Ficklish Blog

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Time On My Hands

HI! Hello. So. I’m here, I’m alive. I am tempted to say ‘I’M BACK’, but have learned not to be too cocky about such things. I hope you are all well.

Stuff has been afoot in the world of jLo. I have much to tell! Although actually, I suspect it won’t take too long to explain.

The thing is, I lost my job.

It was great: my manager said, ‘oh, hey, jLo! How’s it going? Would you mind coming here into this office for a wee chat? Oh, and since it’s, like, an official HR chat and all, would you like to have someone come in with you? For, like, support?”

(My manager doesn’t actually speak like that. I’m not sure why it seems apt, but I’m going to go with it for now).

I declined the kind offer of moral support, and marched into the office to receive my marching orders. TERMINATED. Oh, the joy.

Now, it may be tempting to jump to one of several conclusions :

1. Oh no! jLo finally got sprung for her unhealthy Post-It stealing obsession!

2. Oh no! Someone finally worked out that jLo was calling phone sex hotlines via her desk phone on her lunchbreaks!

3. Oh no! jLo went postal on one of her stupid over-entitled clients one too many times!

Alas, the reason for my termination was nothing quite so interesting as the above. I had to stop working, because I was about to become ILLEGAL.

You see, I am a working holidaymaker here in the UK. Gone are those halcyon days enjoyed by many of you wherein the ‘two year visa/one year work’ restriction was blithely ignored by all and sundry. These days, the Home Office is apparently very serious about my being here for a holiday first, and paying my rent second. I can understand their confusion – I mean, English people are always bemused when I declare my intention to live in this city for an indefinite period – but the restriction is tres inconvenient nonetheless.

It says in my passport that my permission to work is ‘restricted to twelve months’. Among my fellow working holidaymakers, many hours of analysis and debate have been devoted to the meaning of these words. Is it 52 weeks? 365 days? What if I only work one day per week? What if I’m a contractor, and could conceivably work weekends as well? And so on.

I had devised what I thought was an eminently reasonable calculation. There were some weeks there last year where I worked only a few hours, so I aggregated them together and counted my full weeks of work. I thought, therefore, that I had a few weeks left to go and everything would be fine. Alas, ‘twas not to be.

You know how there are people out there who manage to engage in feats of daring and rule-bending and get away with it entirely? I am not one of these people. I always get caught. For six months, I’ve been hearing stories of how people ignore the work restrictions on their visas in an innocent and carefree manner, and no-one ever finds out. It’s not a big deal at all, they say. The Home Office doesn’t mind if you’re a few weeks over! Stop worrying so much!

Turns out my worry was well–founded. My employers realised this week that they had not asked any of their not-insignificant number of Antipodean staff members to confirm their visa status. Upon investigation, it was determined that what I thought was a perfectly reasonable method for calculating the number of weeks I have worked was not so reasonable after all. My time was done. So sorry, they said. We love you, but you must be sacked. The unit manager offered to escort me from the building if that would make it feel more dramatic. I thanked him, but declined.

They have very kindly offered to hold my job open for me while I attempt to change my visa status. While the job is not ideal and I’m not pining with angst to have left it, I do have a very strong interest in paying my rent in future so I’m grateful that the option is there.

So, I am unemployed. I have no income and minimal savings! I am not sure whether I can stay in this country! What fun.

The most frustrating part is that it should never have come to this. I had everything carefully worked out – and if the world would just bend to my will and do as I expect, these annoying situations need never arise. My application for my new, improved working visa has been ready since the beginning of May. I had to wait for ONE LOUSY DOCUMENT for the better part of seven weeks. It was the equivalent of a group certificate from one of my temp agencies – and they stubbornly refused to send it to me in anything other than their own sweet time. I employed the squeaky wheel approach, making a nagging phone call every day to see if I could annoy them into giving me what I wanted – but their will was strong. The piece of paper arrived the weekend before my sacking, and so I got the visa application in the same day I had to leave my job. Ahh, symmetry, how I love thee.

So, now, I’m waiting. The official timeframe for the visa application is four to six weeks. Everyone I know who has had one in this year, however, has had it back within three weeks. Basically, I’m sitting on my arse until the end of June, hoping against hope that this all works out.

On the plus side, my brother,Captain Kloss, has been visiting for the last ten days, so I have had ample time to hang out with him and show him the sights. He left last night, so now I can do some sleeping, some emailing, and maybe write here a bit more frequently. I am, officially, a lady of leisure. Let’s do lunch.


Blogger Worlds Worst Footy Tipper said...

if its not alliteration; it just doesn't work - its kapitan kloss too you.

10:45 PM  
Blogger jLo said...

That spelling hurts my eyes.

12:44 AM  
Blogger Scott said...

Everything that could be wrong with that sentence is wrong.

Message good, though.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Veggie Friendly said...

I guess the catch of working with those legal eagle types is that they can get all lawyerly on you...

I really sorry to hear that in your in limbo with the job and the visa. Hopefully the might of the British bureaucracy will swing behind your application and any day now we'll be reading a victorious post on Ficklish...

Can't wait to see you!

2:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Babe, i'd so totally marry you and make you by default Brit if:

a) They recognised girl on girl relationships as legal and

b) I'd bothered to actually apply for citizenship (so should do that ASAP in case they change the rules).

If u get desperate my sis Tegan is living in London. Perhaps she could lend you Phil?

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other option, as we who know jLo best do understand, is for her to finally circum to the advances of one wacky packy, dual passport holder. Just lower your standards a bit jLo, I mean how much do you really want to stay?

Thanks to B A Tron for the correction on my name

12:18 PM  

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