About The Invisible Woman

Invisible to society and benefits system. Divorced, single, no kids. Arts Graduate, Middle-aged,middle class, on JSA. My struggle to get a job in 2014, keep a roof over my head, save for a car and move away from a shitty area of the North West.

Happy 2015

So…. I haven’t posted for a while. It’s been a change in my circumstances, which I’m still processing. It’s like having a prison door being opened and being wary about venturing out side again.

On Monday 1st December 2014, I started a new temporary job.

On Friday 29th November 2014, I was offered a full time permanent role, at the same organization, but at a different site. I’m waiting for a start date, having to go through yet another THREE months of waiting for the same references, proofs of employment and blood tests.

I got my first pay packet in 15 months on 18th December 2014.

I’m by no means out of the woods.

I’m still having problems with a roof over my head. The ex and the judge screwed me out of £10k off the house price. The ex was hiding behind his solicitors skirts and couldn’t look me in the eye. He still isn’t communicating. Mind you neither is my conveyancer;  only the estate agents are gloating about the situation as the vultures of the buyers circle closer and closer. Ironically, the hours I work are causing problems even viewing suitable properties – out at 7 AM and back at 6PM, and in bed by 11PM to start the whole process again. (What I wouldn’t give to not home home and go out in the dark and NOT work in a room without windows).  Most of the robbin’ bastard agents don’t do weekend viewings and I don’t want to waste annual leave.

As for rental properties, there are some NASTY places out there.                                 Being surrounded by barbed wire isn’t a big turn on.

Anyway more about my adventures in the rental market in further posts.

Happy New Year to my readers and thank you for your support

Same old same old in a Kafkan reality

So.. I haven’t posted for a while, as there was nothing to report as it was the same old,same old…I applied for jobs and was ignored, or turned down out of hand or had an interview and was left hanging.

Last week things picked up. But it was just a blip on the radar.

I had an interview for a medical records clerk at a hospital that wasn’t the easiest in the world to get to. The next day I had an interview for a night replenishment assistant at a well known department store (that I don’t shop at). Later that same afternoon I sat a assessment for a manual note taker. The next week I had another interview as a scanning assistant.

I passed the note taking role, but they can’t guarantee any work, yet alone any hours. Great! you wonder why you bother getting out of bed some days.

Feedback from the retail role was excellent – great communication skills, great presentation, very good interaction with the group. Ideal for a sales role – However I didn’t get the job I’d applied for as due to the lack of ‘merchandising experience’.Oh and the manager also failed to fill out the feedback form properly.
I rather suspect the other person who didn’t get the role was also the wrong side of 40 and not a size 8….proving it however is another thing. Employer’s please note – Diversity doesn’t just apply to your ethnicity.

After a week I’m Still waiting for feedback from the scanning job, which was surprising, given they gave me a ‘courtesy’ call to check that I was going said interview, despite me confirming, by e-mail. The warm and fuzzy feeling towards them ended when in the interview they notified me that they had changed the hours of the job from 8 -6 (from 9 -5)- how nice of them! But as this kind of thing has happened before…I’m an old hand of this happening, so haven’t got paranoid …yet. The woman interviewer wasn’t clearly happy I’d had so many temporary jobs- why, It wasn’t her crumby life under the microscope here.

Last Monday, I got offered the job as medical records clerk, via the phone.
This Monday I was offered the post PROVISIONALLY, via e-mail.
Before you congratulate me on the job, which is only for 6 months, there was A PROBLEM.

One of my references only had a personal e-mail, and not a ‘company email’.
My reference is self-employed /freelance, and when I did talk to her, via her mobile phone, she was being interviewed for another job, at a different company. I explained this to the hospital and gave them the company’s contact details, what more could I do???
Sadly in ‘the world of personnel’, clearly this person’s email was a reflection on my ability to do the sodding job.

In addition I’ve also had to book a session, to show my ID documents – the same ones I also showed them and which they photocopied, at the interview. So another trip, another train journey and an hour of my life I won’t get back, plus a walk to the jobcentre to beg for the train fare to go.
Said documents are my passport (never been abroad) and my bank statements (for proof of address) – thankfully I’ve not gone paperless – docs printed off the Net weren’t accepted,nor anything over 3 months old.
Why is there is this overwhelming paranoia in this country that I might be some johnny foreigner, who has no right to work in the country that they were born in? And no, I haven’t piggy-backed under a lorry from Calais.

