Posts Tagged ‘JSA’

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Hey guys and girls, a slight rant or waffle if you will.

I start my days waking up and eating breakfast, showering and brushing my teeth, grooming and putting on products to make me smell nice, get dressed and then that is where your day and mine split. You go to work, I sit at home and switch on the computer. I load up the 15 or so sites for job hunting and I think of new and interesting ways to fill in application forms.

This is my second month of doing this now and I can honestly say that I have come very close to being homeless as I have accidentally spent more money on travel that I was meant to, that is if I have any money in the first place for travel. “Ummm the job center pay for travel you dickhead!” – Thank you random person that will no doubt not read my whole post but comment anyway. Yes they will pay for it, unless you cannot provide proof, or they don’t feel like it or they are having a bad day or they don’t remember to put it through the damn system. To put this into context I have the following make up this month;

£30 over draft, £25 phone bill, £323 rent.

Incoming is £134 twice in a month and £158 once.

dolestreet_1713190cSo take away that from that and you get £49. I have also rounded things up to make it easier. Now £49 for a month of food, toiletries, travel, any new items I should require, for instance new shoes for interviews, shirts, ties, you get the idea. In a world where a loaf of bread can be over £1 to buy I find myself on a diet primarily made up of pasta and something tinned, a diet that makes my body feel lack luster and dull. A body need fresh fruit and veg to function at it’s highest and it is RIGHT NOW I need to be on my “A” game. I’m all up for reducing money from not working, think it’s a good idea but they need to balance it a little. The money situation is now hindering me finding work, which in turn will probably mean I have to sponge off the state for longer, so the reduction in out of work income, in my instance, is useless as I will be taking from the state about as much as I would have been before the changes but now just over a longer time.

There are 100 jobs and 1000 people for each one looking down this way at the moment. Not so much Cardiff but Newport and Bridgend are both doing badly and they are either side of Cardiff and the competition is eminence. Cardiff is become saturated as is Bristol. I am having to look further a field to find work, which is fine, however when you consider that the closest city to me is Cardiff and is around a 8-15 mins train ride away and costs around £6 to get to and back from every single time I want to go there, it kinda makes a longer trip to a further away location either impossible or a toss up between food buying and an interview.

Ok. I get that “As of Q1 2013 UK government debt amounted to £1,377 billion, or 88.1% of total GDP” and that is bad. But you can’t make money, or in this instance get people back to work by simply making people poor. It makes it harder.Nillionaire someone having little to no money

Plus they made the changes for money in one go. so instead of gradually doing it over a year or 6 months so people flowed into work, they said HEY, 3 million people you won’t have enough money to live on unless you find work from……..

NOW GO GO GO. What the fuck did they expect?

My final ranty bit has to do with an E-mail I got yesterday from Mc Donalds. It was an email saying that I was unsuccessful in my attempt to work at one of their stores. I have a feeling it is to do with my age as the application form is not particularly taxing, with multi-choice answers for questions being presented, most of which are something along the lines of;

If an employee said something that offended you, would you, A) Beat the shit out of them. B) Put their face in the fry station or C) try and talk to them or your manager and see if something can be sorted out.

I feel that being in my 30’s now and looking for any type of job does have it’s downsides. I have traveled the world with the British Armed Forces, I’ve been back packing across Europe I’ve lived in Paris, I’ve been called all the names under the sun and I have made my mistakes. So as an employer you can expect someone of my age and up to call bullshit out. If something is wrong we will bring it up, bring it up in a polite and proper way, be that going to the manager to tell them of a leak or asking someone not to repeat something again as it is not appropriate for work etc etc. There lies the problem, they don’t want that, managers don’t want more work, they would rather employ an 18 year old who knows nothing of their rights, nothing of what is really right and wrong and will simply walk away if fired for no reason. I and many others of my “age bracket” and above simply could not and would not tolerate that.

6-things-to-consider-when-you-have-to-cut-back120412_0So to sumerise I feel that I am being put into a tared group of people that does not want to work, I want to work and I actively do everything in my power to do so, but in reality I have to pick and choose which interviews I go to some days, or ring them up and try and change the date and time to a day I am already in that city, mostly this results in me no longer being offered the interview as I am already kicking up a fuss about something that should be easy to do, a view that is sensible and reasonable but yet is something that is sometimes out of my reach to accomplish. Why employ someone when they can’t even travel 15 mins down the road on a given day? Will that person even be able to make it to work for the first month of employment? How reliable is this person if he/she cannot even commit to a simple interview without wanting to change the date and/or time.

