If you’ve read some of my previous blog posts you’ll know that I’ve not been working for a while. Finding a job has been slightly harder than I thought, so eventually I had to turn to the government for a bit of help. And oh my, what a demoralising experience that was.
Having worked all my life I’ve never even contemplated attending a job centre before, until my dad told me I had to to get my national insurance ‘stamp’. I had no idea at all what to expect. And I’ve been twice now. I’m glad I only have to go back once more.
My first time I sat for a good 15 minutes after my appointment time listening to the staff chatting about their weekends. They weren’t even good stories. A bit of gossip or scandal I might have forgiven them!
The lady I eventually saw was nice enough, but not awfully helpful – to start with, the system didn’t have any marketing roles on it, let alone digital marketing. It did however have ‘cheese maker’ listed. Which, lets face it, sounds awesome. I was then handed a piece of paper with my sign-on details – I was to go in, every other Thursday, 11.15. The most surprising part of the whole meeting was the ‘commitment’ I had to make to do 3 things a week to find a job. And these 3 things could include looking online or talking to a recruitment consultant. 3 Things. What the? No wonder people are unemployed!
My second meeting was slightly better than the first. We went through my working history. He read my CV. I made the same commitment to do 3 things a week to find work. I also had to sign to say that in a month if I didn’t have a job, I’d look for other lines of work. I was told I’d be expected to take a job within a 90 minute commute and I had to attend a CV writing class, which he acknowledged I’d probably be qualified to teach. I was told my claim hadn’t been processed yet. I was given a date in December to go back and visit them. That’s it. But my experience was slightly better than the unfortunate man who sat on the desk next to me, he didn’t speak much English, but from what I could tell, actually wanted a job. His worker however dismissed every role he gave her to apply for, even the ones he thought he could do.
I go back again Thursday to sign on, and hopefully, finally, to get a little financial help and to tell them I have a job and I wont be going back. As a friend put it, I’ll just be another good number for their statistics.