Still not out of the woods…. when I do start the job – if its not taken from me at the last moment (Remember those bastards at RBS in March?) – I’ll have to make this weeks dole last a staggering six weeks. Even Derren Brown can’t manage that. Direct debits can’t be met and The bank will be sending letters (and charging for them) when I breach my overdraft. On the brightside I get a months travel paid for. Sadly I won’t be able to afford to buy, let alone make sandwiches for work and will be no doubt requesting a trip to the food bank.
Do you question all of this for six months work??

Another Agency, another wasted effort.

So, I applied for a job a week Friday. The agency were interested in my CV, which I had re-vamped. However they wanted to see me. So I traipsed down at my own expense to make a 10:30 appointment. Nearly half an hour on the train and a very, hot sweaty 20 minutes walk, I arrived with 5 mins to spare. The role was as a receptionist at a local hospital for TWO WEEKS. For 36 hours and £8:01 per they could paint me purple and call me Al. However I was then expected to go to said Hospital either Thursday or Friday. Given its nearly 5Pm on Thursday, I somehow think I won’t be getting that bus to an interview in the next 24 hours.

A bird in the hand as they say. Good job therefore I accepted a place on a three week training course in Health and Social Care, starting this coming Monday. Off to the dole tomorrow for a travel pass, having had some passport type photos taken -I’m not photogenic and as usual my hair was all over the place, and skin red,shiney and blotchy, peering from under my fringe through my glasses. Who cares what I look like at the end of the day? Apart from someone who wants a ‘dolly bird’ on reception.

So I have to go on this course for a full three weeks…or else. You can’t fail the course – No exams, just assessments and the promise of a job interview.
I was very, very unsure of my fellows on the open days –really bad body odour from one blokes – though this other guy with no social skills whatsoever started spraying himself with some deodorant in class. To fit in with ‘the ladies’ I have to take up smoking and get myself a tattoo or two. I’ve got a fucking degree, so why am I here?

The guy running the course was a nurse and former residential care manager and still worked as a nurse in a brain injury unit. He was the most down to earth bloke you could wish to meet. He’d been there and got the tee-shirt with depression and had been unemployed in the 1980s. So I could relate to him-totally. At the end of the day care wasn’t just taking people to the loo, I could you this course as a springboard for occupational health. Earn and Learn for three years will do me, if possible. Helping people with their shopping /Cooking, or with horticulture certainly appeals to me. There’s no funding of a Masters in Art Therapy either. Six months experience under my belt and maybe other doors will start opening? Anything is better than a call centre, not that I can get a job doing that..and why would I if there was other choices?

Workfare Till You Drop – Esther McVey To Target Older Claimants

the void

WorkFare-not-workingWhat they say …

“It’s time to change the conversation about extending working life from one about working “until you drop”, to one about a fuller working life, that means working as long as is necessary to create the future you want.”

Esther McVey and Steve Webb, Fuller Working Lives Ministerial Statement

What they mean …

labour-market-exitFuller Working Lives, page 8

Unpaid work, cuts to disability benefits and mandated ‘work-related activity’ are set to be at the heart of the latest DWP strategy aimed at bullying older people off benefits

Last week the DWP published Fuller Working Lives, a ‘framework for action’ for older unemployed people and the rhetoric is depressingly familiar. Under the guise of help and support it will be business as usual as older claimants are left at the mercy of the grasping welfare-to-work industry.

The report notes that around a million people over 50 are out…

View original post 647 more words

Drowning , not waving….

So.. I didn’t get the job at the photo processors in Heswall. I did get a reply to my email asking for feedback, sent a week later. If i hadn’t have sent it, would I still be sat in limbo still now? Would i want to work for a company that did that?  Apparently I gave a good interview,it was nice meeting me,but I  didn’t get the job…… On the bright side no stressing about using a till (I’m all fingers and thumbs handling money) and I won’t have to put up with rude customers in the Birkenhead branch whilst training. I can only suppose it went to someone under the age of 21, as they’re about £40/week cheaper to employ. Don’t think I would have felt comfortable photographing some scally’s  babies anyway, and the photos would have reflected this, which isn’t fair on the paying customer. My ex-husband couldn’t take a photo of me for toffee, so clearly you need some emotional contact with your subject to take a good mug shot. I’ll stick to architecture and the cat / dog.

On the day I got a rejection, Friday 13th – I’m not reading anything into this – I also sold my guitar. It was a fine piece of wood with a lovely sound, alas, alack, despite lessons the instrument never came naturally to me and I admit defeat and I’ll never be Hank Marvin. The guitar sat in its case for the last 14 years, so time it found a new home. I got £60 for it (cost £139 in 1997). and a tenner for the electronic tuner (cost £20). I’d never been in a cash converter / cash generator place – the police looking over the stuff in the back of the shop made me feel even more ‘uncomfortable’, despite still having the original receipt. SO this is what you’re forced to do when yet another job rejection hits your inbox (letters are as rare as hens teeth).