I fully expect to not have that bottle of wine in the fridge, to eat cheaper food and to commit my days to filling in forms but when the current infrastructure put in place by the government hinders that, I can only see a prolonged usage of benefits. This money could well be spent on other things in our country, if not in employment or growth but in education, the NHS, maybe even employing someone with the balls to tell the US, “You know what? we are not joining you in this war, costs too much for no return”.

Anyway rant over of a very annoyed and increasingly stressed Phil.

 

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So here we are again, another week over and another blog post being written and now read 🙂  Such a strange thing time, it is always the same, always constant however can seem to move at drastically different speeds, for instance the week leading up to me starting my new job seemed longer than the TWO weeks I have just completed by a mile. How the mind plays tricks on you.

So work, training for two weeks, what a roller-coaster of fun fuelled learning and fun, we have been 19 strong and have gel as a team wonderfully. Everyone of us seems to be energised by the next and our banter, well it bounces around all of us until there is not one dry eye in the room, amazingly good, fun, intelligent and genuine people who I am very happy to say I consider my friends 🙂  Games that include 10 push-ups for saying the word M.I.N.E, a triangle of death that gets put over drinks that then have to be downed and a few other games have thrived within our community and I have thoroughly enjoyed every single moment of our training.

Now unfortunately I cannot go into too much detail about my jobs ins and outs as I do deal with hundreds of personal details of people from around the country every single day, hence I cannot say what systems we use, how it works, what security there is etc etc so apart from being vague I can tell you that if you ring up to purchase something from Littlewoods, Isme, Very or K&Co you now have the chance to talk to me 🙂 Also my job title is Personal Shopper, hehehe love it when companies beef up your title to make it sound far more important and high up 🙂

Anyway how am I feeling about this new fork in my life? Well for one thing I know how I feel about people asking themselves questions and then answering them, bloody hate it and can’t believe I just did it! Idiot Phill!  So no, I digress, I feel nervous as one might expect but also so looking forward to the change. I am not sure anyone here will know what it is like to be a prisoner in your own life, to be constantly reminded that you are accomplishing nothing in your life everyday, every time you open the fridge and there is no food, every time you read on FB or Twitter how that dinner out last Thursday that you were not invited to was awesome, how great that film was, while you sit in an empty house literally talking to yourself, laughing at your own jokes and telling yourself off whenever you feel a little down, well that is slowly coming to an end. In six days time I get my first pay check and admittedly I have a lot of debt and backed up bills to cover from it but I will have a cash flow, a chance to socialise a chance to live again amongst the people of this world, a chance to finally start a fresh.

This feeling of liberation is so overwhelming that I find myself taking a step back and pinching myself to make sure I am not having a horribly twisted and cruel dream. To most a pop down to the local restaurant or cinema is nothing, something you do on a whim, not I, for the last 19 months I have been NO WHERE at all and so from that I hope you can glean just a slight glimpse of how important this new job and this new life is to me. I run at this job with open arms, a smile on my face and beside me are these fantastic new friends I have made along my journey.   Thanks go out to everyone that didn’t give up, everyone that is still around me to this day Cheers guys couldn’t do it without ya all 🙂

As a side note thank you to my good friend Franki who helped out with a little money so I can continue to eat this week until payday 🙂 Comes to something when a relationship from the past comes and lends the helping hand to plug the gap the job centre leaves in its wake of  bureaucratic red tape bullshit!

Hey there everyone this is just a quick update for those of you that care what is going on in my tiny life at the moment 🙂

So as the title would suggest I think (fingers, toes, legs and everything else crossed) things are on the up. As previously mentioned in The Job Centre is a joke post I got some help with my CV and I dished it out to some businesses in my local town; week later and I get a call for an interview on the same day. I drop everything and make it to the coffee shop I am to be interviewed in, I’m looking dapper; clean-shaven, smartly dressed, perfect hair and a massive COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMEE OOOOOONNNN kinda attitude for success.

