Week Of Action Against Workfare Begins: Please Spread The Word!

the void

boycott-workfare-week-of-action Join the online action today against workfare exploiters @SUBWAYUKIreland in solidarity with #fastfoodrights. Tell them what you think on facebook , or for more info go to: http://www.boycottworkfare.org/?p=3436

The Week of Action Against Workfare begins today with actions across the UK and online scheduled over the next seven days.

The week has been called in response to mass unpaid work schemes such as Traineeships and comes in the month that Community Work Placements are set to be launched.  These mandatory placements will mean unemployed people forced to work in at charities and in so-called community organisations for a period of six months.

In a huge embarrassment for Iain Duncan Smith, workfare’s biggest supporters The Salvation Army have already announced that this scheme is too exploitative even for them to stomach.  The charity had been invited by the DWP to bid for a lucrative sub-contract to administer the placements.  Other…

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Why does it always rain on me?

So.. it’s Thursday and been to doctors for yet blood test for fibromyalgia. I’m struggling typing this…

Needless to say therefore I’m not at the two week job the two agents from Reeds emailed about, nor am I celebrating getting the £21k pro rata permanent 20 hours per week role within ten minutes walk of the house and staff tai chi lessons on wellness wednesday.

No idea what was wrong with my CV re Reeds, probably lack of car when they offer free car parking is usually a clue public transport wasn’t an option. The money would have been welcome to fund new office clothes and travel to the dead end job at the bank.

I was offered to opportunity of feedback at the interview for the job yesterday, luckily I missed them calling me to give me the bad news in person. Why would I want feedback, I didn’t get the job.
My self esteem is so low at the moment I couldn’t cope with calling, to find out.. what exactly – internal candidate got it, I came close, some other candidate more closely matched their criteria? Maybe I shouldn’t have put depression in the equal ops box, but I would have been the candidate who would most benefit from this job, screw what experience anybody else had.
SO I can kiss goodbye getting seriously into CRM. Another door closed or slammed. Round and round I go, drowning in a pool of past experiences I can’t escape or develop< I'll always be the trainee Archivist who things didn't work out for (ie no ££ for a Masters Degree), or the failed scientist (no one outside of that employer wanted my skills).

What I also didn't say dear listener was that on the way to the interview, I was stopped by the postie to sign for a letter. My ex-husband had got someone to address the envelope for him, to hide his distinctive and illegible handwriting. It was a nasty, poisonous,cowardly letter of blackmail, based on misinformation.
It was a total body blow to someone on the way to a job interview.
So I had that going through my head as I was sat in front of a panel of three yesterday. Nice.

How can I not get out of negative thinking when after six months of trying I didn't get the job I wanted?
I try – I fail, I try again -I fail. Repeat ad nauseum.
SO, clearly their must therefore be something wrong with me.
THe CV of my not perfect life, is getting some response, but when I show up in person….
I dress correctly , mind my P’s and Q’s, I even entertain the panel with my enthusiasm…. but it’s not enough.
I was told after the Archives job, that I wasn’t the best candidate, but I was the most personable….yeah, that put me in my place …to someone who answers the councils FOI enquiries with Cut + Paste answers from the FOI itself and though you needed an FOI request for a burial record..duh!

So last night i was in total turmoil. I didn’t know if to scream, cry or kill myself… Somehow I managed to calm myself down playing a game on my mobile phone.
No real friends to call on, like the ones in the ones in the ads on the TV or you read about in books or magazines…
That spineless, financial parasite of an ex-husband was after his share of my house that the court had given to him, after he decided the grass was greener elsewhere. THe definition of husbandry is to look after – not sadly something he ever did and pissed off when the in sickness or for poorer part of the marriage vows seemed to have been conveniently forgotten. The true monster that I married unfortunately isn’t a pretty sight

Least my fate re job was decided, the you- can- do -better- for -your- self- than -this- job, the job that you NEED, rather than the role that you can can excel in, flourish spiritually and do to the best of your ability because its a passion not a chore.
I just need a start date and keep my head down, in case I find out along the line that I’ve made a horrible mistake by taking the job, but sadly its the only job on the table.

