Day 3 – Bureaucracy, Bureaucracy, Bureaucracy

Today was one of those days that would have made my old-self pull her hair out. But the new zen me is coming to Brazil with “open heart and open arms” (as suggested by my HR contact), and was instead dying inside, while sporting a big smile and my most positive charming attitude.

The day started at 7am at some sort of medical office which administers the Ministry of Labor requirements for employee medical test. As advised, we came super-early as I had some other bureaucratic appointment afterwards and were told I will get admitted for an X-Ray “rapidinho”, which means super fast. One hour later, the number of attendees in the office grew from 3 to 15, as it was some sort of special queue, FINO (“first-in-never-out”). Most of the people looked very low income but were super quiet and waiting patiently despite the dismissive attitude of the attendant nurse. My relocation consultant (thankfully) decided that this is not an appropriate treatment for our social class and standing and made a big mess with nurse and her supervisor, 5 minutes after which, I was allowed to do my X-Ray. This was brilliant, although I did feel bad for taking advantage of perceived status. Oh well, such is life.

Next appointment was at another government office, to get the equivalent of a social security number. I then became and orphan, as the lady there could not match my mom’s name on her ID to my birth certificate. How do you explain a governmental ignoramus about the usage of patrenomes in Russia? So it was decided to proceed with ‘mother missing’. So silly.

I also learned more things about social status. Here everyone (including every official form) asks you for your profession, which means what you studied in undergrad and also educational level. Apparently, it helps them analyze your ‘psychological profile’ (according to my consultant). I think it’s more of a status thing here, which I find really strange. You could have been an abstract artist, who studied engineering 15 years ago or something, but they will still refer to you as an engineer.

When I finally arrived to the office, of course the HR contact was not there. I found out that I cannot get a work pass, login, or anything else before I get an employee ID, which I cannot get before I get some other federal ID, called RNE, which will take a few more weeks. I was actually pleasantly surprised to find out that I did get a laptop. Of course, it didn’t work. I guess I might get a new one tomorrow.  Not that it matters, because I cannot login anyways. And  so I spent the whole day reading the company’s annual report, various presentations and chatting with my new colleagues which are actually awesome. Very nice, well educated, young people. So I guess all the other torture is worth it.

Tomorrow I will have cultural training. I am really looking forward to it. I think it will provide great writing materials.