The interview lasted all but 20 minutes with the owner going into the kitchen to ask her daughter when a work trial could be organised, lo and behold the woman who now stood before me was once working in a bar that I used to manage, a mere 16-year-old when I last saw her, now a confident chef with a stake in the  successful coffee shop I was applying to work for. She knew my name, I hers and she remembered the time, over 12 years ago that I and the owners of the pub we used to work grabbed up all the lads and lasses one night and took them out on the town, got very drunk, had an awesome time and probably had a good old dance around too.  This memory had stayed with her as she explained to the owner (her mother) what a good time it was, after much laughing about the past I was offered the trail run for the next day, I shook both of their hands, thanked them for their time and started to walk out of the shop; just before I got to the doors I glanced back, red-faced from laughing so much as I saw both women also red-faced giving me a little friendly wave. “This could be what I’ve been looking for” I thought to myself, “This is fantastic!” as I almost skipped up the road home, remembering the night 12 years ago and laughing out loud and to myself, strangers walking past giving me rather confused looks as I failed to contain my feelings of well-being, elation, happiness, ecstasy, excitement, and joy, I was euphoric!

The next day, no sleep, too nervous, too hyped….. “What happens if I burn that, this, set the place on fire!”, Over 3 years of not working for another was not good for rest but I knew what I had to do. Scrub up, look nice and off I went. I arrived and was immediately started on learning the kitchen; within 15 minutes I was prepping, slicing, cooking and learning, I felt so alive, so right in the kitchen again. Slow to start and making sure I made no mistakes I gained more and more confidence and cooked and help cook the entire lunch section with my new boss. Plenty to still learn and realising I would require some knife time again I looked back on the afternoon with great love and respect. I was told that I was hard-working, good with food, didn’t have to be told twice to get things right and I was a quick learner, well at that point and right up until now I have had a massive smile on my face, I had forgotten how good it is to work with food, how great it is to accomplish working in a kitchen and on the basic level I had forgotten how good getting paid for some hard graft is! This might be it, this might be the time I finally get myself out of this rut, forget the Olympics, forget the landing on Mars this will be MY year if I pull this off.

There are two other people to go through and I do hope there is something wrong with both as this job would mean the world to me, lets just hope they burn everything lol.  I will find out about the job this Monday so if my next blog post is just some kind of text shouting with swearwords mixed in that you read and get a sense that I am happy then I got the job.

Also in my personal news – I am now happy to announce that I am paying child maintenance for my son Seth. Why is this such a good thing? you ask well it is another step forward in the ongoing fight to see my son. On October the 3rd my Ex and I with our legal teams will be back in court and on top of doing everything correct and above board, finding a place to live, sorting out debt, (hopefully) having a job I can now add that I pay CSA on time and the correct amount each and every month. The things in my favour now must be close to the top of where I can get them however I will strive to pile it higher until I can physically do no more.

So that was a little snap shot of what is going on with me right now. So I leave you now with the knowledge that I can only see a slit of the screen as I am grinning far too much to use the computer properly (My excuse if there are spelling mistakes lol)

Hello one and all to another instalment of my blog. Today I bring you a little closer to the absurd way the unemployed are treated in this country and how little seems to have been done to solve the problems of this country.

I am unemployed and have been since March 2011. Now I have had to wait over a year and a half to be put on a course to help me find a job! I am willing to work, actively look for work and am now in a situation where I simply must work or I will physically wither and die. I have one major problem however, I don’t pass a police check or a credit check and it seems to be the norm for employers to do these days. I presume that employers have so many job applications that looking through every single CV is simply something they don’t have time, or inclination to do, what better way then to do a quick check on anyone that passes the ‘CV in bin process’ than a quick efficient police check.

So getting back to the problems in the system as I see them, I have had no help to deal with this, no one seems to be able to give me a sensible answer, and in some cases unable to give an answer at all, simply avoiding the situation completely or simply ignoring my pleas for assistance, for help. No courses have been offered to me, no help with a CV from a professional, no advice from anyone in the know yet I spend hours of my life in the job centre in signing on meetings and reviews where nothing is done to help. People sitting behind a desk asking you if you have applied for jobs and telling you to send in a CV don’t help that much!