I wanna be an archivist…

So… only managed to apply for ONE job in the last two days. I didn’t hit my job application target last time I was at the jobby centre either – but the advisor (a different one – not the usual misery chops) was so pleased I’d be leaving he didn’t want to see my job search and wished me a happy weekend. However, I’m not being caught out as others have by stopping applying for work – just in case my dream job is out there…

Given the only job I feel I’m naturally good at is archiving/library work, not exactly chuffed to hear on news one of the Chester Councils was axing a load of Library posts. Clearly a volunteer can step in for a Librarian with a Masters Degree (… in some cases you can!!)

At one time there was a ‘skill shortage’ of archivists, now there are more people than jobs in Archives – and the jobs mostly happen to be in London (no surprise there) and the only people who benefit are the Universities who run the courses – got a spare £5k from Mater and Pater? **rattles can**

I know of one Chartered Librarian who swapped to doing a Masters in Archiving as she couldn’t get a library job as she’d ‘no customer experience’ – despite her volunteering in a charity shop for over a year. Clearly she had the ‘wrong type of experience’.. or her employer was an arse.
I went the other way and tried to move from archives to libraries -I’ve had several interviews myself for library posts, but my face doesn’t seem to fit or I felt was making up numbers as the jobs were ‘a done deal’. Maybe with the rounds of cuts maybe ability will be a factor over who their friends are and the dead wood can finally go?
The Archivist I worked with used to play ‘spot the archivist’ on the way to some over-priced conference he was forced to attend. As he said – I’ve never seen so much man made fibre in one room before. Ha, you only have to read some of the posts on Archive forums to wonder why some people give archiving a bad name – they’re the ones’ the boss keeps from the general public,preferably in a darkened locked room – not those nice ones you see on the Family History TV programs…

I’m noticing a trend in people with transferable skills being ignored for those who already were doing the job in question. Employers refuse to train up staff, giving them the skills their staff require, in favour of someone coming pre-packed with all the skills and no training/investment required. In the end employers will be fishing from an ever decreasing pool of people, as they’re so short sighted. They (employers) also forget that people don’t live their lives to some preconceived ideal template of an employee.

Locally how can I even break into an entry level law job if I don’t have experience of the world of ambulance chasing? or get into logistics or FM as these jobs (if they exist) seem to be doing the rounds.

race to the bottom..knowing your place

So.. still being forced to apply for jobs whilst I wait for some overpaid project manager to set up the site so I can start my new role on a pay scale that bounces around the personal tax allowance.

I put in an application at M&S Simply food at Lime street Station, as I’ll be passing through, why not hope for a few extra hours. YOu weren’t even directly employed by M&S which surprised me some what.

On line application was very straightforward, not happy about the email link- to confirm your account set up- I had to click on that set off alarms from my anti virus software, so I deleted that pronto.
Next thing was an online test of ranking ‘behaviours’. Basically as long as you remember to not leave the till and disturb the precious manager in their office, then you’ll pass, as I did.

Despite passing the test, I was informed that other people matched the criteria more strongly than I did.
What a F@cking slap in the face!
What is this? A race to the bottom to earn National Minimum Wage (£6:31/hr)?
Just how stupid do to you have to be to unload sandwiches into a fridge?

I’m too accommodating..

So.. I get this email from Reed.

There was a temporary two week job going, paying the princely sum of £7.00/hr.
I need the money to support me through the first month of my new job.
I’m not entirely sure where abouts in this town the role is at – that awkwardly accessible industrial estate/ or UniLever (please!!please!!) and I’d have to cancel my blood test and have the hassle of signing on/off the dole and miss the charming company of my personal advisor – blurrrr!

Dutifully I replied to her e-mail with CV attached as requested (the dumbed down one without mention of the art degree)…and bigged up my MS-Office skills, not sure how advanced they needed to be (I’ve never used pivot tables outside doing the ECDL).

Four hours later….. not a follow up…not a peep.

Looks like I had my hopes raised and dashed-again.. or some other bastard more closely matched the employers criteria – my least favourite phrase of being unemployed.

Reflection on past interviews…

So…some employers should come with a health warning.

