First day back at the office! Fifteen minutes of the usual, including the predictable 'how was Christmas'. I can't tell if they are genuinely interested or concerned so I give a guarded reply, besides who wants to discuss personal issues in an open plan Jobcentre? No, I've found Christmas this season to be rather stressful; it wasn't enjoyable (are you allowed to say this about the festive season without coming off as self pitying? probably not).
Then I'm informed of a job that may or may not exist (I don't think it does) that the advisor has noticed and thinks I would be suitable for because it lists the possibility of working from home. I don't think the job is valid because the last time this exact employer advertised the job didn't exist then either. Anyway I saw the job on their website a few days ago and emailed anyway. That should earn me some brownie points.
Discussing this job brought up a quick check of my CV. I would rather not have given them my personal details, but I gave the CV in almost as soon as I started signing because, well, I was asked to. There's been much discussion of privacy, particularly around the issue of the Work Programme. However when you're on the spot, surrounded by the JC and talking to a flesh and blood adviser it gets a bit difficult. I didn't have the wherewithal to demand them remove my CV from their records or expunge contact details (which, if and when I get sent to the WP, they will surely pass over) and doing so would only have dragged the appointment on and probably made me look like a difficult customer. One of the golden rules of being a claimant is not rocking the boat - which I realise is a pathetic attitude, but...
So the adviser briefly looks over my CV (which includes the email address that gave Tesco fits in September, though I have changed that). Curiously she comments that I should perhaps remove my date of birth. Curiouser still she says that, not only does it prevent age discrimination, it gies potential fraudsters less to go on. OK that's fair comment, although given that my CV lists my work history etc, removing my age won't mean a damn thing without removing the dates from that as well. Seems like a waste of time, but maybe it's worth doing.
Quite honestly all this fussing over CV's seems to be one of the only things, now, the JC can actually do. Consequently fussing is exactly that; any reason to suggest editing it, changing it or reviewing it is an opportunity for this increasingly irrelevant and ineffectual organisation to do something now that this and the last government's push toward privatisation (which is certainly what the WP is about) has emasculated them.
I mention that I'm to have an appointment at the local surgery with the DWP psychologist (i saw last month) for a test to determine some propensity toward 'neuro diverse/learning difficulties': ie aspergers and such. Apparently she can take the results to the people that issue the official diagnosis to force their hand or some such. I learn that the psychologist has spoken with my adviser and seems to be thinking that I should go on the WP - or Remploy. Now Remploy seems to be the option for people that have some health issues.
I've been to Remploy before. I self referred for a couple of appointments while I was claiming ESA. A waste of time. It's basically the same thing as the Work Programme. Sit on computers doing jobsearches, engage in silly courses in 'employability', or any number of cheap unproductive and ineffectual exercises that don't create work but are easy money for these organisations. I remember telling them I was interested in music (that old chestnut - it's true though!) and they suggested I go work for HMV (who weren't hiring). I don't really see the difference: WP or Remploy, it's the same thing. The unemployment gravy train.
Anyway this is what I face, come March at the latest. One way or the other I'm going to be referred. Frankly the WP, specifically, sounds the lesser of two evils. Maybe I'll get the one instance of the WP that turns out to be helpful, who knows. Certainly I can't criticise it to my adviser without experiencing it. I am disappointed that the psychologist, who seemed to have something of a mind independent to the usual JC bullshit (though she is a DWP employee). Saying that the best thing for me is, basically, to do what the system and the government want anyway, isn't what I call helpful. It's all the more sad considering I said to her, when she asked me what I was interested in, that such was a pointless question considering that I have no say in the matter and that I'd end up on the WP anyway (and that it all sounds like bollocks). I will have to take this up with her when I have my appointment with her. It's time to make it clear just what being a subject of this awful system is really like (I thought I had).