My social visit to the government institution I frequent and hate the most, the employment agency, neither started nor ended well, as I, being a nihilist to the core, naturally anticipated. Appointments at impossibly early small hours of the morning, which is always the time allocated, are not my thing, so I made my appearance in the afternoon—three days in advance.
I know, right. I act like the rules and ways of ordinary humankind don’t apply to me only because I’m me. You might be pleased to hear though that for my presumptuousness, I was duly punished. On my defence, I wish to add that I couldn’t keep my scheduled appointment because it collided with my new job. In case you missed it, that was the post in which I revealed the employment agency’s statement that a job is not allowed to conflict with my attendance duties towards the agency.
While I expected that the agency would have a lunch break when I arrive, I thought that meanwhile I’d sit down and catch a good position in the queue. The building was however locked. I half-expected to see a NO UNEMPLOYED BEYOND THIS POINT sign, but there was nothing. That is, there was a landline phone with a USE THE PHONE OUTSIDE OF OFFICE HOURS sign, and some naive unemployed actually tried to use it, but there was no answer. Obviously.
As I was in front of the door fifty minutes before the opening hours, I chose the best spot in the small corridor, which soon became packed with nervous job seekers. Five minutes before opening, a guy in overalls approached the glass door from the inside and stuck a CLOSED sign on it. This rose some amount of confusion and anger among the crowd. However, trained in institutional dealings as we are, we went on waiting threateningly.
My following interactions with several clerks were uneventful. I didn’t even get down to pull the doctor card—that’s what I do when I run out of arguments and resort to yelling BUT I’M A DOCTOR!! I leave the sentence unfinished with an implied SO YOU CAN YOU KNOW WHAT, letting everyone’s fantasy to fill in as appropriate.
My clerk was deeply upset that I found myself a temp job. Neither was she happy to learn that I’m taking steps to become officially self-employed alongside. She refused to cross me out from the unemployment database for the time being. *shrug* I guess it doesn’t make any difference.
I left the agency with a list of todos and todelivers. They are huge fans of paper collecting, these institutions, and they always coach a person into bringing in more. I might need to start collecting old paper for them to satisfy their hoarding needs. But then, it would be a job, which the employment agency wouldn’t approve of. You know, logic.
The next stop was the office for the control and harassment of aspiring and current self-employed persons. I did my homework and arrived equipped with two forms filled in. I know, right. Only two. I was positive there must be more to it when one asks to have a licence granted for employing oneself. And guess what. Turns out you need to fill in zero forms. The clerk takes your dictation.
My clerk was not particularly chatty. I don’t even think she hated me, though I believe that everyone hates me by default. She was perfectly indifferent. Like in WE ARE THE BORG indifferent. I paid her for her five-minute service so much that a luxury gentleman’s companion would be in awe of the amount. Here are our brief dealings dramatised in an one-act play.
MARA (tentatively): Hi.
CLERK (without looking up): What do I get you?
MARA (questioningly): A licence?
CLERK: What kind?
MARA: Free profession.
CLERK: ID card. (Clerk typing.)
CLERK (looks up): Which professions?
MARA (dictates): Numbers 24, 36, 64, 65, 66 and 79.
CLERK: That’s CZK 1000,-. Sign this.
MARA signs and receives a stamped paper. CLERK stays quiet.
MARA (confused): Well?
MARA: What next?
CLERK: That’s it.
MARA: So how long until my licence is valid?
CLERK: It’s valid now.
MARA (eyes falling out of sockets): !”£$%^&*()_+ (Playing it cool.) Alright.
I think it’s mildly discomforting how much easier it is to become self-employed than to be unemployed. But again, there is surely a government logic to it that I’m missing. My bad. The point is, I’m officially announcing now that I’m officially self-employed. Don’t ask me what that means exactly. I wasn’t told. I guess I’ll just Google.