As a matter of fact I have been doing a little experiment of my own with the job centre to find out how much they actually look into an Individual case. I first started by sending in a word document which contained only the words, “This is not my CV, this is to prove you don’t even look at these at all” .The point was made two weeks later when they asked if I had sent in my CV to which I replied “Yes”, the lady then proceeded to look up my file, look at the document file named {NI Number} Phill’s CV and then thank me for being so prompt in sending it in! Later the same day I sent in my proper CV and asked them to delete my previous one, its true purpose still a mystery to them!

Another case of how much it really does not seem to matter what you do with regards to signing on and job searching is the daily log book that you’re obliged to fill in. The sections are titled, What I did, date, What Happened, What I will do Next, Date. Now on every third “What Will I do Next” section of this book I wrote a section of a story, so for example part one would be, “Went to the park”, three down from that, “Found a tree and build a swing” so on and so forth, this was met with no reaction from the staff, so I though that maybe it was not bold enough or simply lost in the wall of text that the book changes into. I then decided to make the writing silly and childish to see if they were actually reading it, “Blow up”, “Kick a baby”, “Prey to the god of money” and “Burst into flames” were just some of the comments I put down, alas not one was read, not one was commented on and in many cases signatures of the job centre workers can be seen next to such comments proving that they neither read nor care about reading this book, the very book that has been put into place to ensure you’re looking for work! The whole system is pathetic?

Now rather than just moan about this and leave it as that, I would like to suggest things for change, simple things that would not cost the tax payer anymore than is spent now but would at least ensure that more people were helped back to work more than they are now.

1) The first time you go to sign on you have to have a CV, either written on paper or on a USB stick. the CV would be legally required before you could receive money. This would help weed out those who simply go along for the ride.

2) Now as mentioned above you have to have a meeting before you can sign on, this usually lasts upwards of an hour. Now why not use this hour to take said CV’s with a person in the know and go through it with them, sort out the errors, correct spelling, grammar, punctuation, placement and more. I have only just got this help today and my CV needed some serious tweaks, something that could of been sorted out 1.5 years ago!

3) Action plans for people. These action plans would be linked into your Job centre claim, so for instance you would be given two weeks to change your CV as directed by the professional. If you make no attempt to do it you loose money from your benefit. Continue this action plan for things that can be proved easily by a person on benefit and not just made up in a book that is not read

4) Get us lot out to work. While people like me are on Job seekers Allowance have us cleaning up parks of rubbish, going around with lawn mowers, helping in a charity shops, washing windows of council owned property, the list goes on and on, just something! We would not be taking the jobs of others away, we would be filling the gap where more people are needed for these things but councils lack the funds to hire more people. Work for your benefit. Everyone has to do say 2 days a week, again if they make no effort at all they are docked money.

These are just a few ideas going on in my head, simple, easy to apply steps that could potentially save this country millions each year, get people on benefits contributing back into the community, get them out of the house and doing something, it will weed out the looking from the cant be arsed in weeks! If you’re abled bodied and looking for work then you should be on the course. Reports could be written on behaviour and reliability etc from the courses which could then help with job finding as well.

Anyway it is getting a little loud in this pub, I’ve finished my coffee and sadly it is now filling up, sadly it is filling with unemployed people that have seemingly milked the system so much all they have left to do with their day is drink it away!

This is Phill, using his last pound to buy a coffee signing off………..

I best start this the correct way and tell you how many months ago a horrible, vile woman that has no interest in helping any genuine job seekers passed me a piece of paper, on this paper was a date and time for almost 2 months in the future, a time and date for an 8 hours course on helping to find a job.  Fast-forward to the night of the 28th June 2012 and I am trying to get some sleep, sleep after a little gaming session with my landlord whose job is so mind numbingly easy but also boring he can afford the time to play the real time strategy game , Command and Conquer 3 Kanes Wrath with me over the internet.  So there I am, mind racing and it is apparent that my body is not going to let me sleep, one of those nights you just know the birds will be tweeting before your eyes shut for a sleep, well this point was reached at around 5am for around 30 mins until my body woke me up, startled and confused I wondered if the dream I had had of needed to be somewhere was real or not. Reaching over to my desk I pull a pile of un-organised papers onto my bed, put on my glasses and start to sift through them, now the letter is hidden from view from months of solicitors letters but I find it! That god forsaken letter, the one the daemon woman had given me little under 2 months previous, the letter that would start one of the most pointless and cruel days of my life, or so I thought!

