Thursday, October 8, 2015

No Box to Check for "Self-Employed"

Typical! My Spanish bank, BBVA, is threatening to shut my account down if I don’t give information for the “Ley de Blanqueo de Capital” they want to make sure I am not spending government money on hookers and chalets, or something like that. BBVA wants my passport, they want to know how I make my money – here in the US! I tell them I don’t even live in Madrid, I just visit, I filled out the “form of no residente” I have a bank account to pay for my piso expenses, mortgage, gas, luz,.  Not enough info, they want more would you please call us says BBVA?

So I call from California, they ask me their most obsessive question, “is your job in the US Temporary or Permanent? ” ONLY TWO CHOICES! Temporary or Permanent, always the same obsession – permanent job of course is the only correct answer that ANYBODY wants to hear. If you don’t have a permanent job you are a nobody, a low-life, and a nothing.

So, what do I answer at 5 am in the morning still slightly groggy? Well, first off, “Temporary” and “Permanent” mean nothing to an American, ALL jobs are temporary!  Next, I own a company, a corporation, a small corporation, but a corporation none the less, with employees - of which I am one. So what am I? Temporary or Permanent? As far as I am concerned NOTHING is permanent, especially my corporation, my “job”, even if I have been 21 years in business. Market conditions could change and I could be out. So I make a fatal error, I say “Self-Employed”.

ALARMS GO OFF! The BBVA dude’s computer freezes up. He says, his computer will not accept “self-employed”. There are only two choices in Spain TEMPORARY or PERMANENT. I pause ... I say….. you know… I am an employee of my company so my job is permanent. Yes, please put down Permanent. TOO LATE! Can’t continue! Computer won't accept it! Please go to your bank branch – In Madrid! To finish the form.

So Spain, I’d like to say a few words in defense of the Self-Employed. Do you know how many people in the US are self-employed and who contribute to the economy? Give people jobs, create products and major innovations? A SHIT LOAD! You do know that Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, were all self-employed when they started, right?

No box to check for “self-employed” ? Spain, that’s a problem….