So on Friday I was back at the Job Centre (yay I hear you cry…..rather sarcastically I hope!)…that morning I had been to see (yet another) recruiter about a job (read: a job prospect that would go no where so the meeting was merely an opportunity for them to get my name on their books), who was over twenty-five minutes late….said meeting ended with me waiting twenty minutes in the pissing down rain waiting for a bus (as the Loki-motion is seeing the car doctor)…said bus arrived when my nipples had already decided they wanted to become part of my chest cavity and my toes had long since disappeared to the pub (or at least I thought they had, it was impossible to tell as all I knew was that I couldn’t feel them anymore!).
Needless to say I was not a happy bunny! I’m tired of being messed around by recruiters and companies, and tired of being fobbed off by the Job Centre. On Friday I had a particular whinge to vent….and with Mother Nature giving my ovaries their monthly kicking I was rather in the mood for an arguement.
Advisor: “So you’ve had interviews recently?”
Me: “Yep, I’ve had over five interviews in the past two weeks or so”.
Advisor: “Well that’s good isn’t it?”
Me: “You tell me – most of the positions were given to internal candidates, or the company never called me with the outcome, or the receptionist was a complete bitch on the phone over the fact that they couldn’t even give me directions….that same company by the way had interviewed the previous day and didn’t bother to contact me to tell me this shit until I showed up in Manchester ready to attend!”
Me: “ALSO – if I’m doing so great I wouldn’t once again be sat across from you signing a piece of paper to request benefits from the government…..don’t you agree?”
Advisor: “Well….you’re definitely trying to find work”.
Me: “Oh, while I’m on about attending interviews…you do realise that when I have five interviews in Manchester in the same week on different days that the cost of travel from where I live is approximately £60….”
Me: “I’m currently getting £71 a week from you…so that’d leave me with £11 a week to go towards rent and food would it not?”
Me: “Because my family do expect rent from me….but under your rules because I live at home I’m only entitled to job seekers allowance, nothing more. So, if I end up with a busy week like that I can’t attend all the interviews and pay my rent”.
Advisor: “But you live at home…And you have to attend the interviews otherwise you’re in breach of contract”.
Me: “Yes, yes I do. But my parents can’t be expected to be financially supporting me when I’m 27 years old, they do expect some help with the bills from me. So, I was wondering if you had any way for people to claim back travel expenses?”
Advisor: “Only if you’re a high risk claimant”.
Me: O_o “Whut?”
Advisor: “We’re allowed to give high risk claimants travel expenses…”
Me: *eyes start twitching* “don’t tell me…because I’m a low risk claimant I’m not entitled to it?”
Advisor: “That’s right yes”.
Me: “Ok….let me get this straight….because I’m actually attending interviews and applying for work I’m not entitled to travel expenses?”
Advisor: “Yes, because you’re low risk”.
Me: “And I’m expected to live on £11 a week or less if I have a week of interviews in Manchester or places of a similar distance?”
Me: “You know how backwards that sounds right? …so, you either help me with my travel expenses to attend interviews – or I stop applying for work and find my way onto your list of high risk claimants just so you can do your damned job correctly!”
Advisor: “You wouldn’t….you want to work! You’re one of the most determined job seekers here”.
Me: “As flattering as that is….being a low risk claimant means I get minimal help, and being a job seeker is depressing enough without being overlooked in favour of people who don’t want to work”.
Advisor: “But….it’s policy”
Me: “Uh-huh…..the choice is yours and believe me when I say I’m disillusioned enough with this country not to bother with your shitty processes to get the help I deserve!”
Turns out if I give them enough notice of my next Manchester interview that I can claim travel expenses…so fellow job seekers, dig in your heels! If you are actively looking for work, if you are attending interviews, if the expenses are costing you a fortune (to the extent you have barely anything left for food/bills/etc) then argue the toss with the Job Centre!
Just because you are a low risk claimant does not mean you shouldn’t be entitled to the same help as the high risk ones….after all, isn’t the point of the job seeker system to aid actual job seekers in their quest for employment? Rather than to mollycoddle those who clearly don’t want into the working world!
(I don’t think this is the picture of Kate Winslet that you wanted Paul but hey….pretty sure the one you wanted would make this post NSFW! So you can have this one instead!)
Todays song of the day is:
The Darkness – I believe in a thing called love (try not to giggle at the video…I fail everytime!)