The Last Farewell

28/01/2010

I have been keeping this to my chest for some time, but I am pleased to inform you that I am now Off the Dole and in gainful employment! Huzzah!

On the day I signed off, I attended a meeting with my New Deal Advisor scheduled for 1pm. As I arrived at 12.50, she left on her lunch. I was then obliged to wait until 1.35 before being seen, and once I told her I was signing off she instructed me to come back at 3pm to finish off the paperwork.

Well, I suppose they had to remind me how awful it could be one last time eh?

I am now gainfully employed in administration, it isn’t my dream job but it is one that is far more suited to me than any of the free labour I have been obliged to do for the past few months has been. I feel qualified, at least.

I was planning on making an entry after my first day (consumed with a terror about jinxing things made me put it off) but the day after I signed off I was involved in a traffic accident (extremely minor in the sense that I am not hurt, but it rather threw me and I didn’t make sense for a couple of days thereafter) and life, being Utterly Crazy promptly provided me with information regarding a job I had supposedly got in October when I filled out the forms, but had heard nothing substantial back since and as it was only a casual work (one day on a weekend every now and then) I wasn’t hugely heartbroken, just rather disappointed as I really wanted the experience, and so it feels as if I’ve had my mobile glued to my ear talking to insurance companies (re my car), councils, other employers, HR people, IT people who are currently failing me in my current job making me a desktop fugitive.

Nontheless, I’m digressing.

I have….not exactly enjoyed keeping this blog, but I have appreciated the responses I have received and it has provided me with an arena in which to air my grievences about the complete failure of justness that is the dole, and New Deal in particular. I am no longer qualified to talk about that, although I may still make the odd post if I hear of something that might be interest to those who are still in the plight I have (utterly miraculously) somehow escaped from (I still don’t know why they picked me, I’m mostly relieved they did).

I hope that this blog was of some comfort to others, and that it did its purpose to stand as a report of my experiences whilst under the new deal. I wish everyone who has read or commented in a similar situation to the one detailed in here a prosperous, hopefully gainfully employed year and many thanks for your kindnesses.

-Coinan, the rabbit.


Escape from TNG, Hello New Deal

06/01/2010

Greetings!

I hope everyone had a good Christmas (if you celebrate it) and a Happy New Year. My apologies for failing to blog over that period but, in truth, I didn’t feel up to spending my exceedingly limited free time rehashing the chiefly depressing stuff going on in my life.

However! I did escape TNG. This is what occured: Officially, I was to finish my 13 weeks on the 1st January, however as TNG were closed over that period, I was told to come in on the 23rd December to finish off my paperwork etc. Whilst my family were exceedingly put out that I should have to go there on the 23rd, I was okay with it because it meant ESCAPE🙂. The only downside was I was by that point suffering from a bronchial illness and as such the extremely cold weather was not particularly good for me.

I got the bus from the dole, as usual and when I arrived found that the other people on it were all on the construction course, which means they get bussed to the door of TNG and then taken into one of the larger neighbouring cities to do construction work. I clambered through the snow and entered the building. To my suprise, there was only me. I sat for some time waiting for them to gather the forms and then proceeded to assist in the…not exactly falsification but the filling out of documents that should have been filled out at my different reviews. As I had only had one ‘review’ session, in week three, and had not been helped or spoken to by the person who at that session had promised that he would find me a placement suited to my skills, there was a lot of backlog paperwork that had never reached me.

They did however gift me with a bonus, whether as a christmas present or partially an encouragement to aquiesce with their form-filling without fuss, I do not speculate. I was just eager to leave.

There is one final part of the experience that I quibble with. On each review paper the advisor-person first writes a comment about you. Things like “Coinan is a wonderful and hard working person and we are extremely impressed with their progress and their dedication to the course. We wish them all the best in their future career.”

Then these papers are passed to you and you are asked to write a comment about the service you have recieved and how helpful it has been in the box. Whilst they sit and watch you. Well, what are you to do? They’re paying for you a taxi home, make you a warm drink, offer you chocolates and presents and smile and chat nicely to you. After writing such a glowing report on you it would be an extremely hardfaced type of person who could write “I gained nothing from this course, except severe unhappiness.” or something equally truthful.

That is not to say I lied,but I am someone who is certainly capable of fiddling with language. It is one of my chief passions and hobbies. Instead I write things like “The staff were exceedingly friendly and willing to answer my queries, although in truth I feel that the majority of the material on the course would help many of its users, I do not feel that I particularly developed or learnt anything new from it.”

