In Other Words...

Hi Ho, High Hoe, It's Off to Work I Go...

Glory be to God in the highest, in excelius dei-oh and all other assorted falsetto rejoicings.

My work authorization permit came in this past Friday. Move over Happy, there's an 8th dwarf in town. All 5 foot 8 of me.

Now for the 64K question. What the hell to do with it?

I have been doing some serious soul searching on this work business, given that I have been a work-from-home freak for a decade and pretty much unemployed by choice this past year and half. I suspect the best way for me to return to a mid-mgt job and salary and still juggle the kids' busy after school schedule is to try to carve out a virtual office sales position, much as I what I have been accustomed to doing these past 10 or so years.

I applied for one such position with a Canadian dotcom headhunting firm but I haven't heard anything. Which might mean they think my resume sucks. To be perfectly honest, my resume is pretty decent. The only problem is, I now have a hole in it the size of two years, something I've never had to worry about before. So this concerns me. As does the fact that I now boast two decades of work experience. There was a day and age where I might have envied such career longevity - back in the days when I was trying to stretch out my knowledge and expertise - ie. I have 2 years, 10 months, 3 weeks and 4 days of work experience. Whereas now I know that this does not betray my expertise so much as my long-in-the-tooth-ness. That's problemo numero uno.

Problem two is that here in Seattle, unless you have dotcom experience, a Masters or PhD, and/or are a third-generation, pedigree'd PNWester, you probably don't stand a hope in hell of getting a job interview for any corporate position remotely snazzy. So I think I'm in need of a serious Connie Corporate makeover. I left the traditional workforce when e-mail was just coming of age. And black power suits were still in. And when it was OK to have a portable hard-copy daytimer.

Now there seems to a pastel sweater-set (gag) and dress pants office dress code pervasive in industry, and I'm not quite savvy to this dress-down nuance. And forgive me, Donald Trump for I have sinned, but I have managed to survive this past decade without owning a Blackberry and horror of all horrors, I have still never sent a text message to anyone. Shhh, don't tell anyone.

So what's a dinosaur to do except to maybe don a purple suit and pander to the children instead? I know that most of the HR types I will now be pandering to will be children. And thus, they won't necessarily get that while my resume seems to have a couple of gaps, it is not for lack of skill acquisition these past years spent raising exhuberant youngsters. Said skills, I might add, are entirely transferrable to the workplace ~ they're just not easily showcased on a resume.

Event planner, mediator, facilitor, peacemaker, coach, chief, cook, bottlewasher, driver, recreation coordinator, lecturer, travel agent, and just today, graveyard cupcake maker....mothers are all these things and more. But because it isn't kosher to list the position of Mother with Both of My Children as the employer and these past 10 years and counting together with the above-noted skill set on my resume, it looks like I may have forgotten what it means to manage my time and or a project.

Big fat sigh.

I'll come up with something. When there's a will there's a way.

Eye vs. Spy
Along those lines, we had our biometrics appointment on Wednesday at the Dept. of Droneland Insecurity as part of our green card application. Not only do they ensure that legal immigrants pay dearly through the nose and up the yin yang yangtze to get said green card, but they also insist on charging each visitor to the building $5.00 for parking. Multiple that by - oh, several dozen vehicles coming in at 1/2 hour intervals and you have there a tidy sum of money to pay the oodles of DDI employees. Right? Wrong.

Upon arrival and admittance through the checkpoint Charlie security check that would put LAX to shame (Holy Daughter said, "Jeesh! This is worse than an airport!"), we were then admitted into the cattle barn to pick a number and wait our turn behind hundreds of other immigrants, aliens and the like. Which wouldn't be so bad if everyone one of the 20 or so wickets were open but alas, as it turned out, there was only one person handling the line-up. Of course. So we waited. And waited.

As luck would have it though, we got in and out and no one got hurt. And contrary to hubby's story that he told a co-worker who asked him how it went, he did not have to succumb to a rectal examination without vaseline. I honestly feel sorry for his co-workers, at times. They have to put up with his graphic tales for hours on end whereas I only have a couple of hours each evening and by then he's mellowed. But only somewhat.

