Category Archives: Work

The Dreaded Commute

Recently, I have been commuting. (Urgh).

It’s for an internship, which I am very happy to be doing, as it’s a mix of two of my 3 favourite things – writing and Archaeology. (The third is, obviously, cake). Yet I actually only spend 1 more hour in the office than I do on the train, and that’s only if there’s no delays, or we don’t make one of those amazing stops in the middle of no where (If any of you lovely readers are fans of Bill Bailey you’ll remember ‘For the Coulis, is it?’ For those of you who aren’t.. why not?! ;p)  There was actually one of those this morning, the train ticket-conductor-man did the following, quite frankly brilliant, announcement; “I have no idea why we’ve stopped, and the train driver doesn’t want to speak to me, so we’ll just have to wait until we start moving again.”
I’ve gotten quite good at getting a seat, it involves knowing exactly where the doors will open on each platform, and standing there with elbows out, ready to duck and dive my way through the other, less aggressive, passengers. I would prefer it if it were all a lovely, polite experience where the elderly and pregnant ladies were allowed on first, and the rest of us followed in a very British ‘No no, after you’ ‘No please I insist’ sort of way. Unfortunately however, if ever there was proof needed that chivalry is dead, it can be found on trains. Men (normally in an expensive suit, often with an open can) will literally punch a woman in the face to get to a seat first. Ok, maybe not literally, but you can tell they want to as they do literally shove them out the way.  They then proceed to studiously stare down at their Blackberry/Iphone/Ipad/Kindle/Tiny netbook/newspaper until it’s their stop, making sure they don’t catch the eye of any tired old ladies or women with heavy bags. 
The other thing I love about sitting next to strangers on the train, is when you’ve already squashed yourself up against the window, and the person (again, usually an older man, sorry to generalise but it’s true) who sits next to you STILL feels the need to lean back on your arm, and breath his coffee breath very deeply into your personal space. When I take an isle seat, I lean out into the isle a bit, so I do not lean on the other person – why do these men not know about this rule? Surely it is a rule?
I’ve found the best way to stop these particular sorts of passengers sitting next to you is by reading slightly odd sounding books. So far the most effective has been this which I actually started reading just because it’s really interesting, I recommend it as a first foray into the History of Medicine, although I found I knew a lot of the content already due to doing a course in the subject! I’m thinking this may also work in scaring people away, it’s on my ‘to buy’ list.
I’m going to stop now before I start on people who seem to think it’s ok to fart and listen to music on their mobiles, and REALLY start ranting. 😀
On the upside, I get to see lots of wildlife out the window, and the other day I saw the sun rise behind Amberley Castle, all covered in snow with a beautiful deep purply red sky, filling the carriage with a red glow.
 The sad thing was, not one other person in the carriage even looked up from their phones.
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Filed under jobs, Uncategorized, Work

Going self employed… EEK! Goodbye Job centre – HURRAH!

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…

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Filed under jobs, Life, self-employed, Uncategorized, Unemployemnt, Work