I have been job hunting for some months now, too many months, actually. I have come up against so many flaws in the benefits system, most noteably the fact that you do not get to keep any money you make working part time, it gets taken out of your benefits, so what are the (slightly lazier or unskilled or younger) people going to do – work for free 16 hours a week or not work at all and get the same money? And secondly the fact that volunteering and work experience is frowned upon unless they organise it for you: The problem with that being that the work experience (2 weeks) I wanted to do was with an Archaeology magazine (my ideal job) and they said I would lose my benefits because of it – and the work experience they said I could do and NOT have my benefits stopped was working in a shop (a job I have already had in the past, and did not ever expect to go back to, especially in an unpaid capacity). What useful experience will I gain working the shop floor YET AGAIN – none. What experience/contacts/useful skills would I have acquired writing articles and editing for an Archaeology magazine – too many to mention.
Add that to the humiliation of being rejected for 1000+ jobs and being told I don’t have the ‘skills required’ for the simplest of Admin jobs and I have just about had enough.
I have fought off depression, stopping myself from going down the same route I did in my last (much shorter) bout of unemployment a year or so ago, by not taking everything so personally.
However I have kind of had enough of the job centre. I have had enough of people looking at me like I don’t want to work then asking why I’m applying for jobs that “aren’t in my agreement”- what, I’m supposed to ONLY apply for admin and secretarial work? I can’t apply for Commis Chef and bar work because it’s not on the bit of paper even though I have 3 years experience?
I have also had enough of sitting next to men who stink so much of alcohol you get drunk just being near them, and people that come in with the minimum 3 job applications a week.
So – I have decided to take an oppurtunity that is now open to me – the Prince’s Trust. I am going – SELF EMPLOYED!!!! At least that’s the theory anyway.
Knowing my luck they will tell me my business idea isn’t viable and I’ll be back where I was before. BUT! I will be optimistic, I will tell the job centre lady at my extra appointment today (in which she will tell me for the 16th time I can look for jobs on the job centre website with the special codes they give you) that soon I will be signing off, I will be my own boss!
I will only have to worry about myself screwing up my finances, instead of them doing it for me! (Did I mention that they stopped my benefits for a whole month because they thought my boyfriend was getting working tax credits – not only is he not old enough he is a full time student – they then tried to tell me I had applied for them and that was why it happened, when I didn’t even know what they were – and we ended up being one day from having gas and electricity cut off). oh, and our housing benefit doesn’t cover the last 1/4 of our rent because we don’t live in a council house, that comes out the job seekers, what we’re supposed to get for food and bills.
I will also tell her that whilst I am self employed, I will volunteer more than 8 hours a week – I am not allowed any more than that at the moment, because although I would be volunteering in a role that will help me get into the Culture and Heritage sector it “affects the time I spend looking for work”.
I’m guessing you’re sensing a little aggravation – not much, I mean y’know, just a little bit.
Well, all I am going to do now is hope that my business idea IS viable, and that they CAN help me with my Business Model, and then I can work hard and have goals and feel like I’ve acheived something (which hopefully I will), rather than being treated like a dope smoking chav who is only fit for working in McDonalds or on a checkout. Been there done that – I’m 23 now, I need a real job! I need a sense of self worth instead of a crushing sense of disappointment.
Wish me luck, and Good Luck to anyone else embarking on the same path! 🙂
Soon I will be Self-employed, or as my dad reminded me Del-boy says – self-UNemployed…