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The Cat's Mother

She rang me today. Who's that, your fancy woman? No such luck, I refer of course to the Salvation Army head honcho I will be seeing on Monday. As you can imagine I am looking forward to this appointment wholeheartedly. I can't wait to have a one way conversation with an organisation that doesn't understand, seems institutionally unable to help, and insists on using completely inappropriate facilities. If I'm extra lucky then bully boy adviser, who works at the same venue on the same day, will also be there (I'm not actually sure that isn't going to be the case, but if it is then I'll not be staying). Isn't sarcasm great.

She called to ask me if I was ok with her manager not also being present. Er, what? I don't remember that being part of the deal, Lord Vader! Perhaps then it's just as well he won't be. I saw no point in changing the appointment or arguing the toss either way. 

Maybe I should be more positive about this. Perhaps I will be lucky and this person will actually be more helpful, more compassionate and more able to assist. I simply don't believe it, I'm afraid. What I've seen so far - and they have had 9 months to be helpful - tells me otherwise. As I type the above words about being more compassionate etc I just find myself laughing with a sense of resigned internal despair. It feels like saying 'maybe today I'll win the lottery'. I just don't see it.

The whole programme seems so institutionally inept that I cannot see any good coming from this. The best these providers seem to be able to offer is a facility to spam my CV to whomever they like, or to send me to application form training. My problem isn't one of literacy or a lack of imagination, it's based around the way my mind seems to work. There's about as much chance of them understanding this as there is of the sky turning green. People take one look, hear me talk without slurring my words (too much) or having a massive schizoid episode, and assume that there are NO problems, never mind issues they can't possibly understand.

I don't really get why the Work Programme could not have been delivered by people with an understanding of more than just what a CV might look like (and there's no guarantee they can even get that right). It's just the most basic school leaver level career guidance, possibly topped off with some dodgy corporate sales psychology, and a lesson in 'life is for winners kid!'. There's nothing of substance here, except the money these people make. Yet these advisers all think they are cock of the walk; they think that, because they've been filling in action plans and talking in corporatesspeak and doublethink, they are actually experienced in the pure art of helping people. They aren't. Action plans mean nothing if they don't help people. But it's just so easy to compel us to fill them in on pain of sanction (though, unless the rules have changed, one isn't actually forced to sign the plan - something I'm sure would have gone down well with my adviser had we actually got that far!)


  1. This may be of interest to you its how to fill in the esa50 form

    1. There's no way I'm going to pass. Either you score the points or you fail. The context is ignored and anything that doesn't fit the descriptors, or falls inbetween, counts for nothing. I will speak to the CAB I think, I can't really see my GP writing a full report. Even though he's been more helpful recently, the prevailing attitude of 'you can work' is still there even if he agrees that's conditional. Problem is that conditionality is ignored. Doctors just don't understand how this system works and what's required to get through it, even to get the help you need.

  2. My work programme provider has given up on me it seems, since all I've been offered for the last couple of months is jobsearch. I'm not sure who is luckier - you, whos WP is inept but continues to try and work with you (I know they are useless, and their interventions only seem to make things worse for you), or me, whos provider is now content to have me sit in front of a PC once a fortnight to do jobsearch.

    The level of ineptitude and waste on the WP is astonishing, and I've noticed even the Government is no longer so keen to talk to the media about it - ever since last year's disastrous performance figures were released.

    I can't see the Work Programme lasting more than another year or so. Perhaps between now and the next election the government would have tried to pretend the whole thing never happened.

    1. Noone is worse off. It's just different shades of the same shit. I've had two appointments with the WP and both times they were hopeless yet demanding my personal info under threats of sanction. Whether they are trying to work with me remains to be seen, though I'm sure they'd say so. Now that I'm on ESA they might be completely the opposite of how they have been. or not.

  3. I see my adviser for 5 minutes once a month. he just cancelled this next appointment. my adviser does nothing. I want to work its frustrating me that i want to but i get barriers (joke intended) thrown up by them. I know a4e has made a financial loss this year. Ah but Anonymous10 January 2013 14:09 labours idea is workfare.. the only good part is it will be minimum wage for 6 months

    1. I'm not even sure what I want anymore. Any attempt to discuss this, or provide an answer seems to get treated as if it was a trick question. I had the same when I was with Working Links when i first claimed ESA. I said to the adviser there that it's difficult to focus on any long term goal because the system just doesn't let you. She said don't worry about that, but when I tried to give an answer (at the time i was thinking about graphic design as I love the layout of big books for instance; i've no experience of it) they weren't interested.

  4. Yosserian Hughes10 January 2013 at 19:24

    Stick to yer guns - you've got plenty of ammunition to fire at them. Don't let them play 'good-cop-bad-cop' or try to palm you off with the usual rehashed garbage & forget all this 'Same shite, different shovel' mullarkey - Get in there & make sure the meetin' ends with them havin' several fleas put in both their ears.

    I've got faith in ya!

    PS. Glad to hear you got yer ESA sorted btw.

    1. That'd be a lot easier to do if there weren't the threat of sanctions floating in the air. I don't know how much trouble they could/would make for me, but if the rest of this sorry CHRISTIAN crew are like my adviser then, well, god help me!

      I'm dreading it really. But that's how it's been throughout. Things like that don't seem to register on their system: they just don't get how and why people struggle. I really don't relish the idea of explaining myself and my issues to them. There's no trust, and there isn't going to be any trust - never mind having to do it in a fucking church hall!


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