Sometimes, I think, one of the most fraught aspects of ESA is guilt. Certainly in my case, where it isn't apparent that I have problems. Obviously there are other cases, plenty of them despite the likes of our vile mainstream media, where the right to support is unquestionable. My problem is that, there are moments, where one feels a fleeting moment of peace and quiet, or calm; usually assisted with a cup of peppermint tea and some nice warm sunshine. These moments don't last and life isn't so simple that one feels one's problems at a constant and consistent rate, like a regular oscillation. Problems come and go; symptoms or issues wax and wane, often unpredictably. Or sometimes with dismal and depressing predictability. But when I'm feeling more at ease with life (relatively speaking - I've never been comfortable in life) I start to feel guilty that I'm claiming. Something that, no doubt, would please the Duncan Smith's of this world. But what's the alternative? JSA is the same amount, and I’ve yet to hear when my WCA will be (could well be I get a letter through tomorrow!).
In such moments I wonder perhaps I should just go and get a job - or at least try. To be fair to myself, I have made enquiries from time to time on a few positions I’ve seen advertised. It doesn't cause me any grief to email people. I can do that from home and I don't have to commit myself in the process. One such vacancy I saw advertised this week. Unfortunately the position required computer knowledge I don't have and the advert, like so many, was maddeningly vague about the desired character of the suitable applicant: 'we want someone that's reliable (well duh!), who can work on their own initiative or under pressure' or some such Barnum statement nonsense. Who would say they are none of those things? But for me these sorts of requirements are difficult, particularly working under pressure. Then there's the added stress of self doubt and wondering just how and, more importantly, when your boss will feel let down by your inability to cope. As I, like most people, don't have foresight or a crystal ball to scry the future, how can I know if things will work or not. That the job was also part time exacerbated the fraught nature thereof: how can I contribute to a pension or even society (which is what all this is about) if I'm earning between 90-120 quid a week? Certainly that's better than having to deal with the jobcentre and the useless Salvation Army perhaps, but you are certainly not moving forward in life.
Could the Salvation Army help with any of this? Well I don't think so. The best they've managed so far is to offer me the potential to do a day's creative writing workshop (possibly - there's no guarantee) in March. A workshop that, while I'm sure is great, isn't oriented to helping people build a career. That's not the purpose of these types of courses, but that seems the best they can offer - either that or, as my wanker of a previous adviser 'offered': CV 'training' or 'application form training'. Honestly, it's just ridiculous. At least that's my initial reaction. Maybe I’m just monstrously arrogant. I'm sure Susan Kramer, Libdem Baroness would think so; her disgusting Torymouthed support for 'work experience' (i.e. workfare) on Thursday's night's Question Time was a further sign of the times in today's politics: yellow in colour, blue in tooth and claw. Even when George Galloway (the only panellist to stand up for Cait Reilly, calling for her beatification no less!) corrected her to say that Cait was already on a work experience scheme, one of her own choosing, Kramer decided that wasn't good enough.
This is how bad it's become: a woman that goes out of her way to get on the sort of scheme the government effuses about, someone that does the work experience this Tory witch (she might as well be) advocates, is castigated for not wanting to give it up to work in fucking Poundland! Poundland! As if there's any chance that the scions of these aristocrats and political monsters would ever find themselves in that position (despite Kramer's hollow protestations to the opposite - who'd want her for a mother!).
I have yet to hear from the Work Programme regarding my next appointment. The Salvation Army were meant to call on Thursday and predictably decided not to ring until Friday afternoon when, again predictably, I was not available. Apparently I will be graced with a call tomorrow, which means I will have to sit on the phone (mind you, there isn't much else to do, but I really do not enjoy waiting for calls and I find using a phone actually quite difficult in that regard, perhaps bizarrely) waiting.
I know what will happen: if I refuse to play ball - agree to go on a community workshop course - then they will have power over me. They will say 'you aren't making enough effort', just like the sort of bullshit teachers say to kids when they can't think of any better way of teaching those that don't fit into the curriculum (now where did that come from?). It's the rhetoric of control from a service that hasn't the means to offer any kind of provision but wants to make money off of you. I've no doubt that attending such a course will enable them to tap into a revenue stream. I'm still waiting for the help that they said they could refer me to regarding my health issues. That hasn't been offered or explained. The Work Programme remains a huge joke, run by inexperienced people with no resources nor any ability to deal with the issues it's intended to address. No interest in helping people at the core of their difficulties and only interested in propagating simple minded methods. Yet it just goes on; a cramped provision in a church hall or phone calls that are not punctual. The whole thing remains a total waste of time.