Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Heroes of the Sea, Noble People*

Let me tell you a horror story of burocratic proportions:

You start your professional life so you go to Social Security and the Finances in order to make sure everything is done properly. FINE. Then you get these things we call green slips maybe? (recibos verdes, can’t even think of the word) - basically you have a receipt booklet that you fill in every month to receive your sad wages even if you have a contract; this way, YOU are not given any social benefits and the company still gets your work. It’s like a plague here, bloody everywhere and messing up everything. FINE. Then you are awarded a scholarship for your PhD and you go to both the Finances and SocSec in order to find out what to do next. You are advised NOT to close activity because it won’t matter anyway, your scholarship is exempt from any deductions and since you can’t work while receiving it (another joke in itself because some are pitiful; mine was international and therefore quite alright even though Israel is so bloody expensive), no incompatibility and, as the nice man explained, “it’s always good to have the booklet bcs you never know”. FINE. Then the whole PhD sub-drama, let’s skip forward, you return to Portugal and get a loan to go to vet school and do the odd translation and proof-editing and data treatment jobs (odd because you CANNOT work full-time since it’s all you can do to keep your head afloat anyway). You need proof that you are working so you are given a working-student status at school - and THAT is a must because if I tell you I have exams in September and that I am allowed a maximum of 4 subjects that DOES NOT mean I have 4 exams, oh no. Why lend students a hand? That means that, in a worst case scenario, I have 12 (TWELVE) exams: Theory, Practice and Theoretical Practice. And we also have exams during the Easter holydays BECAUSE THERE’S NOT ENOUGH TIME otherwise. So I could well use the working classes' extra exam dates. FINE. So you get a statement from one of the firms and you deliver it to the proper services. Your status is very clear on the grade list and your VERY HIGH tuitions (amazing that with all they get from you they still cannot afford toilet paper or soap UNLESS the European inspectors are in town - oh but how you live when they are! So… civilised.) so all is well. FINE. You are then called to the services in JUNE and told that your matriculation will be CANCELLED because you have failed to pay tuitions, so sorry. But you did pay them. No you didn’t. Yes you did, you have the Xerox copies to prove it. Oh! Could you then bring them in the very next day otherwise you will be kicked out and THEN THERE WON’T BE ANYTHING ANYONE CAN DO? FINE. Oh (afterthought), BTW, everything IS alright with the status, you expect. Status? You mean….? No, we have no documents regarding that. WHAT??? But you were given the documents IN OCTOBER!!! You are LISTED as a working student! Nope, nope, so sorry, nothing we can do now. BUT YOU NEED THE ALTERNATIVE EXAM DATES! Well sorry and all that but now it’s too late, you should have brought it in on time. YOU DID! Sorry really, nothing we can do. FINE. So this year you go to SocSec to get a declaration for school because you are no longer exempt. Other than the waiting period it should be pretty fast. Oh dear! This is the wrong deduction form, whyever did you fill this one? This is not the one for self-employment. Well, because the VERY EXPENSIVE ACCOUNTANT YOU HIRED TO MAKE SURE ALL WAS KOSHER told you to. Oh dear, oh dear, but this is the wrong one… And why didn’t you close up all activity when you received the scholarship? Because YOUR COLLEAGUE told me not to, JUST IN CASE! Oh deary… Weeeeell, I’m afraid it’s possible that you will be made to pay the retroactive deductions… Oh something’s not quite right here, hold just a second… This is very bizarre, I’m almost as confused as you are now. You are registered as working for someone, as a member of statutary organisations (oh that’s for when you are a director of a company, for instance) AND a pensioner. I’m sorry, did you say pensioner? How could I be a pensioner at this age??? Well, you could if you had any severe disabilities - do you? No, I didn’t think so. You should sort out this mess as soon as possible, you know. FINE. So now you have to Xerox every single document since 1997 AND maybe still file your taxes retroactively since 1998 WITH A HEAVY FINE because you were given bad counsel AND you may have to a) sigh in relief because they didn’t make you pay anything because what you’ve earned is ridiculous really; b) pay the nice people around 500 Euros; c) pay the very nice people 90 Euros for EVERY MONTH from September 98 till NOW - you don’t know how much that amounts to because YOU’RE TOO AFRAID TO DO THE MATHS! So you come home ABSOLUTELY FUMING and WORRIED OUT OF YOUR MIND and thinking that that money you won TAX FREE on that TV show may just not remain tucked away for a rainy day and how the hell will this improve your insomnia is what you want to know. Then you turn on the news and wouldn’t you know it, your Porties have outdone themselves YET AGAIN!!! Apparently you will now be required to pay TOLL FEES - T.O.L.L. F.E.E.S! - if you wish to enter some cities of choice. So terribly generous of the EU to welcome their Arab brothers.

Fuckortugal, we should be called. Thank you so much, land of mine. Up your bloody yours. No really. FUCK YOU BIG.

* the first lines of our national anthem. Go
here for a really good laugh. [It’s not race, it’s people. PEOPLE! Can’t anyone translate anymore???]

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At 25/11/04 14:03, Blogger Lala said...

Sounds like you're getting screwed. Sounds like a very confusing system. I feel for you.

At 25/11/04 15:20, Blogger Ana said...

Oh boy, that really sucks. I once had trouble with the Finances too and it took ages to clear everything out.
Last year one of the people there told my MIL that having 9 children is an exterior sign of wealth so surely they are not declaring everything they earn... Sometimes this country drives you nuts!
I'm so sorry.

At 27/11/04 09:05, Blogger squarepeg said...

o, lordy, this is far worse than any middle east cockup i've ever experienced. so awful, dear L. -- no wonder you can't sleep. (and what is this about monies from tv shows? where is that post??)

At 27/11/04 19:31, Blogger The Lioness said...

There is no post abt that, I went to a game show and earned some money. V. handy - AND tax free ;)


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