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Dread part 2

A couple of days ago, foolishly, I rang Employment Plus on the number I have from their appointment letter. I wanted to know if I could be seen at a different time. It was really a silly thing to do because communicating with these people anymore than you have to just causes you to become more of a target, but I have been suffering really badly with anxiety these last two weeks. 

It got a little awkward because I didnt' want to speak to the adviser directly; as I've said before, he has failed to earn my trust (though I have to see him on Monday anyway). The person I spoke to said that she could email the area manager who would subsequently get in touch. I also mentioned, blurted really, my anxiety issue and that I was concerned about being seen by someone who isn't trained in these matters (which is to say their entire organisation). I never did get that call back.

Just been to the library to print out my CV to show them on Monday and i find that the adviser rang after I left. This means he spoke to the person I live with - and that is a big no no. If he has identified himself in any official capacity (ie "hi this is employment plus ringing") I will be fucking furious. I have a feeling that is the case because he called back ten minutes before I returned leaving an answerphone message saying exactly that which anyone would have picked up. 

This is absolutely unacceptable to me. There are personal reasons why I ALWAYS insist that people contacting me insist on talking to me and not identifying themselves thus. Most people - those that are not assholes - respect this. That my 'Job Life Coach' doesn't just further demonstrates to me that these people do not remotely consider these issues. Not only that, but when I contacted them two days ago I said that I didn't want to talk to him. I was told that the area manager, the person contacted regarding my call, was supposed to contact me. Instead, they have obviously passed this on to the Job Life Coach in question.

This is a major part of the problem with these people: it just doesn't occur to them to fucking think! They don't get these minor issues and considerations are important. It's clear that the Work Programme, certainly in my case, is bludgeoned through by agencies who do not remotely consider the finer issues of the people I'm dealing with. There is clearly a base level of operation they work on and anything finer or more subtle is just beyond their comprehension and ability; it's just about providing a minimal jobsearch, cv printing, envelope stamping, local newspaper displaying, level of provision - because these people assume that's all their 'customers' require. Anything else, such as personal matters or health issues or anxiety or whatever, is lost on them and they become, in your life, like a bull in the proverbial china shop. 

I rang the number back, I suspected it was the JLC because it was a mobile number before i heard the answerphone message (which of course I've deleted). I can't get a more convenient (ie earlier - which you might think would show more enthusiasm, but hey!) appointment because he's booked solid for a month. Again, it doesn't occur to them, when booking these appointments, to consider individual circumstances (most of those bookings, I'll wager, will be from more local people that don't rely on public transport for starters). I didn't argue the finer points nor did I mention appropriate contact etiquette as there'd be no point, the tactless horse bolted long before the stable door could have been bolted.

Then there's the worrying level of authority a title like 'Job Life Coach' assumes over your life. How far these people think they can intrude (and of course with customary indiscretion) and 'advise' I dread to think. It's deeply worrying.

I will also mention, for my own sake rather than anyone else's since I don't have to justify my living arrangements to anyone, that I live with a parent. As a grown man that likeluy offends many people's social sensibilities. Unfortunately it isn't that simple; ironically my family life has always been strained, particularly when there were more of us. That changed for various reasons and now it's more like a lodger/landlord situation. Why that should offend some people or tickle their social neuroses I don't know, but society has become a lot more judgemental. Unfortunately, also, my parent does not understand any of the issues I have to deal with and never will, so I ask people when they need to contact me to be subtle and discreet about it. Those that don't earn my ire as it really isn't much to ask and that people such as Salvation Army Employment Plus don't seem capable of even assuming this bothers me greatly.


  1. Most of the people who work for the providers in the WP are nothing more than salespeople, trained in giving the "hard sell". That's the awful manifestation of this so-called target driven culture they operate under - push people into as many "opportunities" of vacancies as possible, no matter how unsuitable they may be or the damage their behaviour may cause. No doubt once a WP provider winds up most of their employees would find themselves working in a call centre or flogging mobile phones for a living, such is the level of training or background these "employment coaches" have. The whole system stinks and is plainly not fit for purpose - which can be disastrous for many of the folks who find themselves subject to it.

    As for your living arrangements well you don't have anything to be ashamed of. Many people live "at home" nowadays, and with the squeeze on all our finances that figure will only increase. Frankly how you live your life is nobody else's business!!

    1. I rang back the JLC, i'm sure i'm digging a hole for myself with all of this, but in for a penny...

      I asked him if he identified himself as coming from Salvation Army Employment Plus. It seems he did, though he couldn't say for sure. All he seemed to be capable of saying, aside from getting a little bit uppity, was that he 'would have done', but he couldn't remember (two hours is a long time) as they "make thousands of calls". So he fobs me off with glib generalisations and straw man excuses. I doubt if he's made thousands of calls today, and I'm not asking him to remember the particulars of every call he's made (which he insinuated was what I was saying) nor one made even yesterday.

      So the damage, invisible as it is, has been done. This doesn't help me at all. He argued that he didn't know not to, or that he hadn't received specific instruction from the JC not to (I think - think - even they know better...sometimes).

      But really, is it too much to ask? Is it that unreasonable to ask that, if you are calling in this sort of capacity, you moderate the information you portion out when trying to speak to someone on the phone? He said "we have to identify ourselves"?!? Just say your name, if i'm not in what does it matter who you are?

    2. i know what you mean. These people have no tact and no consideration, they simple blunder around and they don't care whos toes they tread on. At my WP provider there is no consideration for privacy at all. The room where clients have their interviews has no measures in built for privacy, no partitions between desks or anything. In fact I have a hard time trying to not overhear what people sat within a couple of feet are saying in their interviews, and many of these people are probably put-off from telling their advisors important and sensitive information and thereby are being denied support they could well access.

      The staff, as in your experience, simpy don't care about their clients' wishes, no doubt they think people who raise articular issues or have particular needs are just "whiners" who need to "buck up". There is no sensitivity, respect or consideration forthcoming at all. No wonder so many people get angry with how they are treated.

    3. Certainly no privacy in the church that i was seen. Had there been more people there (and if he is solidly booked that may well be the case come monday) there would most certainly have been big problems.

      What gets me is how they seem slighted when you bring this up, as if you were being impertinent and they were the wounded party. Surely these are basic requirements when dealing with peolpe - and they know that people could potentially have problems (it's all on file!)


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