I had cause to use my passport today. I wasn’t going anywhere. I just needed photographic evidence of proof of identity and, as I still have an old style driving licence, my passport is it.
The first time I travelled abroad, to
My most recent passport is three years old and only has two entries, a stamp admitting me into
My passport photograph shows a somewhat dazed, washed out, puffy faced chap in a blue shirt with slightly windswept grey hair. It isn’t the me that I know, but it is a version of me and everybody that knows me would recognise me from it.
Interestingly when I turned to the details page - the page where my age, and sex, and place of birth are declared, the page that officially declares me a British Citizen and makes me even more official by giving me a number and displaying a facsimile of my signature at less than half size, not everything I expected to find was there.
I expected to find a statement of occupation. I don’t know why I expected to find it, other than I’m sure that it used to be there in my other passports, but it isn’t there in this one and (to my real surprise) nor is it in the one before (I checked). Apparently it hasn’t been required since 1984.
Isn’t it funny how you can be so sure of a thing only to find that it isn’t so at all?
I could go on, but let’s stick to passports and the non-requirement to state your occupation any longer and how it’s probably just as well given the state of my occupation currently.
It’s a pity really because on my next passport I was toying with the idea of declaring myself a ‘writer’ or ‘painter’ rather than the ‘Operations Manager’ I erroneously believed my passport has labelled me for the last thirty years or so.
Well, why not? I wonder if Van Gogh had ‘Occupation - Painter’ on his passport given that he only ever sold a single painting, and I wonder if Margaret Mitchell and Harper Lee put down ‘Writer’ as their occupation.
What allows you to claim that something is your occupation anyway? Is it the doing of it once, continually, or is it as simple as making money at it? What gives you the right to put your occupation down as clown, or private investigator, or visionary, or poet, or archaeologist?
I wonder what I’ll be putting in the now-non-existent ‘occupation’ box on my passport in a few years time.
I really wonder.