Wednesday, June 15, 2011

An Ornery DOE Employee Leads to a Life Changing Moment

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?


  1. Omg that's amazing!!! I hope you do it!!

  2. Eww what a rude lady. I dont miss that about living in NYC. But that sounds like an awesome opportunity! Hope you can do it :)

  3. That's fantastic! My stepsister is a speech pathologist and she adores her job and the kids she gets to work with. She has two children and has a great deal of flexibility in her job as well.

    What an exciting day!

  4. Woooooohooooo! It's been consistently rated one of the top ten jobs for many years in a row. If you need any tips or advice on key phrases they might want to hear on your application, I can help! Speechies, unite! :)

  5. Oh my goodness! Good for you for requesting a supervisor, and NOT blowing your top. I'm sure I would have blown a major gasket and ruined all future opportunities. Way ta GO!

  6. Kudos to you for not losing your cool. I would have totally wanted to rub it in the rude ladie's face. Then again, I am a "told you so" kind of person.
    Congrats on the fantastic opportunity!

  7. You know, it always floors me when people have the chutzpah to be that rude. I think I was just more shocked than anything. I actually wanted to cry. And I told the supervisor that I am ordinarily a really persistent person, and she made me want to "give up" so that's a really bad sign.

  8. I'm so glad you stuck around and found a supervisor. I don't understand why some people have to be so rude. How can anyone make it to adulthood and not realize that, although there are some things COMPLETELY beyond our control, for the most part, you get back what you put out there. I hope that this is the beginning of a wonderful new adventure for you.

  9. I'm so glad your stuck to your guns and spoke with a supervisor. I can learn a lot by your example. Also, what a great job that's in store for you. You are a great fit! :)


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