Paved with good intentions

I was hoping to deliver some leaflets today for a group trying to improve the lot for the ungrateful in Birkenhead,but once again depression beat me (and the weather). I volunteer as a challenge to actually get out of my front door. Silly as it may sound, the effort to actually get out there is a major mile stone. I feel great when I’ve done it and it only takes about an hour and a half to do my round.

But on another level I don’t want to meet my neighbours. Maybe I don’t want confrontation, but having examined my beliefs of this, or the year I’ve done this, I haven’t had anything serious.
I can’t relate to the people around here, foul-mouthed, dysfunctional people who delight in kicking doors in in the early hours after a few bevvys.
The worse place is a block of social housing the back of the railway station. I’ve had some snotty,dead eyed child rip up one of the leaflets up in front of me (probably to get a reaction), but I naturally dismiss anyone who doesn’t pay tax aged under 21 anyway. I had some ‘oik’ fly out of his hovel,with such violence and made a big show of putting the leaflet into his grey bin (recycling),so I suppose that was the only good thing that came of it he wasn’t colour blind, but I made a silent prayer he’d be hit with the bedroom tax. He was probably was a closet Tory, given the string vest he was wearing.
The fug and smell of cigarette smoke emanating from these places turn my stomach. TVs usually blaring away. You just half expect a Vicky Pollard type character to swear at you through the window. It’s like ‘Benefit’s Street’ but in a maisonette complex.
It just hardens my resolve that I don’t want to slip down to this level. It’s bad enough hanging on by my fingernails to what I’ve got a present – which isn’t much by most people’s standards.A twenty first century mememto mori.
I had to take the dog to the vets but was forced to wait outside as my Jack Russell took exception to a dog bigger than him. Whilst I was waiting stood sheltering under my golf brolly, I was ‘buzzed’ by some- lights- on- no- one’s -home male sprog on a bike – no idea why anyone with half a brain cell would do that to another human or dog (I hope when I enter my 60’s Tasers are made legal).If he had had hurt the dog he would be wearing his bike frame tolerance to this fly on the cowpat of life is wearing thin as he rode up and down on the pavement past me.

Currently sat in my unheated living room waiting for a change in the weather. Maybe I’ll try again on Monday, fewer people about.


Stick your non job where the sun don’t shine

So… the T&C for the new chefs job turn up today.
They only gave me a ‘relief’ job – I didn’t apply for a relief commis chef job, I applied for,(and was under the impression it was), a full-time role, and I NEEDED a minimum of 30 hours per week.
To add insult to injury it was only ZERO HOUR CONTRACT.

You can, to a degree, put up with a civil servant ranting at you in a jobcentre, but an employer, that’s a whole different ball of wax.
My contributions based JSA guarantees £71/week coming in, and you know where you stand. Having NO HOURS,NO MONEY coming in, that’s not a job.

Bizarrely, it’s a first for me, the T&C had a whole paragraph about ‘bribery and corruption’. Like WTF are you dealing with here? Every other paragraph ‘the company’ reserves the right to change its mind -hours/pay-and there a one weeks notice. oh,the meal on duty promised after working after 5 hours – was also subject to availability. Hardly offsets the cost of travel to work.
Not much in the way of job security is there? So can you work when you feel you’re on eggshells? All I see is stress.
Basically the way the T&C are written, you wouldn’t work for them,if they were the last company on earth -you don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling off of them.
A bit of research shows they’re not great to work for – rate of 2 out of five from through the glass door website (only two reviews) – poor management and lack of communication – bit of a killer combination in any organisation.

Good job!

So, my fortnight/weekly erratic trip to the jobcentre and I was quizzed on how the Jobs fair had gone. Fine for someone half my age I said….and promptly had my view it was a waste of time verified …Yes she cooed, youth unemployment is a major problem – it was a major problem when I was a ‘yooth’ in 1984 too…I had Norman Tebbit’s dad getting on his bike to get a job – oh, the Tories were in power then – No change there! I was then ‘filled in’ on how good the fair was – for other people – not of my age or circumstances, may I add. (Did I go to a jobs fair in a parallel universe?) Clearly I was in the wrong and my opinion of little consequence. Oh how I love being bullied when I go to the jobcentre.

The job I’m going for next week was dismissed out of hand, assuming I’d ‘just’ be working in the evenings – which shows ignorance of the catering industry. Given I was supposed to be doing eight-hour shifts, they’re not to be dismissed so lightly.

