Monday, January 31, 2005

Your Friendly Neighborhood Job Bank

I received a letter last week saying that there was something wrong with my social insurance card. Apparently my mother's maiden name was entered wrong and didn't match. I've had this card and number for over thirty years and I'm being informed of this now?!? Just to double check I decided to call up my mother and ask her. As it turns out her last name may have been entered wrong all those years ago. When my grandfather came to Canada they mistyped the family name, he changed it back later. So the name attached to my card might not be the name it was changed back to. No problem I'll go over to the canada office, figure out what's going on and let them know where the mistake might have been made.

Once there, a pleasent person behind the counter told me to take a seat and that the wait would be about 40 minutes. She told me while I was waiting I could fill out a SIN application form just in case I had to anyway and save time later. Since I had nothing better to do that's what I did. About 47 minutes and 23 seconds later (yes I timed this), my name was called over some loud speaker. It instructed me to go to desk three.

The numbers hanging from the ceiling of the drabby office were clearly marked. Unfortunetly the desks under them weren't. Looking down from the huge "3" sign I looked toward a thin pencil pusher of a woman who seemed like the whole office environment had sucked the life out of her. Her greying hair matched the amount of suckage that I guessed had happened to her over the years, months, who knows maybe even just days of working in that soul sucking office. Just looking around at the grey, fluorescent, dimly lit surroundings made me shudder and think happy thoughts that I was not working in a place as crappy as this one.

Not a split second after I sat down she burted "You didn't call in your hours!". At first I was confused. She took me off guard. I had filled in my SIN application form but she was referring to something else. Ah yes... My employmment insurance forms... I told her that I got this letter in the mail telling me to correct the SIN number. I told her I thought I had to do that first as it seemed like the SIN number problem would be more of a big deal. As I didn't want anyone else to get my EI or worse, have the EI go into a black hole where no one collectedit. There wasn't any order specified in the mail as to what to do first, hence my decision to fix my SIN number. She then blurted "You come here to get a new SIN card. You call to enter your hours. Why didn't you enter your hours?!?".

I then made the mistake of asking her what name they had on file for my SIN card. "I can't tell you that but it doesn't matter, you're going to fill out this form and submit it." Obviously she had a very large cucumber up the ass and anything I did or say from that moment on would just make her more irritable and my life more miserable. "Is it ____ (the first name) before the government typo during immigration?" I tried to ask nicely. "I can't answer that. You will take this form and fill it out", she replied. She walked across to another desk and stuffed my other forms into a file folder. When she returned to her desk I informed her of a typo on the address they had on my form. The address was correct on the envelope to get the form sent to me but on the form itself there was a small spelling mistake. She swifty went to the other desk, rummaged through the folder, read the document, then stuffed it back in. All done in an exagrated "My time is too precious for this crap" movement. "I'll fix it." she snapped, then motioned with her eyes and head tilt to leave out the way I came in at the same time calling some other poor slob to desk three.

Although I didn't expect a sunny reception. Let's face it government offices aren't exactly fun, fun, fun, party places. I wasn't expecting the ice queen either. I was tempted to go back and get her name but figured that my forms in her hands were better off without me having that knowledge. Part of me felt sorry for her and anyone else that worked in that environment and another part of me wanted to slap her silly. At the very least make her life miserable for thirty seconds by talking to her supervisor. Who knows. Maybe she was just having a bad day.

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