We did, however, have to get our fingerprints done and pictures taken. So that's done. Now comes the FBI investigation. At which point all my Noam Chomsky reading and dissident blogging will soon be intensely scrutinized.

There was a time, not so very long ago, when I wouldn't have believed in Big Brother theory stuff. But then came 9/11 and had it not been for the manner in which the feds turned insular, tribal and paranoid, which in turn sent the general public to react in kind, I don't think I would be inclined to even have given any of it a second thought. Loose Change made its rounds, and even has Final Cut due out for release on 11/11/07. And now we have the Screw Loose Change bunch who set out to debunk the conspiracy theory claims of the those who insist 9/11 was an inside job.

All I know is that all international eyes have been on the US, the world's great and soon to be late superpower, for many decades now. And as a foreigner on the fringes of the inside looking further inward, I have to admit - I kinda wish they would take their biometrics screening one step further for all us ex-pats who have a sort of double vision. They should, in fact, scan our eyeballs, if only to see the US and its relationship with the world as we, the Canadians, the Brazilians, the Peruvians and the Turkish, et al, see it.

If they scanned our eyes, they would see that this US (America) and Them (subordinate others ie. non-American) paradigm is no longer a workable one for the 21st century. Not that it ever was. The shift of late from win-lose games to lose-win economic games (have you taken a look at the US dollar in relation to every other dollar, Canada's included?), means the world is starting to believe the American bully rumours in the global playground, and new power structures are emerging.

I'm talking about the bully that always seems to have enough money for guns ($2.4 trillion but who's counting?) yet falls embarrassingly short on butter. Yes, more's the pity, the pockets never seem to be deep enough to buy all the kids lunch and an updated immunization shot every now and again. In fact the CDI chart (commitment to development index) in that last link shows the US isn't even in the top 10 of rich countries. Little wonder the kids have formed other friendships and/or taken their toys and gone home to make more ~ a full 3/4 of the world's toys more, in fact. All they need do is add a bit of lead paint for embellishment, and sell them for a huge profit to all the kids.

The tides are changing and I'm not talking global warming here. Which is why I find it disheartening to learn my husband will be sitting alone is a few short months while the rest of his officemates move up a couple of floors. That equates to the entire group in charge of this particular component of customer support except for him. This may well be great news for those who had to sit near him and endure vaseline tales and all other manner of witticisms and jokes all day, but somehow I feel there's a larger fear at work.

Here's the great irony though...well over half these customers alluded to in their division name are of the overseas variety. They hail from some 145 countries. So it will soon be Office Space: Extreme Homeland Security edition. Holy Hub will not be permitted to attend meetings on this 'upper' floor. Coupled with increased restrictions from a computer info access standpoint, he now faces enormous red tape to do his job. So in the interests of so-called security, they've made his work process much more inefficient because it now takes him way longer to do his job and in fact, there are things he is no longer able to do. For them.

So yeah, if they scanned our eyes, it would be an eye-opening experience. Perhaps it's a good thing they leave it at fingerprinting, punch their clocks and call it a day.

Long story short, I'm definitely not buttering my toast with Imperial margarine today, if you catch my slant - with profuse apologies to the powers that be and any others whom I might inadvertently have offended with my tribal diatribe.

We'll make hay while the sun shines. Another day, another .96 cents US shy of one Cdn dollar. How's that for loonie?

Having a green card will definitely make things easier from a healthcare and residency perspective - we would no longer have to leave the country within 30 days if he suddenly lost his job. But having to wear an employee badge that denotes "other," sit two floors below your team in "subordination" and have to miss out on important e-mails and meetings critical to your work - these are things that would weigh on me, too. All because we bought into the grand dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness south of the 49th parallel.

Little wonder he faces north and bows to the totem poles in Stanley Park in his quietest moments, whilst rueing the day I ever covertly applied for a job in Seattle in his name, and with his resume attached.


Tanya said...

Good luck on the job front - I'll send good vibes your way!

KC said...

