so now it’s 2k3. We’re well in the noughts, and the noughts still seem to have no clue as to what direction they are going in, music and style-wise. Or maybe I am just not bermy enough to pay attention.
Christmas was good, overall. I spent it with Christopher’s extended family in PA. About 20-30 people on Christmas eve, and a notably smaller crowd on Christmas day. I can’t say I am crazy about staying at his mom’s for a week; but the kids enjoyed themselves, the food was very good and very plentiful, and we had enough snow to call it a white christmas. There you go, then.
The new year is off to an ambigious start, work-wise. I did not get the Professional Service Engineer position I was hoping for. I did get told my customer-facing skills were a concern, as I am sometimes forceful with my manager and my colleagues. Fair enough, they haven’t seen me with customers. Shawn talking to peers is different from Shawn talking to customers. Peers should know better , customers on the other hand _pay me_ for not knowing better and get service with a smile.
What will happen now is that I, along with two other colleagues, will get a number of customers we are responsible for. We’ll have to make sure their all-around service is great, no tickets are lagging, and do the quarterly service reviews with them. I’ll also do some PSE work, and a bit of QA work.
It’s not bad, but it’s not great, either: It’s more responsibility at the same payrate. Which is low by about 10% compared to that of my immediate peers. Well, that’s how it is right now. The company is struggling, so no payraises.
On the plus side, I do need to demonstrate my customer-facing skills and hone them, or fix them if they are truly as bad as management seems to fear they are; I should probably get my impatience with peers under control, as it is hurting my rep; and responsibility is a great way to dust off those time management and delegation skills I have left to rust for the past few years. I view this as positive. Better than viewing it as negative .
I’m also hopeful I might be writing a chapter for a book. We shall see. Being published can only help.
So, nigh one year in the US, or if you count the on-and-off time, over one year. 5 years to go on this visa, so I am thinking about how to get a permament residency (“green card”). I think I will need a good, really good, immigration lawyer to help me. The lack of formal education is starting to bite me. All of these visas seem to require either a BA or better, preferably a Masters. I don’t have anything of the sort. Getting one now is a bit pointless, as that would violate the necessity to show 5 years continuous post-BA work.
As I said, I shall find myself a lawyer and discuss this thoroughly, and find out just what my options are; what documentation or certifications/schooling other than a BA I could use or acquire to get permanent citizenship.
What is interesting is the reaction of my boss to these musings, which has been the reaction of several people in the US. “But, can’t you just marry and come in?” “Sadly, no.” “But, don’t Vermont and California offer gay marriage?” “Sadly, no.”
I don’t quite rightly know what to think of this. I think I lean towards the stance that talking about “gay marriage” when you mean “civil union” is a mistake. “Civil union” is a mouthful, to be sure. It should be. It stresses the inequality between a civil union and marriage. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be able to register a civil union and receive state tax benefits, medical rights, and state inheritance rights, state pension rights.
But it is not marriage in that it has no bearing on federal level, which decides about issues such as federal tax, immigration, federal pension, military pensions, and so on and so forth. Or even the simple right to marry in one state, and to have that marriage be valid in any other state. In any other country, even; but that, I agree, is too much to expect for same-sex marriage.
And by referring to same-sex partnership commitment ceremonies as “gay marriage”, or by referring to civil unions as “gay marriage”, the impression the average Joe gets is that gays now have the same rights, on a federal level, as straight couples; that everything is, in other words, hunka-dory with respects to gay civil rights. Quite obviously not so. To have any chance to go beyond civil unions, the lesbigay community would do itself a favour by stopping to refer to civil unions as gay marriage.
Right. Getting off my soap-box now.