Saturday, January 12, 2008

Dead in the water

I'm still applying for permanent positions and trying to hook up with staffing agencies as I prepare to transition from waitressing back into office work. I'm realizing that maybe I'd like to temp for a while before committing to another full-time permanent job. Yes, temping is probably the way to start off easy.

Yesterday I gave notice at the restaurant because it's time to focus full-time on job hunting, plus I want my weekdays free for temp work, plus it's time to get serious about shifting back to a daytime schedule. I need my sleeping patterns back on an early-to-bed and early-to-rise rhythm, but that's hard to do when I have to work late shifts three times a week. So, in two weeks I say good-bye to my restaurant career, for good.

This week I had two staffing agencies interested in interviewing me. I made an appointment with one for yesterday morning. Before I left, I went to my desk to grab copies of my resume and my social security card. Where was my social security card? My search became more frantic, but finally I left without it.

I felt awful as I rode to the agency. No social security card? How is that going to sound to a potential employer? I felt like a total loser and failure. I'd never gone into an interview feeling so certain I didn't deserve to even be there.

Sure enough, the recruiter was really nice and understanding, but the rules are that they can't interview anyone without a social security card. So no more signing up with staffing agencies, which is exactly what I need to be doing right now.

I crawled miserably back home and went through the apartment. Desk, wallet, purse, bedroom, kitchen counter where crap piles up. I know I had it the last time I interviewed with a staffing agency, but that was two months ago. I looked everywhere, but I had to finally admit that my social security card is gone.

What kind of loser can't hold on to one of the most important documents an American has? The social security card is the key to everything. You need one to prove you even exist. And employers will not add you to their payroll (nor even interview you, sometimes) without one.

On the way to work that day, I stopped at the downtown social security office and applied for a replacement social security card. How long will it take to get a new one? Two weeks.

My job search is dead in the water for two weeks. I can't believe this. I was just gearing up for the serious job hunt now that the holidays are over. I'm supposed to be signing up with staffing agencies and casting the net wide for work, permanent or temporary. Now I can't even get past the paperwork. I can still apply everywhere, but as soon as anyone wants to see proof of my ability to work, what am I going to say?

I feel so horrible. I've got two weeks left at the restaurant to look for my next job and now I'm without a social security card for those two weeks. Instead of preparing to leave my old job, all I can do is watch the clock wind down, doing nothing, while I wait for the replacement social security card. Or I can stay active, applying and searching, but I'll have to bluff anyone who actually expresses an interest in hiring me because I can't produce that card. I feel like such a loser.

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