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Rookie Mistake

Having just signed on this morning I am now kicking myself as I type this. I made a rookie error when presented with a call centre job that's going to be interviewing next week. I agreed to apply for it even though my JSAg recognises that such environments are not the sort of places conducive to a good state of mind for me. I felt I should apply even though I was given the choice; I felt I had to be seen to be playing the game, to be making an effort. What an idiot. Now I'm committed to apply for a job, and one that's being handled by the JC+ themselves, so there's no way I can get out of it! Though more fool them if they employ me I suppose, but I just can't handle those environments, I can't even deal with the idea of being called in for a grammar test (held next Thursday) and an assessment and all sorts of high pressure bollocks the next day as well (at cost to me in terms of bus fares, I have no idea if transport costs are reimbursed).
However one concession was made: as my JSAg is set to 20 hours a week maximum (something that is itself a double edged sword given the cost of transport), the advisor suggested I limit the available hours for this position to 20 (which is why I agreed to apply rather than be seen to keep equivocating). The job is listed at 35 hours with the requirement of a flexible approach to work. The advert itself is rife with the usual vague requirements that I may or may not have anyway. Frankly I could do without all of this. But that's because I'm a lazy scrounger!
It's the nature of the Jobcentre environment, that's the problem. I won't say the advisor was out to trick me, but they are part of the environment. They obviously want me to not be signing on; that's the bottom line. But the heavy handed nature of the penalties for not doing what you are 'required' means that I feel compelled to take decisions and make such rookie mistakes. I feel as though I'm constantly under surveillance in terms of my performance as a jobseeker and with the threat of losing benefit ever present I feel I have no choice, sometimes, but to apply. But the thought of this particular job, and even the whole application process, makes me very uncomfortable. However there's just no alternatives - another reason to want to be seen to playing the game. If I don't apply, questions will be asked with a possibility of a sanction and I doubt, having chosen freely to apply, that I can get away with any excuse or to change my mind. Is this the best system we can muster? Offering people the opportunity iof applying for work the JC has already agreed isn't suitable? Not call centre work is explicitly a part of my JSAg (which makes my stupid decision all the more inexplicable).
Sometimes I think I would welcome a sanction. Not really, of course. Having no income would be absolutely catastrophic for me as it would for any of us. However at least you wouldn't have to then worry about whether one was incoming. The coldest of comfort; but that's how this system shapes you. It wears you down and breeds a paranoid atmosphere. Hardly a place of support for those that need it when out of work.


  1. we are living in fear of sanctions, fear that we will be labelled forever as scroungers and lazy, We know its hard out there, but the employed mostly the job centre staff and the training agencies state there are many jobs out there.

    If we are scared, we apply for any job we can reasonably do. But we are applying for jobs we know we cannot do just to get them off our back, but then the employers know we are unsuitable, and tell us, but then we get into trouble with the training agencies and job centre. A vicious circle. I am applying for jobs i know i havent a cats in hells chance of getting.

    Since we live in fear all the time now,we are finding it harder and harder to get up the gumption to do it.

  2. I don't want this job, even if my JSAg didn't rule it out (though I suspect I overrule that by agreeing to apply for it - how stupid of me). If that means I'm a scrounger so be it.

  3. Oh my, a trip to the job centre can be frought with difficulty, I applied for a job in a call centre last year and they actually phoned me up to talk about an interview (!!??!!) which wasn't ideal.

    The Solution to this: put on your best village idiot voice (I find this remarkably easy to do) sound exasperated, confused and panicky all in one telephone call.

    Oh and it also helps if you're a bit ill-mannered try to cut them off mid-flow at least once, and they will never trouble you again.

    Obviously your situation is a bit different cos you've got an interview, this is something I managed to avoid for almost two years, perhaps you should try and create an impression of mild incompetence?

    I got put on the new deal and was given the option of a business start up or a 13 week job placement and chose the former and started a very modest business selling records on-line, so instead of being on JSA for £65 per week I'm on Tax Credits for £51.09. It's definitely more of a challenge trying to negotiate round the HMRC, the tax credits people and housing benefit is tricky, which in my case was compounded by the Job Centre fucking up when I tried to close my claim, I think I'm on my third or fourth Housing Benefit suspension in the past six months - which aint much fun.

    On the upside I'm off JSA and don't have to kowtow to those animals every two weeks (to be fair some of them are alright) but some of them aint and the spectre of workfare is some way off.

    Anyhoo, I'm blathering on - best of luck at the interview, don't forget to stare intently and remind them (very slowly) that you're a people person!

  4. I don't have an interview. I was just compelled to apply even though it's looking increasingly pointless. I will have to since I have put myself in that position and the JC won't take no for an answer because of their jobsworth mentality.
    I asked some providers once about starting a business using my amazon seller account. No interest at all, or at least no help. No money, no stock, no likey no lightey. They want people to get somehwere in life and then penalise them for trying.


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