When i got home I looked around as to what else I could sell, not that I have anything worth stealing. There’s the flute my late grandfather bought, my wedding ring (which I paid for myself),a unicycle, a spinning wheel and then start on the furniture…I mean You’ll never get back what you paid for them and everything has a story behind it, but sentiment won’t pay your credit card, used to pay your food bills over the last 2/3 years, waiting for a job lasting longer than three months.

I saw a money adviser at the jobcentre yesterday. My problem is the credit card with the PPI I can’t claim on. Anyway, glad of someone to talk to, I just explained what was happening in my world. Bottomline was that I was sign posted to a charity and the CAB. Didn’t really expect much else, but I need an ally to fight my corner to reduce the credit card interest/ payments until I’m back on my own two feet, the banks owed me that much.

Anyway the packing job came to nothing. The agency phoned my mobile yesterday, but failed to leave a message. I called them to find that there were no day shifts (8-3), only evening 5PM-1AM – the problem is a  single,  lone woman doesn’t want to be on her own at 1AM in Birkenhead North on an Industrial estate. I may as well have a sign on my back saying ‘VICTIM’. No trains, no bus, no car and only NMW to afford a taxi back for a four day a week job  and my personal safety, even the agency said it was best to leave it. I was cross to see the said day shift jobs advertised today on the Universal Job Match website. Maybe they’d run the advert before running out of the jobs – but they did had the option of withdrawing it. I don’t want to go down the it must be me / blame game route.

I reapplied for a job at one of the Universities, same role but part time hours. Didn’t get an interview last time.

I also applied again to the Housing Association for a temp admin role, hopefully on  the way to the interview (If I get one) I won’t get hijacked by a nasty letter from my ex demanding I sell the house for bobbin’s to a builder. He did send another nasty letter last week, I wasn’t up, to receive it from the postie, so it can sit unsigned for at the sorting office and he can stew in his nasty juice.

 

 

The silence of the employers

So.. I can only conclude that I didn’t get the job at the photo processing place.
Well it was a week since I was called to interview, and I’ve heard nothing.

I saw today that the original job application (CV plus covering letter) had been deleted without being read. So that means he didn’t want to keep my CV, hence my contact details in order to even say I’d been unsuccessful. Rich, isn’t it?

So as a potential employee you do your research, turn up all washed and neatly dressed, on time, smile, give a firm handshake and make a good account of yourself. You can’t do anything else more can you?
But What can you do about the internal candidate / friend of a friend / a manager’s personal preference for redheads/ the moon and stars in the wrong position….

Fingers crossed

So.. hell hasn’t frozen over and not heard anything from Royal Bank of Scotland. They certainly won’t be getting either my business or recommendations.
The woman from the doctor’s practise never did ‘let everyone know’, and I must conclude that her silence means that I didn’t get a second interview. Employers are concerned about communication skills from their employee, yet they don’t seem to have any themselves. If you get this badly treated, if you don’t get the job, I can imagine how bad that they are if you are unlucky to work for them!
Oh the agency I saw two weeks ago.. now not my new best friends- and I feel a nuisance phoning them for a start date for a minimum wage factory job or not that a brilliant transport route. I phoned them on Tuesday… they won’t know for another TWO WEEKS. Like WTF are you supposed to do without a wage for yet another two weeks.

Every employer I’ve come across in the last nine months have let me down.

As I slowly drown in depression and debt, I wonder what is wrong with people, that schlock horror I WANT TO WORK and being denied a basic human right!!

I went for another job interview this morning. The journey there was really good.
The interview, went well, until I was shot down in flames (we don’t talk about wages at interview) for asking what the hourly rate was, when asked was there any questions. Even if it’s minimum wage, I wanted to sure it wasn’t an apprentice rate at £2:68/hr Vs £6:31. I think I managed to recover from this faux pas. Only time will tell. Then again, he shouldn’t have asked me at interview about my family – you just don’t do that, so lack of training on his part?
Again I was assured that they’d let me know… but that remains to be seen.
I had a lot going for me as in I was flexible and could easily get to the two training locations, my skills and enthusiasm hopefully came across.

As a reward I chilled out in a coffee bar within a bookshop, before getting the bus back.
If I got the job I promised that I’d get my lunch there. THe coffee was sooo smooooooth 🙂

Ironically it was the same bus I used to get in my previous job and I was as jumpy as a flea on a cat on that journey. I passed the stop I used to get off and thankfully I didn’t have any negative reactions. Progress.