topeka) believe the customer will feel better if they think it takes them less time to get through the process.

Me: Can’t most of your customers tell time and realize, at some point, they are here a factor of two or three times longer than the estimated time they were told?

KS: Why do you think people hate us?

Me: It could be just your association with Topeka, everything sucks in Topeka. Do I still have to take a written exam?

KS: You can if you like.

Me: It’s optional?

KS: Yes Sir. You’re only required to take the vision test.

Me: Oh, I get that, makes perfect sense; it’s so you know I can see well while disobeying the rules of the road I no longer remember?

KS: Exactly

Me: I appreciate the work you do and as a citizen of Kansas I’d like to thank you. People dislike you for reasons totally out of your control; I usually instigate those feelings on my own, but I feel your pain. You’re an innocent bystander unable to control the outcome.

imagesKS: Any chance you could hang around today and keep us laughing?

Me: No, ma’am, I have to renew my license, rent a car and leave for Uvalde, Texas at zero dark 30 in the morning to move my wife’s mother up here. I’m sure you’ve heard the old Henny Youngman joke, though, so I won’t bore you with it.

KS: Where’s Uvalde, Texas!?

Me: Ever been to Topeka?

KS: Sure…..

Me: Take Topeka and turn the “SUCK: knob all the way to the right and you’re there! You go South on I-35 till you smell it and West on 90 at San Antonio till you step in it.

KS: Are you sure you can’t stay?

Me: I probably should now because I’m going to put this whole experience on Facebook which is going my make my wife really mad, making the drive 10 times longer than its already going to be.

KS: if that happens you can always come back here!

Me: Why do I feel like this is Hotel California?

KS: It kind of is.
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24 Responses to Paul Wilson: On Being a Kansas State Employee

  1. Yeah Right says:

    I keep stuff like this in a file called stuffthatneverhappened.txt.

  2. mike t. says:

    paul… i guess this should teach you a lesson. do NOT let your license expire, see? then, see, you’re FORCED to meet them on THEIR terms, not yours, see? they KNOW they have you, see? see, on YOUR terms, you walk in, laugh at becoming a numbered statistic, the line moves along at 1 minute and 30 seconds per person, see, and you’re DONE and OUTTA there in 30 feeling relieved and just a little smug at how smart you were to get it done early. see? and not once, not once, will you think about toPEEka or that shit stain brownback. life is good, see?

  3. the dude says:

    The trick with either office (vehicles or licence) is to go there in the middle of the month either on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday. Don’t go early, wait until about 10AM, you’ll cruise through if you abide by the dude’s advice.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Dude, I don’t know why I go early, I’d bet you’re totally correct, let the early rush thin and hit it late. But if you go up above and read “Yeah Right” it never happened any way, so I’ll just file it under “dontaskdonttell.doc.”

      • Orphan of the Road says:

        Never had more than a half-hour wait but that was before this wonderful, new-and-improved software went into place.

        Try the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a real treat.

      • admin says:

        I’m with the Dude and since I have traded cars quite often, I kinda (think) I understand how this works. Lots of people try to go on their lunch hours, so you definitely want to give the 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. a wide berth

        • paulwilsonkc says:

          Now, bear in mind, I’m talking DRIVERS LICENSE, not PLATES. Two different places, two different formats, two different locations.

  4. harley says:

    this is what the cutbacks are doing Wilson.
    just a note of interest…
    the republicans have tried everything to make voting for seniors…
    minorities….young people almost impossible and time consuming
    here in Kansas. Their claim is there is too much voting fraud.
    But just yesterday I received a ballot for a 1/8 sales tax IN THE MAIL
    THAT I FILL OUT AND RETURN. Does it strike you that someone
    could really do some serious fraud with a deal like this. And the
    republicans are running this state. Talk about the potential for fraud…
    what idiot came up with this idea……
    Liked your story. But get used to waiting in line…when they try
    to shut the government down you’ll be waiting inline for everything!!!!!
    Thank you republicans…you’re going the way of the whigs.
    OUtside the south you’ll be nothing but a bad memory starting in
    2016!!!! Can’t wait!!!!!
    thanks dude…forgot my license expired until I looked at it today.
    I’ll do a full length story on my experiences at dmv .

    tax increase in THE FREAKING MAIL.

    • Orphan of the Road says:

      More white noise from The King of Renege.

      So tell me more about your imaginary Northeast friends.

      Your imaginary $600,000 home. I suppose a sludge drying bed could cost upwards of that amount.

      Make good on one thing you have ever declared then backed down when it came time to provide ANY evidence.

      Enjoy your daily required bag o’ scat.

  5. mike says:

    If service was this bad in the private sector, a company would go out of business in short order. When government administered, they don’t care whether they give decent service or not. They generally think they are doing you a favor to do their job at all. This is how our health care is going to be when it eventually is all government controlled.

  6. Rich says:

    You don’t have wait in a long line. You can get a number assigned online and arrive only when your number is coming up. They’ll even page you I believe 10 or 20 minutes ahead of time.

    • david says:

      ^^^^ *10

      Last DL renewal, no more than 20 minutes. Of course, I didn’t go into the experience looking to write a hit piece.

      • paulwilsonkc says:

        Oh, lighten up, Francis, you thought that was a hit piece? The ladies wanted me to stay because we were having fun talking about the process. It was a light hearted, fun recount of my time there. Going forward, I’ll put a special disclaimer on the story: CAUTION; THIS IS AN INCREDIBLY HARD HITTING HIT PIECE!

        • Orphan of the Road says:

          Funny thing, that last sentence is what harley said on Independence Avenue.

          • harley says:

            put your moneywhere your mouth is loser.
            you talk a big stick but ain’t got a pot
            to piss in with your low level life.
            We (glaze and I) flushed out the low
            lifes on here (smartman/chuck/dave etc)
            with challenges they failed to followed up
            on. They were ch*cken sh*ts!!!!!
            N0w they hide…don’t come out…
            you’re the same.orphan.
            liar…cheat….chicken…what else do we
            need to use to describe you.
            Get under your sofa and collect the few
            quarters you’ve got and lets make the
            bet final.
            I think you’reanother smartman type..
            all talk…no walk…just onebig blowhard
            without anything to back it up.
            oh…and when you want to see something
            nicer than the northeast high school gymnasium
            give me a call. I’ll show you some nicer
            things in life besides an old locker room.
            You’re funny but a low life…and i’m putting
            up $10,000 cash to prove everything I say.
            where’s Wilson???????????
            where’s chuck??????????????
            where’s dave??????????????
            all you guys get together and couldn’t
            get $1000 together.
            lots of b.s…but no money!!!!!!!
            typical kcc haters. Me and Glaze showed you
            for who you really are….big phonies!!!!!!!!!

  7. chuck says:

    Hey Harley, you have never told me to meet you anywhere.

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