As for Some of my ex-employers, I wouldn’t give them a reference for the way I’ve been treated – I was fired for asking for a wage slip by one such schuzzball. It was probably illegal what he did, but who was going to fight my corner? oh, the last wage cheque I got bounced and I had to take him to a tribunal – breach of contract.

One interview-I forget where – I was sat their innocent as a lamb and I had some hysterical woman screaming at me that I’d leave as soon as I got the job and go somewhere better…. I’m thinking thanks for the heads up that your company is so cr*p luv, but wondered if I was a ‘perceived threat’ to her (I mean I’m not even a blue chip/ straight A person, my highest grade was a B in O level Biology), or she was just ‘unstable’.

Another surreal experience at another place in Liverpool, I think they had something to do with NVQ accreditation, I was firmly shown by some woman that she was in charge and let me in on the in-joke of how she micro managed her boss. I didn’t feel comfortable living out somebody elses psychosis and thankfully never heard from them.

Eleven years down the line I’m still wondering who I’m supposed to have known at one company, a firm that produced software for housing associations. I was basically told I was a liar, some woman (no name given) claimed to ‘KNOW ME’. There’s ‘knowing someone’ or just recognising someone in another context. I was the only girl on my HNC Computing course in 2001/3, so I did stick out. I only engaged with the guys in my project group and was on good terms with everyone, but especially Colin and Simon.I never knew anyone in the year above, nor the year below. So who this mystery woman was still leaves me wondering why I was such a threat to her and also why her idiot employers would believe her over me -I hope they’ve gone bust. There was some fruit loop the lecturer once mentioned, who blamed HIM for her poor grades, maybe it was her and she was frightened I’d show her up?

Rudest Interview was at an umbrella social enterprise that produced a directory of charities. The ignorant man started yawning whilst I was answering his colleagues questions. The joke is some employers want people with ‘soft skills’ and I end up the wrong end of that jerk.

Rude and Surreal Interview at the HSE in Bootle and the socially inept ‘Dave’ and his bad cop female colleague – what a pair. I was sat shivering downstairs (literally my teeth were chattering) when some male pattern bald bloke MUMBLED?grunted something at me. A translation was-and I can only guess -“Hello, I’m Dave, could you follow me,please”.Least if he had any social skills it should have been. The rest of the interview was in a pokey room with this aggressive woman and Dave showing his sweaty armpits at me. I was totally disgusted by the way I was treated by this pair, not sure if I complained, but of course I was in the wrong for doing so,and their employers defended them. Speaks volumes doesn’t it? Would you want to work there?

It’s heart breaking applying for jobs, but when you get an interview and you experience the above, it shatters your confidence.


So.. Sunday was a write off.
Sunny outside, so thoughts turned to all the place I couldn’t afford to go to. Reality sucks.
So I decided to stay in bed with a book as it was too cold to sit in the back bedroom. May as well keep warm.
By god I was in pain. My upper body ached, for a while I felt a bit weak down my left hand side – even moving the duvet hurt. As for my shoulder, neck and lower back -the agony. I don’t like taking painkillers – took a few too many once, but that’s another story.
I’d turned the mattress over, changed the sheets, smoothed out the mattress protector, the pillows are those supposedly memory foam type. Still doesn’t help put head in position where sinuses are kept clear. I probably need a new mattress as its about 16 years old. An expense I don’t need right now.
I’ve noticed for a while that my upper body strength was getting weaker, bending down hurts- tying my shoelaces is a nightmare, as for putting my socks on- I dread it. As for kneeling – can’t do it, and start panicking if can’t get up. Pressure on my chest if I bend down, also sends me into a panic.
I’m assuming all this is a reaction to STRESS. The job hasn’t started, indeed they phoned today to say they didn’t know a start date. As long as I get out of workfare, that’s all that matters in my goldfish bowl world at the moment.
Least I haven’t broken out in cold sores, yet, that was a recent stress reaction that started up after that useless shit I married buggered off. I large stye burst in my eye yesterday, so that shows I’m run down. Also been getting spots and cysts in my scalp, which is getting me down.
My skin isn’t great either.I’m forcing myself to drink water,not something I’m a fan of because I hate going to the loo so often, too often. I hope my kidneys aren’t packing up. Booked in for another blood test next week.