The Cost of doing “business” in a Western Bureaucracy

My head hurts. Since Thanksgiving we have been in a bit of emergency mode trying to figure out situations with various staff’s visa issues here in Sweden. Sweden, like almost all Western countries today, is a veritable labyrinth of bureaucracy. Trying to figure out compliance with any given number of laws takes a team of lawyers. For us as a small organization this is nearly impossible.

I understand the need for so much of it, but do I have to like it? Does this make us free? Does it make life better? Instead of doing the things we exist as an organization to do, we spend exorbitant amounts of time simply trying to comply, only to realize that our compliance was wrong. Of course, we need lawyers and professionals who only job it is to understand how to comply. Of course, this takes a lot of money. We operate on a shoe-string budget each year. As we grow, I am learning that we need to raise money simply to pay lawyers and accountants so that we will in the long run save time and energy. It simply is a reality we face and I face it realistically.

It is hard when you signed up to work with people and you end up writing letters and filling out forms, sometimes over and over again because some level of bureaucracy lost your previous paper work. I’m not blaming anyone, simply stating some of the realities that exist.

With Cru, we have an incredible staff services team, many of whom raise support to do our payroll, tax information, and countless other things that make the wheels go round, all so that so many can be on the ground having all the conversations we signed up for. I am more and more blown away by their professionalism and dedication to what is often a thankless job. Here’s to hoping some Swedes who are like minded as those in US staff services would some day join our ranks.

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