I must admit it has turned out to be a very strange week for me - if scarily exciting.
There have been some amazing things happening to and for me which have got me bouncing off the ceiling. The major result is that I am now free from the clutches of the Jobcentre. Me not having a job yet is a minor inconvenience - however, I am feeling more positive about that too.
In fact, that is how the title to this blog post came up.
For those of you who have never had the "pleasure" of dealing with the Jobcentre and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) on the subject of looking for a job - allow me to educate you.
Not only do the DWP want you to look for a job (I have no problem with this idea) but they actually put limitations on the jobs you can apply for.
In most cases this is a Full Time job. This is all well and good but what happens if there is a shortage of full time jobs? Plus you have to factor in travel time, etc, to get to your place of work.
My major problem with the DWP is that they do not take into account any disabilities or health issues you may have. If you are offered an interview, and consequently offered the job, you have to take it, whether or not you are a suitable fit for it. Never mind if it is downright dangerous for you to get to (or the building itself is a nightmare).
There is also another hidden trap. If you live in Britain you will have heard of Zero-hour Contracts. What you may not have heard of is "Battery Sales Companies" - and I am not talking about establishments where you can purchase AA batteries or car batteries, etc. I use the term "Battery Sales Companies" in the same way as "Battery Chicken Farms".
These companies usually advertise for "Trainee Sales Executives", or, "Sales And Advertising" but say very little on the Job advert - apart from offering some crazy salary with unearthly commission.
Please do not misunderstand me - I am all for sales people getting trained and qualified whilst they work. However, I have been interviewed by a few of these "Battery Sales Companies" and the speed of training which they outlined to me was extremely worrying. Put it this way - they nearly all suggested the candidate could be a Manager within six months. (I even got interviewed by one man for two different companies within three months.)
At the risk of sounding like someone who wants to go back to the future - I think the amount of "Battery Sales Companies" is a damning indictment of the current state of the British Economy. Since I was made redundant there has been a decline in "skilled" jobs - be they in Engineering, Administration (yes - that is a skilled job), Manufacturing, etc - with the chasm being filled by these "Battery Sales Companies".
However, what really disappoints me is there seems to be a complete disregard for the Creative World or those of us who really want to make a difference as well as using our personal experiences.
Here now follows an example;
I wanted to use my sight to help schools adapt to the needs of people with vision problems. My intention was to go into schools and assess them for visual needs. Let's face it, if you use my sight as a template, the only people who are going to have a problem are the totally blind.
When I suggested this to the Jobcentre (as well as my Work Programme provider - A4E) they did not ask me if I had actually done a test run. Instead they suggested I went on an Engineering course. I would only have made recommendations, not done the alterations myself. This left me feeling worthless.
The other thing is that there doesn't seem to be that much scope for people who want to either do something creative (writing, photography, etc) unless they happen to be a Millionaire to start with. We need to support people with a creative idea or a creative streak instead of attempting to squeeze them into a "normal" job.
As for people who want to start up soial enterprises to help other people (the homeless, etc) the funding streams for those would appear to be very well hidden away. So much for David Cameron's "Big Society" idea where we all help each other. I thought the Government wassupposed to make it easier to set such schemes up??? Apparently not.
Anyway - I seem to have gone off the point a bit.
Today I went for the first job interview where I didn't feel like I had to "perform" and fight to get the job. Knowing I didn't have to fulfil a quota of applications and interviews was psychologically freeing - this meant I could really be myself. I understand that I need to get a job but the pressure is off me slightly.
Not being in the Jobcentre's clutches also means that I can honestly look into setting myself up as some kind of writer or consultant on Blogging. As in looking into doing something which not only do people say I am good at but I happen to enjoy doing as well.
Watch this space.
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