Thursday, April 22, 2010

part time = party time

Its been 9 months since coming to US and I haven't had a part time. Not any more!

There used to be a time when people were coming to US, completing their studies and everything and not spend a single dime from their pocket. All expenses, assistantships, funding and all provided by the University. Although the same doesn't happen anymore but there are some people who have this luxury. Others are spending, sometimes complete expenses, from their own. I was kinda in between. University paid 40% of my tuition, but I had to pay for the rest 60% of my own. I had to take an education loan for the same. So it was very very important for me to get a part time job here atleast to take care of my living expenses.
I tried hard during the initial days of my University, going through departments, stores etc and putting up an application wherever I could. As the days passed by, I kinda slowed down on my hunt. Partly because I wasn't getting any reply what so ever, and partly because my enthusiasm was dying. Moreover it frustrated me when some of my friends got into one or the other.
Come spring, and I realized a lot of my senior friends will be graduating this term and many of them had part times so why not ask them for some push. There is one guy from Bhubaneswar here, Sandeep, very nice chap and down to Earth. He was employed at the bookstore. He had helped me alot when I was new here, taking me to the Banks, completing formalities etc etc. I always used to consult him regarding University matters since he has been here for a year now and knows more or less everything about the University activities. I asked him if he could refer me to the Bookstore guys for hiring. He readily agreed and said to contact him again in the first week of April, when he will put up my name to the authorities.
Come April, I emailed him and asked to let me know when to come down to the store so that he can introduce me to his superior. He said it is not necessary for me to come down now. He said he will tell his manager about me and I can go and meet Mr. Tucker in 2-3 days and ask for service letter.
I paid a visit to Mr Tucker after 3 days. I told him that I am friend of Sandeep and that he told me to come down here and check if there are any positions open. The guy told me there are no positions open now and that I should see him in 1-2 weeks. I let him know that I don't have an SSN, and that it would be another 2 weeks before I can actually start working. He told me he can't issue me service letter unless he hires me for any position.
Anyways, I met him again after a week. This time he told me he can hire me right away only if I have an SSN. This was a shock for me. I was so very disappointed. I told him atleast give me a service letter now so that I'll apply for SSN and in 2 weeks I am good to go for the job. But he told me its a strict policy in the bookstore to mention SSN info before hiring anyone so he can't even offer me a position unless I have an SSN.
Now I am in a loop. Its like a dog chasing his own tail. I can have SSN only when I have a service letter, i.e he hires me for any position and he can hire me for a position only when I have an SSN. Now my head is spinning. I went to the International Center and they told me I can still work if I don't have SSN but I'll be paid only after my SSN arrives. I told the same to Tucker that atleast now let me fill in the position, I'll start working and apply for the SSN in the meantime and he doesn't have to worry about paying me for this time. To this he said they have policy they can't hire people unless they have SSN, so its the same story altogether.
I was so dejected. I had lost all hopes of this job. It was my time-pass for the long summer break, apart from the loads of studies. Seeing me so sad, Tucker told me to come around July and he will see what he can do but we both knew its a consolation. Even though I get a job in July, my summer is wasted, the time when I could have put in 40hrs of work per week (unlike 20 hrs during semester) and earned double money so that I need not take loan money anymore.

Tucker: Come in July and we will see what we can workout. You will be working alongside Sandy. Do you know Sandy?

I thought Sandy is some software the store uses to manage operations.

Me: Well, it will take me no time to know that. But I was banking heavily on this job now. I was thinking I'll be replacing Sandeep since he will be leaving this job soon.
Tucker: You know Sandy?

Now I realized he is referring to Sandeep by Sandy.

Me: Yes. I know him pretty well. He is the one who referred me for this job.

Tucker: Yeah. He once told me he referred one person for this position. Are you the one?
Me: Yes. I am the one he referred.
Tucker: Well then let me have a talk with Sandy tomorrow. Does he have your number?
Me: Yes. He has.
Tucker: Thats better. Let me talk to him on this tomorrow and you can expect a call from him sometime tomorrow.
Me: Sure. Thanks!

Then I left. It made me think. I was now sure that he didn't realize before that I am the one that Sandy referred. He must have been thinking something else when I told him I am a friend of Sandeep, may be he didn't pay attention to this statement or may be he did but it didn't strike him of any importance. Why does he care if I am a friend of 'xyz' or 'abc'? But the conclusion to be drawn here is that there was a communication misunderstanding that led to a week's delay. The next day, Sandeep called and told me to meet Tucker on Monday and he will give me the letter. I was so jubilant. Better be late than never.
On Monday I got the letter, took the application form from the International Center and applied for an SSN on the same day. Its a matter of days before I start earning some dough. One step towards my ultimate goal.

Before I wrap up this, I must thank Sandeep a thousand times for this opportunity. It would not have been possible without his help. Thanks man!


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