I was then effectively forced to apply for a job that I wasn’t interested in as 1) only 21 hours/week as and when needed, so not enough hours for working tax credits and paid £645/month 2) no career progression-pushing bits of paper about /minutes/phone call 4) ‘dodgy’ area of Birkenhead – even dogs go around in pairs.
Thanks to Mr Iain Duncan Smith computer system, her computer had frozen and the job wasn’t forwarded to me, by the 2pm deadline to apply by. Still, knowing I’d be sanctioned if I didn’t apply, I had the rest of the morning ruined, waiting for said form.

Still waiting for a simple read receipt from the email application I sent yesterday for a trainee Dental Nurse job. What can you do with these so-called employers? If they can’t be arsed replying, it’s usually an indication as how you’d get treated as an employee – without any respect.

A question of timing and a degree of discrimination

So… not got used to this word press thang yet. Here’s a post from January 23rd

Got an email around 10:30 PM last night asking me if I could go to an interview on Friday…. to possibly start on Monday.

Firstly, It’s an interview, not a guaranteed job and I can’t piss the job centre off by not turning up at my allotted time on Friday, as it so happened. My contributions based JSA in guaranteed, the job ain’t.   Signing on on Friday means that I don’t get any money until the following Wednesday, as I was told, with a hint of glee at the DWP, that’s what they do with new claimants now. I’d like to point out again that The money I get, is only that, that I’ve paid into the system whilst I was working.


 I lost track of time once at the jobcentre and turned up an hour too early for my appointment ( they get you in such a stressed state that you have to experience it yourself to believe it), they’d let me sign on, providing I signed a bit of paper saying that I’d signed on at the wrong time; two signings on at the wrong time would mean a sanction -Turkey’s don’t vote for Christmas, so I went home, had a cry and came back an hour later. 

 I always proceed with caution when being asked out of my comfort zone, based on years of experience and gut instinct  (all that glisters is not gold as Bill Shakespeare said in Twelfth Night). After some research through the masses of emails I’ve sent out –  the job in question was based in Warrington (oh shit, don’t want to travel that far). Fine there is a train there, but couldn’t find for love nor money on the old WWW how close the company was to the said station. I haven’t the funds for a months worth of train fares – Plus the job was temporary – the catering job wasn’t -I don’t want to be in this situation again three months down the line and losing the chance of the catering post. I need to tread carefully.  I couldn’t start next week because of the induction at the catering company, it may turn out well… or I may want to bale whilst I still can, and I wasn’t going to cancel a doctor’s appointment that the doctor had made for a blood test.

After doing a good application for another apprenticeship, I was turned down. Too old, I queried? They did reply- that they didn’t accept people with degrees. Can’t actually find that on their website -So, i miss out on a chance of a £220/week apprenticeship in social media because I have a degree??! ….A bit of paper saying that this person can study to level 6. Like WTF! 




Eating crumpets – not my words

Back home having melted cheese on crumpets, that I had in the house, than buy anything at the cafe at the Jobs Fair venue.

Getting up and making an effort to go to a freezing cold, wind chilled New Brighton was not highlight of my day. Didn’t know the area and this was only the second time in 14 years I’d been there by train.

The jobs fair was a waste of time for me – a graduate in their late forties.

Handed in my invitation letter from the jobcentre, so I wouldn’t get sanctioned – the bastards.I suspect my DWP advisor has never been to one of these events. Her words ringing in my ears to dress smartly as you’ll be meeting potential employers – no love, you were meeting the marketing department, big difference.

We can automatically and safely rule out the armed forces, or the NEET training providers for the 18-24s, because of my age.
I don’t have a drugs/alcohol problems preventing me working – just an addiction to chocolate.
I can’t afford to do/fund courses at the Local College on £71/wk- having a degree automatically goes against any funding (the things they don’t tell you before University).
I’ve already got an opportunity with another contract catering company so that was another two stalls to ignore.
I’d no intention of moving abroad either.
The Computer Software company stall was empty – maybe they’d given up too?
Aberdeen council were there promoting their lovely city with its very low unemployment statistics. The trade-off was a single bedroom flat would set you back £700/month – totally rules me out moving or going for a job that pays less than the national average (in my dreams).

