Wednesday, March 23, 2011

At Passport Control

I generally think it's a bad idea to lie to UK border agents, so that is why the following conversation went the way it did. Now I know better.

Going through passport control to reenter the UK from France:

Agent: "What nationality are you?"


"But you live in the UK?"


"What type of visa are you on?"

Post-study work.

"What did you study?"

The control of infectious diseases.

"But you work in retail?"

(Embarrassed smile) Yeah.

(Not smiling) "That's not really relevant, is it?"

Uh, no.

"How long have you been working in retail?"

(I start to suspect I should lie, but decide to go with the truth) A year.

"That visa is meant to be so you can work in your field. Why aren't you working in your field?"

I've been trying to get jobs.

"When was your last interview?"

About...five months ago?

"You're not trying very hard, are you? You know, this is exactly why we're getting rid of the post-study work visa, because of people like you who don't use it for what you're supposed to."

She stamped my passport and handed it back, and I just took it with a forced smile and walked away, fuming. I couldn't even focus on finding my waiting area or listening to boarding announcements, I was so upset. I spent the entire train ride home going over all my many inadequacies. I know I'm not supposed to internalize shit like this. I know when people are horrible to you, you're just supposed to shrug it off and feel sorry for them. I'm not supposed to let this ruin my memory of my three wonderful days in Paris.

But she was right. I'm not trying very hard. I've lost sight of the point, of my dream. I've become complacent and I'm wasting time and resources. Although part of that is precisely because of the mind-numbing and soul-destroying process of applying for jobs, but I need to be more determined. No one else is going to follow my dream for me.

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