Today I met with my New Deal Advisor once again, as we are currently in the grip of severe snow the meeting was gratifyingly short but I was not once asked how I got on at TNG or anything about it at all. On the bright side, I will at least now have actual time to apply for things, rather than being stuck doing menial tasks every day and basically being a supervisor and expected to control other members of staff without having any official power, which was what was happening with me working so regularly at my placement. The dole only allows so many hours of voluntary after all. *phew*. I shall enjoy going back to it and no longer having the pressure of being to blame for things day in day out.

Here is to hoping that the New Year brings Newer and Happier things for all little rabbits.


TNG sign in day: The goose laying square eggs

30/11/2009

What a good start to the day, the bus arrived at the TNG rented offices only to find that despite it being Utterly Bloody Freezing, none of the staff had arrived and the shutters were down. A staff member then appeared and let everyone in. I would like to point out that one of the people on TNG today was a heavily pregnant girl and standing out in freezing winds with no shelter was probably extremely bad for her.

My own day was mostly a tedious and silent experience- that is, I spoke to no one as I managed with some scraping to get my requisite amount of ticks on the sheet early and then say dying of boredom trying in vain to find new things to apply for, whilst the noise level in the room behind me grew to epic proportions. Equally awkward was the fact one girl, LazyText, started the same day I did but was subsequently kicked off the course, and was also kicked out of the shop where I work because of her utterly laziness, was back, gobby, loud and with a voice like a goose laying a square egg, she sat behind me flirting with the boys and making no effort whatsoever to behave cordially.

Listening to the tutor talking to the people on induction was a thorough was of damaging my pride:

“We will get you a job, if you put the effort in, but you’ve got to want a job. We have people who come in here with quals up to their ears, degrees and everything but if they don’t want to work then there’s not much we can do.”

I seethed. Since my last post no one from TNG has approached me regarding any progress made on finding me a suitable placement. If I do manage anything in the next couple of months, it will be down to my own efforts and have eff all to do with them.

As nothing happened really, apart from I died of boredom and felt carsick a lot, I’m going to highlight some of the people who were in TNG today.

The boys outnumber the girls, for no obvious reason.

Those who do appear to want to get down to work are ignored.

We had one lad who actually has been given a job, but his traineeship doesn’t start till January, so he still had to come on TNG in the meantime.

We had the aforementioned heavily pregnant girl, whose baby is due quite soon, but still has to attend despite the fact it’s nigh impossible to even get her a placement considering how soon the baby is due (Christmas baby I gather).

We had one lad who had been working hard since he left school at sixteen, but local industry being what it is at the moment, his place shut down and then he was out of work due to an injury. Owing to a mixup in paperwork, the dole still counted this as time spent unemployed and therefore made him go to TNG too.

So, another day of sitting on my bum getting progressively more world weary as I go. As a commenter has mentioned to me that they would ‘rather stick their hands in a grinder’ than go back to TNG I’m very much afraid I concur. I think, if this were to go on much longer, I would risk poverty and lack of NHS stamps.


TNG day and stress headaches galore

09/11/2009

Today was my jobsearch day. The room was uncomfortably stuffy, hence my current migraine-plagued state and the general feeling of illness produced in the room.

I am feeling much less optimistic than last week. This is because the man whilst has had some ideas about new placements for me, seems determined to ignore the areas in which I expressed the most interest and, to be quite frank, the rest of the staff indulged in emotional manipulation to convince me that, hey, I can’t afford to be be picky- in this situation.

Whilst this is true, it’s not a very comfortable prospect to face when only the evening before I had been thinking hopefully about a placement that would then enable me to apply for the further training course in the area I am most interested in that I’ve had my eye on, as well as making plans for the possibility of the course doing nothing for me be preparing for things next year.

I would go into more detail,but now I have to go to a youth group meeting and be cold for an hour or too.

My nanoing is definitely going to suffer.


TNG: Jobsearch Day- and my first ReviewDay

02/11/2009

Today I stood for half an hour in the cold and wet waiting to be picked up by the Bus Of Doom to take me to TNG offices for another jobsearch day. Last week’s was so dreadful and pointless I couldn’t even come up with the energy to blog about it.

Today’s wasn’t much better. All day typing out application forms and feeling distinctly pressured to meet ‘joblead’ targets, despite the fact that there weren’t actually, a lot of jobs within my even Possible fields that I hadn’t already applied for. Grr.

But I had my first review session with the man who puts people on placement. He was completely suprised when he was told that I was doing my shop job, he’d somehow got the idea that they had snapped me up so quickly for a specific project that involved utilising my skills, not for me to become a shop-floor supervisor (which basically means ‘carry on as you have been doing only now if the till is out you will catch the blame and if no one’s working hard enough, it’s also your fault’). Lately I’ve been sorting my head out a little regarding directional pulls, assisted by an offer of casual work (not enough hours to escape the dole at all) within one of the fields I had been considering. So I mentioned these things to him and he has concluded that he will now work at getting me a more suitable placement. I thought that he was doing that already, but at least he’s on the right track now. Fingers crossed!