In little over 2 hours I would have to be up, so head down and I finally drift off…..

Almost as quickly as I manage to sleep I hear my alarm, an alarm deliberately over the other side of the room as I have literally 40 mins to get up, showered, dressed and down into town to the Local Y.M.C.A. Already my body does not like the idea of this, my grumbling and moaning stomach writhes in pain as my Dyspepsia churns up acid into my throat and makes me feel a sense of doubt I will be able to make it to the bathroom to wretch, let alone make the trip to an 8 hour course on job hunting, alas I know I have to go, no matter of vomit or discomfort will stop me from attending what is a compulsory job centre course, and anyhow I don’t trust those people to not stop my dribble of money if I don’t attend, I feel that, short of a knife in my head I would be punished by them, so go I must.  Head up, deep breaths and a very slow piece of toast letter and I am ready to go.

Walking out of the house it starts to rain, “Perfect” I giggle to myself as I start the trek down to the Y.M.C.A, 20 mins later and soaked from belt line down I arrive at the dilapidated buildings of the YMCA, I walk inside, I am immediately greeted by an old man who is very friendly and informative and sends me on my way to the room I will be imprisoned in for the next 8 hours.  I walk in, there are 7 people, 1 girl the rest males from the ages of around 60 down to 19. As I walk closer into the room I utter a small “Hey” and a few zombie like eyes look up at me as if I am the newest meat, this along with the 60-year-old man who is the furthest away from me pressing one finger against one nostril and blowing out what can only be described as putrid green ooze, wiping it off his hand and as secretly as he can, rubbing it on the underside of the table in front of him. This makes my stomach churn once again , taking a deep breath and composing myself I take note to touch the tables and chairs as little as possible as I sit down.

Some 20 minutes of complete silence later in walks in a small dwarf like woman, mid forties with a smile across her face, name of Angela,  instantly I think of her speal in my head, “Well you don’t want to be here and neither do I, so let’s try and make this as quick as possible! I would rather be home in bed too” she says almost in unison to my thinking it, “Is that the only way these people think they can relate to us?” I wonder to myself.  Stood over her is another woman who is quickly introduced as Margret, Angela’s boss and evidently a strict woman who deserves the trust and respect of all in the room, “Fat chance” I think as I look around at the half zombiefied creatures around the table who don’t even show signs of acknowledging anyone has entered the room, let alone addressed them already!

So around an hour goes by of paperwork, write your name, date of birth, address etc etc on every page, as if the person who eventually has this will have the memory of a goldfish! After around another 10 or so minutes of signing paperwork and finalising everything we are told to had over the paperwork to Margret who then does an about turn, nods at Angela and marches out of the building, into a car and drives off. To my astonishment none of the others have seemed to notice this, however their smirks hide a bigger secret, the secret of just how much Angela could not give a damn, first things we are told is to get a coffee or tea, second a bean bag and third to just have a good old moan!  “WTF is going on” I am thinking to myself, is Angela just so sick and tired of this rubbish she has decided not to bother teaching us anything or does she deem her knowledge parting skills would be lost on us, the jobless, the dregs of society, no, none of these things, the truth would make me smile, would make my day and would confirm that somewhere, something or someone must be dishing out luck now and again!

We are here to take part in a survey for the government to find help find out what it is WE believe the Job centre, and to a lesser degree the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) is failing us at, well suffice to say that after that there was a light in the room, the zombie like creatures around me sprang into life and I found out they had names and friends, ambitions, hopes and fears. There were rants, anger, sorrow, sadness and some utter bull but it was a good day, a day to finally get our point across and to finally tell those bureaucratic fat bastards that look at us as scum that just because one does not have a job, does not mean we don’t put every waking moment into trying to make our situation right, that we are not all lazy layabouts with no future and that we are proud citizens of this country and all we want to do is to put back into the state, not take.

Ow how such a miserable day in the rain and with my illness never abating could change into such a glorious 8 hours of letting off steam. Now will they take notice? Will things change? Only time will tell, but I for one was just happy I was actually asked.