Whilst I was there I handed my Cv to Unilever for a production operative post (whooptie-doo) and left my mobile number with RBS for some processing type job in Wavertree (no idea about transport there)….. I’d had no previous success with Unilever who only recruit via any agency – canteen, IT apprentice, etc and I’d stopped signing up for RBS alerts after my horrible time at another bank.

Rather than stand outside and weep, I bought a cream cake from Morrisons on the Sea /River front and a cheap pot plant, then went home via a second-hand book shop.

consider your self at home…..

December I went to an employability course – clearly I’ve turned ‘bad’ since I last worked. They meet and greet and tell you what they can do for you, photocopying,blah,blah.
Is it just me, but when you do follow things up, you get a bit of a cold shoulder. Do they mean these things are am I taking things literally?
I needed CVs printing for this farce of a job fair tomorrow -I’ll eat my words if anything comes of it.
So, I email the guy as to having the CVs and enclose a copy of it – so he could print it off and I just pop in and collect it…
So, he says to phone before I turn up – which I do. TUrns out that they hadn’t got a PC with a USB port,so I couldn’t print it myself via my pre virus scanned pendrive and he rattles on about printing from ‘my e-mail’ – which I assume he means a Hotmail account, which he assumes I have. It’s no skin off of his nose to print the Cv off, the email I sent last night is one his screen…but he was in the middle of helping someone else (I could see that!).
Got the CVs done, them and my snazzy new hair cut (not been to a hairdresser since May last year) hopefully will help out tomorrow. I hope my dream out is out there….

Milking the dole

I ran out of milk. The store cupboard yielded UHT Almond milk but it just didn’t hit the comfort spot in my new-found porridge routine. I’ve had it in the past in my endless cups of coffee, and its been okay. My coffee habit actually serves to keeps my hands warm and as a displacement activity to stop me feeling blue. (On an economic point of view got to offset cost electricity to heat water in kettle vs cost loo paper,bathroom light + wall heater,soap ad three minutes of my life I won’t get back as it invariably comes out the other end).
I managed to scrape the cost of 4 pints of milk from the corner shop from the silver coins in my piggy bank. I was mortified that it’d gone up to £1.65 – 10p more. Good job I’d taken some extra coinage and avoided the walk of shame home. The same volume of milk costs £1 from the supermarket (Nearest supermarket is 45 minutes round trip walk). It’s chuffing cold out there, my legs hurt and cuts into my job search time, so I was forced to pay it. Sixty five pence I can ill afford -(out of £71/week) but less than cost of driving there!(if i had a car), and when you’re on a limited budget you tend to notice and resent paying more for what most people take for granted.

I hate the throwaway comment that only ‘poor people’ use the bus. In my experience(and I avoid the bus at all cost stressful and panic attacks)-It is NOT cheap to use the bus.
In my last job, once a week I had to get the bus – it’d take 15 minutes by car – it costed me £4:00 for a Wirral return. This was cheaper than two singles and certain bus companies didn’t accept passes/return tickets,(thankfully two companies had the sense to work together). Still a long way off an integrated transport system despite it being the 21st century. Also had a 20+ minute wait per bus to get home as the services became more erratic. good job I had no evening classes to attend or even a social life!
By contrast a straightforward 25 min train journey cost £3:60 return.

oh, Despite, not exactly being offered the job, but a one-off 7 hour training session and a distant starting date in March, I’ve still got to apply for jobs. Failure to do so would breach my job search agreement, and I wouldn’t get my contributions based JSA. Yes,the DWP are preventing me claim back what I’ve paid into the system via tax and NI, for such crisis. Fair? Hardly. Being a non-person without a job isn’t fair either, they take away your voice too. Starve or be sanctioned.
So, I’m left half heartedly applying for jobs, still keeping an eye open -just in case my dream job turns up before March. The job I’m getting has no long-term prospects. Thankfully there’s a stakeholders pension (if the pot is not emptied by subsequent governments raiding it),even a meal is provided – but only after working 5 hours for it, and its relatively easy to get to and enough hours to claim WTC -if I can fill out the form.
I just hope the catering company don’t screw up how the bistro used to be – and loved for. The customers are educated people -self and formerly educated-within the arts/creative sector, plus the odd bod from the Uni with middle class aspirations ie it’s not a fried egg and chip brigade, which was the standard at the canteen they ran at my last job (I took my own sandwiches).

The dog for the second time has decided to sleep on a cushion on the table besides me, as I fill out my job applications. Bit of moral support greatly appreciated.