Anticipating a full time income I have recently been taking more taxis than normal. This has provided mixed experiences but the saddest was a 23 year old Pakistani on his 5th day of driving who broke down in tears when telling me about his family. He is having such a bad time he has told his brother not to even think about coming and has told to warn others against it too.
Another driver of 10 years spent the entire journey giving a fascinatingly detailed account of the pros and cons of every vehicle he has driven in those years concluding with an unequivocal recommendation for the Toyota Corrolla. This obviously carries weight because when you start looking out for them Toyota Corrollas are everywhere.
Strangely, in the past month I have had not one but three different drivers quoting the section in the Quran that presages the end of days. 'When towers rise out of the desert and touch the sky etc ... ' plus global disasters and other bits of Quranic evidence that the shit will hit the fan shortly. By taxi driver number three I thought it politic to be convinced and actually started throwing in a few similar biblical references for good measure. It's quite cathartic when you're having a bad day and all three drivers seemed almost pleased about the imminent end except one who wanted to clear his debts first.
However, these fascinating conversations will have to stop because I have hit a number of related bureaucratic snags resulting in my application to work full time being rejected by the Ministry of Labour.
The first snag is that I don't have a stamped and certified copy of my degree certificate. In fact the last time I actually saw my degree certificate was about 15 years ago when it was consigned to a box in the loft while moving house. Given that my multifarious skills are obvious from my CV it never occurred to me that I would need to prove I graduated. To add insult to injury I have been informed that my university does not even appear on their list of registered universities.
Another problem is that they want references from my previous employers. I have been self employed for 10 years so I don't have former employers, at least not recent ones. However, I am now trying to track some of them down so far without success. I have had what is now apparently known as a 'portfolio career' which is a nice name for a somewhat meandering career path that only makes sense to its owner. Despite fact that I have all the requisite skills for the job my CV is a tricky one to explain in this part of the world.