Monday, 4 March 2013

Funemployment 10 - Signing Back On

After my two week placement had finished I had still not managed to secure a full time paid job. Sadly this meant only one thing - signing back on at the Job Centre.

If anything re-signing back on was much easier and quicker than signing on as all I was effectively doing was re-activating my account. All of my information was the same and my situation had not changed in any way. A couple of hours later I received a text informing me that I had to report to my local Job Centre at 9am the following day to sign some forms. When I read this I nearly dropped my iPhone in shock at the efficiency of the Job Centre. Maybe, just maybe, they had become more organised in the two weeks since I had last been. Sadly, I was lulled into a false sense of hope.

I reported to my Job Centre on time and was the first person there. I sat waiting for an adviser to become available. Something which you would think would be easy given I was the first person of the day, but as usual the staff were all engrossed too in conversation about their weekend activities and leaning on filing cabinets to help.

Eventually I was seen, given some forms to sign and have the process explained.My adviser handed me all the forms I needed but then became a mixture of enraged and confused when I began to read them. Telling me that I didn't need to read them I just needed to sign them. I then became enraged and confused. I have been raised to always read a document before I sign it. Yes the form simply stated that in order to receive my JSA I needed to apply for X jobs a week, turn up to appointments etc, but how was I to know whether or not in the small print they had added a section saying that if after six months of unemployment they could sell my organs to the NHS (good luck to the poor sod who gets my liver! 1 year in Russia and 6 as a Tory!), force me to donate blood in exchange for money or rent out my womb to a childless couple.

Having once again tried to skim read the forms I decided that it was best to just sign them as the words 'organs', 'womb', 'sell' or 'NHS' did not instantly stand out. It also meant that I was spending needless time in the Job Centre. I was then told to report back in two weeks for a normal signing on session and was then able to leave. It appeared that I had escaped the dreaded 'preliminary consultation' where an 'adviser' would go through my CV and spend 40 minutes asking me to explain the UK education system, why exactly I was unemployed followed by 10 minutes on why I should work for MI6.

Two weeks later I appeared for my signing on session knowing that I would only have to appear for ten minutes then could leave. Sadly my hopes of avoiding the 'prelim consultation' were dashed as my adviser noticed this box had not been ticked on my form. Despite trying to explain that I had already had one of these sessions and that I had had 4 interviews in the last three weeks i.e. I clearly knew how to job hunt and was getting somewhere it was still mandatory. So it would seem that the Job Centre had clearly not become more organised, as I had hoped, and I still would have to waste 40 minutes of my life with an 'adviser'. Joy. The job hunt continues.

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