After getting 4 hours of sleep, and having no caffeine, I decided it would be a perfect day to head down to the Department of Education to renew my substitute teaching license.
To make the trip even more exciting, I decided to take both kids with me.
I plunked Ari in the stroller, placed Samara in the Ergo, and off we went to The DOE, a place filled with so many lovely bureaucratic moments.
We got to the floor where I had to renew my license. I arrived with children and my $25 postal money order in hand. I was prepared, I thought, having spoken to the Department of Education’s Human Resources hotline the day before.
When I got to the front of the line to be served, an ornery woman grunted at me:
“FILL THIS FORM OUT.” I obliged and handed it back to her.
“Uh…it says here that you are code “C,” you need to submit…” and then she went on to list what seemed like 50 other requirements besides the postal money order I had in my right fist.
“Wait!” I may have even held up my hand to her, I don’t know, I was so alarmed. “Human Resources told me since I only subbed 10 days this school year, I don’t need to submit anything but the $25.”
“Miss, did you read the email we sent you?”
“Uh…yes,” I replied tentatively, “But it was really confusing, and that’s why I called Human Resources to clarify what I needed to do.”
“Well, it’s all in the email. We have thousands of applications here, what makes you think you’re different from anybody else?”
“Um…” I had nothing to say to that.
“You need to read your email. Don’t you read your email? You're code "C," I can't do anything about that.”
“It’s just—I’m confused,” I began “I’m not sure why I have to complete these requirements, I’ve subbed less than 40 days…I thought those requirements for people who subbed 40 days or more.”
“I don’t know what to tell you. You should take that up with Bloomberg!” She said rolling her eyes.
“Is there anybody in this office that I could speak to about the requirements?”
“No. They’re all going to tell you the same thing. I don’t know what to tell you. NEXT!”
During this whole exchange, Ari was jumping from chair to chair in the rather large room and spreading chocolate muffin crumbs around like Hansel and Gretel.
After I was dismissed by this woman, I went to seek out a supervisor.
The supervisor agreed that this woman was especially rude, and apologized to me. We then sat down in her office and she confirmed that I did, in fact, only need to hand in a $25 money order and THAT WAS ALL.
“You’re very well-spoken,” she said to me. “Have you considered applying for the Speech Pathology Program?” She asked.
“No…” I replied, intrigued.
“It’s sponsored by the Department of Education. The Department of Ed pays for you to go to school. You can work F-Status, 2-3 days a week, which is great when you have kids.”
“That sounds great!” I said “I love language, that would be perfect for me.”
She gave me her contact information, and right then and there she sent me an email with the scholarship information.
And just like that, my lemon-like day, turned into a day filled with delicious lemonade.
Do you have a funny bureaucratic moment to share?