15 September 2008

Stymied By Bureaucracy

I had every intention of going and getting all my substitute teaching paperwork turned in today, getting registered, and just having to wait on the fingerprint clearance from the Department of Public Safety, but alas, I was stymied this afternoon when I was told that in order to turn in all the paperwork, I first needed a substitute teaching certificate from the Arizona Department of Education. However, in order to get the substitute teaching certificate, I must first have the fingerprint clearance card from the Department of Public Safety/Federal Bureau of Investigation. And in order to receive the fingerprint clearance card, I first had to drive all over downtown Mesa this afternoon to find the fingerprinting place, get my fingerprints taken, and then wait 15-180 days to have the background checks completed and receive my clearance card in the mail. It was a rather epic journey, beginning with waking up at 8 am this morning only to find out that my little brother had, in an epic display of FAIL, forgotten again to leave me the only key to my morning mode of travel. This effectively stranded me at home until he got out of school at noon. When he got home, I took the car to downtown Mesa and spent 20 minutes trying to find the Department of Public Safety, which Mesa had, in its infinite wisdom, decided to tuck behind the storefronts and the Department of Information Technology. But I found it - only to be told that my fingerprints couldn't be taken at the central station (as DPS had told me). I needed to go out to the fingerprint clearance card Information Processing Center to which Mesa Police Department had outsourced all non-court mandated fingerprinting. After another 20 minutes of wandering the streets of downtown, I finally found the podunk hole-in-the-wall place, staffed by two women who definitely looked like they could kick my ass (and I'm no little guy). I filled out some paperwork and was ushered into a back room where they inked me up until my fingers were sooty black, fingerprinted me, and let me wash up with some Uber-industrial superdetergent hand cleaner. Upon leaving, I inquired as to where Mesa Public Schools was headquartered, and was told "somewhere up around the corner." Easy enough. Except for the fact that no one told me there were no signs for MPS, which happens to be in the same building as Mesa Bank, a nine-story behemoth of a building in which MPS occupies the second through fourth floors. It took another 20 minutes of circling around before I figured this out. So finally, my hard work paying off, I entered the Substitute Services Department of MPS, paperwork in hand, official transcripts, immunization records, W-2's all filled out properly, and - BOOM! Stymied by the fact that I couldn't get registered as a sub because I didn't have the certificate, which I didn't have because I didn't have the fingerprint clearance card, which I didn't have because it takes 15-180 days to get that in the mail from the time the fingerprinting is done. So, long story short, in between two weeks and six months, I could be a substitute teacher for the Mesa Public School District. Not that they need teachers desperately or anything (note: sarcasm). Ah, bureaucracy, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...!

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