Hi Holy!!! I work for a Canadian-made company, owned by an American corporation. Therefore making everything we own, touch, see, smell, feel, know, believe, perceive, poop & pee... American. Everything is Intellectual property and falls under ITAR... which is a royal pain in the ass ('xcuse my French). Anyone that is a dual national or immigrant is under the same kinds of restrictions as your husband - and a whole lot of legal crap is done to lift those restrictions. And because we were doing business with the US and had many dual nationals from around the world - they spent a fortune on Legals 'schtuff' to get most of the back to work.

It's stupid honestly. It's ridiculous. And completely unfair. They want 100% access to us but we can't get the same in return... bullshit!

I will stop at that before men in black suits show up at my door, taking me to some undisclosed area to torture me.... with restrictions.

GRRR... I understand your husbands frustrations. I understand his limitations. We deal with that ALL DAY LONG... and it's demoralizing after a while.

Chin up... good luck with your job search... Pick something fun and excitting... why not???!!!

LOL... ciao bella,

Hollie said...

Oh hun job gab blues I know all about...I sam so there, maybe all the volunteering we have done will come in handy!

I am now blogging by the way at wordpress

Natalie said...

Having a job is not all it is cracked-up to be whether you are American, Canadian, Chinese, whatever... I was looking at your lil' map and, indeed, that is where coffee comes from and is my personal favorite.
My store was robbed at gunpoint last night. I had to go in and deal with the aftermath, the PTSD moments, the scary stuff, the fears, and the fucked-up-ness of druggies. Want my job? You can have it. My boss came in today and showed me what my bonus will be (on her laptop) and then said, "So, is that enough to make you stay?" I guess she's caught wind of my lack of ambition and desire to continue. Oh, wait, I told her myself... lol.
So, dealing with that is just... so very special. There is no amount of dry cappuccino that will make it all better.
I hope you find something fantastic!
And safe...

Jorge said...

What you say is sad but true. I hope the job search brings results to put a smile on your face. Cream always rises to the top. :-) Be well,

cas said...

Go right ahead, try to make sense out of Canadian/American diplomacy lately. Soon I'll need a passport to go across the TI bridge to Gananoque for dinner or a boat tour of our common border, the St. Lawrence River. Yet our NY governor wants the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue drivers' licences to unregistered, illegal Mexican border jumpers.

You should have been born south of the border, not north. You would have been eligible for a job, medical benefits, a license, childcare, welfare, public housing, and a shot at amnesty.

I turned in some loonies the other day at my local bank and it surprised the crap out of me that they were worth .97 each. The last time I converted Canadian dollars to US funds the rate was .68. Same for the Euro. Bravo. Yet our patronizing Republican masters still deplore the idea of the Canadian/Western European concept of "socialized medical care." No wonder that there are still bus tours from NY to Ontario filled with heart patients and old people to buy prescription drugs.

Living near the border I know lots of Canadian/American couples who have married as well as singles who have moved to the other side of the river. Nothing but red tape, delays, frustration, lost opportunities, bureaucratic bullshit.

Best of luck to you, anyway.

Lynn said...

What can I say that they haven't?
Good luck and somehow I believe you will find something that will fit and work with your particular schmitdzness. I have faith in you.

Lynn said...

RE: your comment about how long I've been The Momma and how much longer I've got to do it full-time before I get off-da-hook...

I am now going to take a valium, put on Meet the Robinsons for La and go take a long nap. I'm putting the movie on repeat for the kid. ;)

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Marge said...

Holy, I feel compelled to apologise most heartily to you and all other decent people in your position. Amrica is not the land of opportunity it used to be, unless you're a transplant from a poor country and willing to work dirt cheap as a drone somewhere.

I, too, am in the process of securing employment. Two positions which sounded particularly interesting were "bilingual preferred" and in my part of Iowa that means "you're willing to pander to non-English speaking people who could learn the language but choose not to".

I am not interested in learning Spanish.

So, in a small way, I understand a little of your frustration with "The System" here in the 'States. It sux all the way around and I honestly don't think it will change for the better.

Nonetheless, with all my heart I wish you best of luck in your job search; whomever has the wisdom to see your worth will hire you and appreciate all you have to offer as an employee.



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