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Human Error?

I'm not going to be excused on the 23rd, quelle surprise. Of course as a scrounger I shouldn't be because everyone else has to work blah blah blah. Let's just get that chestnut out the way. Though the money does go in earlier (and should clear on that day). That should take the edge off signing.
I also have an appointment with a Work Psychologist (not sure if I've already mentioned this) on the 19th. I have no idea what such a person does, but it was either that or get sent to the local Work Programme Gulag (which will happen sooner or later I think).
Today's fun and games was a complete fucking joke. I'm so sick of the inflexible and hapless Jobcentre bureaucracy now; coupled with this insane time of year and the general winterness of winter I'm starting to seriously lose the plot.
So I'm called over after a ten minute wait; I'm not feeling particularly shall we say effervescent this morning. While I wait I'm watching the three ladies on the signing desks stuck in some bureaucratic mire about this or that. I think a person before me is facing a sanction. Happy Christmas for him!
When it's my turn I sit down offering the usual glib pleasantries - I've never been rude to the staff there and always show respect. I've no desire, unprovoked (when provoked it's a different matter and I've no patience at all thanks to stress and anxiety prolems), to be rude to them anymore than anyone else. I then am informed I'm supposed to attend on the 29th for some review.
"But my next appointment is the 23rd?"
"It's on the system, here, you have an appointment on the 29th for a 6 month review"
I point out that the screen shows my last signing time, 25/11/2011 - with the same adviser as is supposedly reviewing me on the 29th; my regular adviser that I see whenever possible each time I sign. I also mention that my claim is 9 months, not 6 months. At this point I'm not even convinced they've got the right person's file.
"i don't understand what any of this is about"
At this point I can barely speak above a whisper; my stress levels are redlining and I'm starting to feel self conscious at the attention this corner of the open plan office is attracting (I'm sure no one else really cares anyway). I have no idea why and have not heard from her since last time where I sat and watched her make the appointments while explaining it all to me (they have various diaries that deal with different types of appointment). I'm in on the 23rtd with that same adviser so what is the point of another appointment less than a week later ffs?
The tone starts to change when the adviser at hand calls over someone to assist. I'm guessing this is the senior signing lady.
"The adviser made a genuine human error Mr W, it's a stressful job. Surely you can understand that?"
I'm gobsmacked. The adviser is an experienced person. I grant that doesn't mean she's immune from errors, but it certainly didn't look she was screwing things up when the appointment was made and this has all been thrust on me today. Her tone is rather chiding; a level of condescension that's completely uncalled for. If she read my file she'd know I suffer from stress and anxiety permanently and that, while I can forgive mistakes, thrusting this on me right now and for no blood reason is hardly helpful. But this is how they operate; the system only knows how to beat you over the head. It's like a club over the head.
What annoys me is that I'm the one that has to dance to their tune, and when I do (got no choice), I still get clobbered. That's what it is to sign on: you can't do right for doing wrong.
Superior Signing Lady (sounds like a Japanese robot) is happily talking to me like this pretty loudly in an open plan office so everyone can hear. This is a great way to be treated; as if my confidence isn't already low dealing with this system and this society. I'm not here to whinge and whine (well, a little bit), but come on! Some of us really do struggle (and yes, some a lot more than me).
Then they look at the appointment for the 23rd - this time it's listed as 12:25pm instead of the 9am that was agreed (and I have in writing on the card they gave me last time!). I can't get in at that time because of the bus schedule. That's something else they ignore, even though they took a copy of the bus timetable so as to avoid such issues months ago.
"why can't you attend at that time?"
"because the buses don't run then."
Then it's the predictable and stupid response pertaining to the implication that if I can't attend at that time then I can't attend any time whatsoever. I'm also asked why I don't go to other jobcentres (why should I?) to sign on. Well the simple answer is that they are too rough; far too many unpleasant people (we are talking major urban centres). I'm not trying to be arrogant, I'm just trying to get by. I can't deal with these places; I used to sign on in such a place and it was, to be blunt, a fucking nightmare. That's why I picked this one but they seem intent on making it into another fucking nightmare.
Anyway they decide to alter the times concerned so that I attend on the 23rd at 9am as was agreed, but instead I'm just to sign on normally (at least I think so, who knows at this point), and that I wont be in on the 29th but this review will take place on the 6th, which is the next proper signing time afterward. I'm still none the wiser as to why all this is necessary and what mistakes have been made or why the adviser isn't available on the 23rd or whatever the fuck is going on (is anyone keeping up with this? I'm not!).
As this is being processed SSL decides to look at my jobsearch which the adviser in question, now inputting the new appointments, was about to look at prior to this rigmarole kicking off. In so doing she, again loudly and condescendingly, decides to ask some questions about it which are utterly stupid.
She points to where I've recorded my searching the websites of the major shops on the high street (WHSmiths, HMV, Boots etc): "Where will these jobs be?"
"That's the websites, I just look on their websites to see what jobs they have locally as they have all their vacancies, if any, advertised."
"But where will they be, what town are you going to apply in?"
I've no idea what she's on about.
"So how close are you to getting a job?"
"I don't understand how I can answer that?"
"What interviews have you got? What's in the pipeline?"
Well if you read the fucking jobsearch you'll see. I don't have any interviews because noone has invited me for one and I have nothing in the pipeline because there aren't any vacancies, and certainly not at this time of year, if there were they'd be recorded on the jobsearch. You tell me to record my efforts, I've done that. What else do you expect me to say?
What's in the pipeline? What a stupid question. I look for work, what's available is simply that. I'm not a bloody psychic!
It's the usual process with them: the hectoring, the inflexibility, the insensitivity. If they'd even bothered to read my records they'd know the problems I have - including bus travel.
"Do you have a driving license or just don't have a car?" (the assumption is that I can drive, I can't and won't be able to with my eyesight - all recorded on the file).
"No, I can't drive."
"Are you going to learn anytime soon?" the hell? How am I going to afford driving lessons and a car on JSA?
"uh no." Now I'm getting beaten down.
Then someone else comes over from the other side of the office.
"Don't want you to think we're all ganging up on you, but can I ask a question?"
"uh, yes." as if I could politely say no, fuck off and leave me alone.
"Why don't you look for work locally?"
"Because of the bus schedule" which, again, they have on file.
At this point the timetable for my next visits (barring further 'human error' is set, I sign the dotted line and leave. I'm feeling browbeaten. I can't deal with this system anymore. I hope I've conveyed today's experience accurately; I'm sure there are some that will read this and think I'm just being narcissistic and self pitying. Well I can only try my best to convey these experiences. Getting across the emotional aspect isn't easy and is really the key. I just cannot deal with this anymore. I'm at my limit.


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