India requires that you fill out an immigration form and be processed by an immigration officer prior to leaving in the country. I recently travelled alone to Singapore, so I had to fill out the form and do this by myself. Although I have done solo cross border travel a number of times, I was a little nervous. This was my first time leaving India on my own, and I don’t know the system, or what the “right” answers are. Filling out the form just might have included a text or two to Willy.

Little did I know that it was one of the questions that I was confident in the answer that would trip me up. The question asked my occupation. I left it blank, as that is the most appropriate answer. The two immigration officers we incredulous, asking “what do you mean you don’t have a job? You must work!” Had the form asked what my profession or title was, I would have gladly responded with Victim Advocate, but it asked what my current occupation was. After explaining several times that I was not currently employed, and having them finally agree that leaving the response blank was the appropriate action, I was let through. I was a little surprised that they were not prepared for the fact that I was not employed, but I was through. The rest of my weekend was fabulous, I had so much fun in Singapore.

My return to Bangalore left me in a funk that has lasted all week. I first thought it was just the shock of the going from neat and orderly Singapore to life in Bangalore that is nowhere near neat or orderly. I’ve slowly come to realize that it’s not that at all. It’s that damn blank.

I have been on an unpaid leave for the duration of my stay in India. The understanding when I left was that my job would be mine if I wanted it upon my return. I agreed to this, with the caveat that I would not force my agency to let my replacement go if she was as great a fit for the position as I thought she would be. Sadly, changes to the way that the agency is funded* meant that my replacement was laid off a couple of weeks ago. If there is no job for her, there is no job for me. I knew this and was upset by it, but it really hit me this week.  That blank just made it real.


*Thanks Harper government.

Category: India, life | 4 comments

  • Alison says:

    Sorry to hear about your job loss. It’s very stressful to deal with, even when you’re technically on leave. Hopefully when you return there will be a great job opportunity for you.
    And remember you are so much more than that blank.

  • Brie says:

    I think this is an opporunity for you to write a new word in that spot. Anything you want.

    I’ll tell you my word if you tell me yours. :-)

  • Sara says:

    Our jobs are so much a part of our identity and it’s hard to let them to. I hope what fills the blank is a wonderful new adventure for you!

  • Just reading the news now :( I am so sorry this happened. Your job is so important. I am positive that when you come back, you are going to find something that fits you perfectly!


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