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Life at Work

I was supposed to have an interview with a staffing agency today. The only thing they asked me to bring was my Social Security card. While I find this to be sort of a weird, arbitrary requirement, I thought I could easily agree to it. So when I talked to the guy over the phone, I said, "No problem, Bob, I can do that." Then I started looking for it. I mean, do you know where your Social Security card is?

I turned this place upside down. I'm a great stasher of things. I see something that I think is important, and I think "Oh, wow, I'd better stash that someplace safe." Unfortunately "safe" includes safe from me.

I managed to find every piece of documentation that proves I'm me except the card. I've got my birth certificate, my driver's license, my passport, my voter registration card, any number of cards from places like grocery stores, movie rental places, etc., but no Social Security card.

So I call Bob. He's definitely annoyed. Not a great early impression to make, but, really, don't people lose these things all the time? There is just no way I can be interviewed without the card, though. That's what Bob tells me. It would violate company policy, and Bob wouldn't want to do that.

A friend e-mails me directions for obtaining a new card. At first, it seems relatively simple - bring in your passport, bring in your driver's license, we'll get you a copy of your card. But as I keep reading the instructions, I discover there's a catch. They won't just print out a card. Instead, they have to "verify" your documents, and in eight to ten days, your card will arrive in the mail. I can tell you right now that in eight to ten days, Bob will not be available for interviews.

I decide to drown my sorrows in a hearty breakfast. I start telling my tale to my serving pal at a local haunt, and another guy chimes in with a very similar story, which he ends by noting that he now always keeps his Social Security card in his passport. Aha! Ye good ole passport. I have one of those.

Sadly enough, the only stamp in it is Gatwick, which isn't very exciting (that's the other London airport, for those of you not in-the-know). Apparently I spent 17-pounds-15 for something at a tweed shop, which seems very unlikely, but I was in Scotland, so I guess it could have happened.

Sure enough, as I was flipping through the pages, a little piece of blue paper, the same color as those in my passport fluttered at me. "Holy shit!" I blurted out. "I just found my Social Security card!"

Bob will be happy. Now I can meet with him tomorrow and possibly even begin re-entering the workforce.

J. Bird is the Beachwood's pseudononymous workplace affairs correspondent. Bird became unemployed shortly after beginning to write this feature.



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Posted on September 21, 2006


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