Monday, May 26, 2008

Il Soggiorno, Il Lavoro, e Il Nullaosta, part 3

6. May 9th: I Went to the DPL
Having been given the advice by the Prefettura to go to the Direzione Provinciale del Lavoro di Firenze (the Labor department of the province of Florence), or DPL as I've been referring to it, I decided to go there after sharing what I had learned with the company trying to hire me. Like me, they were surprised and frustrated to hear the explanation given for the rejection of my request. At this point I had pretty much abandoned all hope of obtaining a work permit, but I figured that there was no harm in making a final attempt. And so on Friday, May 9th, the exact day on which my student visa expired, I rode down to the DPL.

The inside of the DPL felt much like any state-run office I've ever been in, anywhere. It's bland, dingy with a borderline dirty feel, and has the atmosphere of being entirely functional (a particularly un-Italian trait). I didn't know who exactly I needed to see and there was no front desk at which I could ask, so I wandered the halls for a bit. After about 10 minutes I stopped a lady in the hall and asked if she could help me. I told her what I had come to do and she kindly led me to where I needed to go. I stood in line for 10-15 minutes with a group of about 13 other people - some Italian, some not. When my turn finally came around I went in the office and was greeted by a woman that couldn't have been more than 2 years older than me. She asked me how she could help, and I explained my situation. She reluctantly concurred with the explanation as it was written on my rejection noticed, to which I nodded and then contested, explaining why the whole situation didn't make sense. She was very kind and empathetic, even if not at all helpful. In the end she asked me if I was able to write in Italian, and then had me write a letter to the head of the department, explaining in detail my situation and asking if there was anything that could be done to aid the situation.

It felt much like an exam, and for anyone who's studied Italian, think back to when you had to write papers or do written exercises. It's considerably more difficult to write than it is to speak or read. Add on the the pressure of doing this in a public office, where the recipient is a state official from whom you need assistance to remain in the country. Anyway, I got it done and handed it over. She told me that it would be processed by post (of course), and I would receive a response by the same. Obviously, I don't count on a response before I'm already back in the US. Anyway, that was that and I don't think I could have done anything better than I did it. I didn't come here with the intention of remaining and working, and so I had to learn in a trial-by-fire method. Things still would have taken a long time, but the processes would have been started earlier.

I'm probably not the first person to do this, but I'd wager that I'm one of very few people that have been to the Bargello and the DPL in the same day, and believe me when I say the experiences polar opposites. It would be nice to stay here, but I don't regret the way things have concluded. I find this odd sense of peace strange because normally regret is one of my more potent feelings, and especially because I really like the idea of staying. For some reason though, things just seem in place, and for that I am thankful. I know that some day, in some capacity, I will be here again.

2 comments:

Tim said...

bureaucracy seems to be a necessary evil in all government entities regardless of nationality, as they all, for some reason, seem to be afraid of making things too easy (and more importantly, make sense) for the common people. I'm sorry to hear all that chaos you've had to endure these past few months... Let me know when you're back in the states as I'd love to grab some shrimp tempura with you at you know where :)

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