Guess what just came in the post... my 'invitation' to a second date. With the Salvation Army Employment Plus.
On the 19th I have a half hour appointment at a time I didn't make at a place that uses specific bus times to get to. It's a half hour appointment that ends 7 minutes before the bus home (during this I will also have to get my bus fare refunded). I say this simply because, in the language of Mickey Mouse and Han Solo, "I got a bad feeling about this" - I don't think it's going to end well.
The letter says:
"It is sometime since we had any contact with you and the Job Centre have requested we make an appointment to see you.
This I have made for the above date and time.
Please bring your CV and the last 8 weeks Job Search with you."
Then there's the conveniently BOLD threat warning me that if I do not 'undertake the activities required in this notification'....well you know the rest.
The next part is somewhat new:
"When you take part in the Work Programme, you are taking part in the Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme which is established in law by the Jobseekers Allowance (Employment, Skills and Enterprise Scheme) Regulations 2011."
Hmmn. I think they are trying to catch people here who want to get around being mandated. This is because the letter ends by saying:
"The failures (ie failing to attend) referred to are, if without a good reason you:
- fail to attend an adviser interview
- if applicable, fail to take part in a particular employment programme
- do not take the opportunity of a place on an employment programme or training scheme
- refuse or fail to apply for or accept a place on such a programme or scheme notified to you by your adviser
- fail to attend or give up a place or through your own misconduct lose a place on such a programme or scheme
- fail to comply with a Jobseeker's Direction"
For a while I've been trying to hint that this is what's really going to happen to people that try and avoid the WP - not because I agree with these silly rules, but because this is how the state bureaucracy works. They are not on our side. So this talk of 'employment programmes' and 'not taking opportunities' is their way of saying 'if you don't engage with the WP (ie never mind how crap your provider might be, you have to make the effort to see them, not the other way around), you get sanctioend'.
So there's no getting out of this, and if I leave bang on the dot at 3:30pm after refusing them a copy of my CV (they can look...) and not being able to provide a full 8 week jobsearch record I'm going to get into trouble I fear. I don't know what else is intended to happen at this interview, but it sounds to me like it's no different than the JC signing process: they look at your jobsearch and decide if it meets their standards. I object to this because that isn't the job of the WP; my contract is with the DWP as notarised in the Jobseeker's Agreement. I meet that, the adviser at the JC signs my search and I sign on. Why does someone else need to rubber stamp this...because they get money for doing so. Fuck whether this actually helps people (what support will be offered in 30 minutes, particularly in reference to mental health, and specifically from an adviser untrained and inexperienced in such matters in his capacity as an adviser).
With respect to the CV, I imagine they will disapprove of how it looks regardless. Of course my CV isn't that impressive, but that's not because it's full of spelling mikstakes or badgrammar, but because I don't have a competitive presence in the labour market.
What I really object to is being told I have to reorganise or rewrite it. CV's are not just a list of qualifications or jobs; they are a personal statement and it would be dishonest in the extreme to have to rewrite it to bullshit my way through to employment and to appease an organisation acting solely for profit like WP providers. It's also wrong. In my core I have to express myself my way, faults and all - and that part is important - because otherwise the CV might as well be about someone else entirely.
Finally, an 8 week jobsearch record? What the fuck? As I've just said, the JC sign off my search record (kept using their documentation, I might add) each time I sign. Why does that then need to be approved by someone else? Not only that, but I go through one of their little books a month and they are not kept either. I dispose of them, and why shouldn't I? I have no need, nor have I been instructed, to keep them. Neither the Salvation Army, nor Jobfit, nor the DWP ever told me to keep them. That's why they sign them. If that isn't good enough for the Work Programme then thy should take that up with the DWP because why would a JC+ adviser sign off on something if it wasn't correct, for example? That I've successfully signed on demonstrates that my jobsearch has been adequate.
Oh well! Two weeks to prepare for this. Here we go!