The Way We Were

Posted: January 20, 2015 in Musings, Personal
Tags: , , , ,

February 2nd, I start working in a tea shop, turning me a tea-rista eventually.  I’m looking forward to it, although I have to master the cash register (a Microsoft program, so beware) as well as learn about over 100 teas, among other things. I love working with people, so that part will be right up my alley. But what really threw me was the paperwork needed these days to get a job!

Besides an informational sheet, there’s a six-page employment agreement, full of WHEREAS’s , THEREFORE’s, and EMPLOYEE and EMPLOYER, including a non-compete agreement that in essences bars me from working at another teashop within a 25-mile radius (the entire Chicago metropolitan area, I presume) for 2 years after quitting work at this shop.

I’m pretty good with all that, although I often wonder why these things can’t be written in basic English. When I was studying physical education, when you shouldn’t do an exercise or something else, it was always “contraindicated.” I know what that means, but why not just say, “Don’t do this exercise?”

What’s really different from “the old days”, (yes, another old geezer remembering the good old days), is what you have to fill out for the government. The first is three pages, both sides, of information, underneath the title “Instructions for Employment Eligibility Verification”, and below those, the now ominous words “Department of Homeland Security” and finally under those “U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.” These are all to prep you for the one page/both sides “Employment Eligibility Verification” form, various parts to be completed by employee and employer, under pain, I suppose, of terrible torture and death if not done correctly and likely presumed guilty until proven innocent if done incorrectly.

Finally, still attached with all this, is a “List of Acceptable Documents.” This is what really got me going. Not that long ago, I got my Illinois driver’s license and had to show more documents and proofs of who I am and where I live than to get this job. But I can’t use my driver’s license to prove who I am. I have to have (again) my passport (or one of five other documents), the afore-mentioned license (or one of 8 or so other documents), AND my Social Security card (or one of 7 other forms of ID.)

Then, of course, there are several sheets of tax and withholding information.  Uncle Sam is salivating to get his “fair” share of my financial gains.

Good grief! The last time I worked for someone else for wages, I know some of these things weren’t around. I certainly didn’t have to do all this when I ran my personal training business (consisting only of me.) Life has certainly changed and the government, for better and for worse, has become an unwieldy, and too often ineffective, beast.

Like the corners of my mind
Misty watercolor memories
Of the way we were
Can it be that it was all so simple then?
Or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we, could we?
(The Way We Were, Barbara Streisand)

The answer to the first questions is “Yes, I believe it was”; to the second, “No, I don’t think so.” The answer to the last is that we won’t ever have the chance to decide.


(For the next week and a half, I’m going to be without internet much of the day, so please bear with me.  Thanks.)  🙂

  1. yprior1 says:

    congrats on your new job – and how fun to learn about teas like this – and also how fun to interact with people thru your work and all that -= and I did not know you were form Chicago – and that is on my list of a must visit place – The AIV always gets top honors as a museum and well, something about the windy city has called to me for a while. I have been there twice, but not much sightseeing – anyhow, if I was going to be a “tea-rista” – I would want it to be in a cool city like Chciago (or LA, NYC, etc.)
    and you had me spinning (lightly) as you described the paper work – whew – I agree – things have changed – and the litigious language – well I could see some stand up comic jokes with that in your descriptions –
    anyhow, best wishes and enjoy!

    • We’re not in Chicago itself but a suburb, which is great, as we can take the train into the city if we like or just enjoy where we are. I think the new job will be a great experience and I’m looking forward to it. Thanks for all the good wishes and if you get to Chicago again, let me know.


  2. It’s great to work in a tea shop and even with all that paper-thingies. The smell of tea is worth any effort :o)

  3. Good lucky with your new job now that the paper work is done hopefully. Here’s to many delicious scone breaks to come.

  4. Hope that you’ll share your new found knowledge with us. I’m a tea devotee, regardless of the season. Congratulations–sounds like fun.

  5. Jan Morrill says:

    I’ll be looking for a job for the first time in twelve years, Janet, so thanks for the heads up. Good luck being a “tea-rista.” You’ll be excellent!

  6. helenscribe says:

    They use all those long words to prove they went to college, and to justify the remarkable fees they charge for putting anti-litigious documents in obfuscating language to baffle those of us striving to uphold plain English. Bottom line–that’s how the government boffins justify their jobs. Are we all clear on that?

  7. Tish Farrell says:

    Well cheers to your new job, Janet, though commiserate on the paperwork. Is it actually legal in the US to limit your employment prospects within the same trade or field? I know publishers try to pull this one in writers’ contracts, saying they can’t write something similar for another publisher.

  8. Congratulations and hope that it goes well for you there. If I lived near, I would love to check the place out.

  9. Helen C says:

    Good morning, Janet. Congratulation for your new job!
    Your post reminded me the first day I reported to my graduate school at U of Idaho. I was given several pages of form to fill out. My English was not good (just came to U.S.) and I had never fill out any form in my life. I asked the lady at least three times: “Do I have to fill out these?” 😉 Helen

  10. Congratulations on your new job. Even more for navigating the whole paperwork process. Here in New Zealand all I need is my driver’s licence. I have it on my key ring so it is always with me. When I filled out the application for this rental property all the manager did was take a photo of my licence with her cell phone and that was it. My daughter has a different problem as her birth certificate shows a different name to her citizenship papers. Big problems but finally she got a passport in her rightful name. The hours I spent on the phone trying to sort that out. But I think things are somewhat less complicated here in New Zealand. Enjoy your new job. 😀

    • Thanks, Raewyn. I think I’ll enjoy it once the paperwork’s done. 🙂 But in an economy when so many can’t get or are losing their jobs, it’s wonderful to be ale to find one so easily, government hassles aside.


  11. Good luck with learning all those different teas. I also hate filling in forms. 🙂

  12. Amy Reese says:

    The job search is horrendous, Janet, and the paper work even worse. Good luck with your new job and learning about all the teas. That part sounds fun!

  13. I am a huge tea-drinker myself (I drink tea all day long :)). Let’s hope that you customers are nice people (I think people who drink tea are nice, at least I think I am — just a joke :), and the shop is a good place to work! Good luck!

  14. I enjoyed hearing that there is a no-competition clause in working at a tea shop. They know you’ll be good and gain a following! Just don’t want you taking hundreds of customers to a competing shop down the road. I’ll look forward to reading of your tea-related experiences.

  15. A tea-rista…. sounds like fun. I feel your pain with the paperwork. We have a small business with employees; we often bid on jobs which is another paperwork nightmare. It all seems excessive to me, too. But, then, I am a geezer, too, remembering the good old days where you filled out a simple application or maybe got a job with a face-to-face interview and a handshake.
    Enjoy your new job!

    • “The good old days”, right? Well, in least some things, they were. I think small business people are really subject to an excessive amount of paperwork and not really help by the taxes, etc., either.


  16. says:

    Congratulations on the new job. I am also looking and it gets discouraging! Have fun doing it!

  17. […] I’d ask the owner whether they needed any part time help.  They did and I came home with the now copious paperwork necessary to get a […]

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