The shop itself was wearing on me a little these past few weeks. I have always found it hard graft, being not particularly suited to retail although competant enough. Some days have been better than others, but I’ve had several days where I am basically responsible for some people who, for one reason and another, physically can’t do a great deal, or are not capable of finding things to do, this leads to my treading a thin line between picking up their slack myself on occasion, and then at other times trying to give them jobs to do without appearing to be ordering them around. If the Manager would deign to confirm my supervisory role then I would not have to tread quite so carefully, but Manager is a hard person for people to get on with quite often, and I’ve already nursed a few wounds from that cutting tongue in the past week, even indirectly aimed missiles graze quite badly.

 

So, yes, I’m definitely hoping that they might find me a placement more suited to where I want to go. In the meantime, I’m also doing nanowrimo! Yay🙂


shame?

19/10/2009

Today was a particularly hard day at work. The shop in which I work sells furniture, among other things and this means handling quite a bit of money. A lady came in to buy a particularly pristine suite, for £150 plus £5 delivery. She brought the money in the envelope and counted out some for me. I counted it and found £140, so I counted it twice more in front of her and she counted the other money she had, agreed that she’d given the wrong amount, and it was all sorted amicably. Or so I thought.

A while later, the manageress got  a phonecall from the lady saying that she believed I had overcharged her. I explained what happened and the manageress told me not to worry too much, but as there had been a (thankfully not my fault) issue with the till she reckoned I’d probably made the mistake and the lady would get her money.

This isn’t really a big deal. Accidents happen to everyone once in a while, particularly when the tills are feeling tempremental or one is feeling particularly mithered. But I feel so guilty. Because it was my mistake.

Long after everyone had passed over the incident, the till went wonky and added the sub total to the final total so that, despite someone paying the right amount, the till feed had doubled it. I have seniority to fix the till feed in these incidents and have been allowed for some time to do so for others who have made mistakes. But I felt I had to get the manager and explain what had happened and fix it under her supervision.

Why? Because I’m on TNG. And we’ve had thievery from people on TNG and other placements before now and somehow, despite that they know me, they trust me and I’m not some stranger to them and I have my CRB check from them and everything, I suddenly felt paranoid. That the stain of being no longer a simple volunteer might somehow make them think I’d…become someone to be viewed with suspicion.

A strange reaction, and a silly one. And probably a hypocritical one- we’ve only had three thievery incidents from tng or similar placement people in the past six months, which is low compared to the amount of people the shop actually takes on.


TNG: “wrecking my head”

17/10/2009

Yesterday was my first ‘jobsearch’ day where, instead of going to the shop I volunteered at which has taken me on placement I hopped on the horrible bus of doom and nausea and was taken to spend the day at TNG ‘jobsearching’.

There are many things wrong with this: my computer is a  whizzy and respectable little thing, they have about eight lower-ability computers and about 20 people there on ‘jobsearch’. Additionally, I discovered when I finally did get on a computer that the website I needed to access in order to apply for a job was blocked and none of the advisors had any sort of pass-code to let me on to it, even if I permitted them to watch me do so to ensure I wasn’t doing anything BUT applying for a job.

But that isn’t the thing that has haunted me since.

One of the people at TNG is a woman with a distinctly steely manner. She sat down next to me (interrupting my filling in applications, I might add and causing me to start late for dinner) and began asking me about my career plans and such and I explained my current predicament and how I would be very happy with admin or some other job that would serve whilst I sorted myself out a bit more, but career wise there were several avenues I was looking at and whichever one I managed to get my foot in the door of would likely have my fealty.

She told me that she believed that everyone at TNG could go out and walk into a job, but they kept setting themself up to fail.

She told me that by applying for a minimum of 20jobs per week was me ‘sitting on my backside’ and not doing anything.

She told me that ‘deep down’ I knew what career I wanted I just needed to go out there and GET it.

She told me that I was very good at ‘talking the talk’ but was not walking the walk.

Finally, when I insisted that I hadn’t been spending my time being completely idle (several work placements, voluntary work and doing several other quite major things which I don’t like to go into detail here because it would simply serve as a distraction from the Everyman purpose of this blog as a whole)  she told me that I was still ‘not walking the walk’ AND had I ever considered pursuing my talent freelance?

If I hadn’t been fighting not to cry by this point I would have replied “Yes. I have. I’ve also considered starving in a ditch.”

“Well, it happened to [name of famous person] it could happen to you.”

Well I’m sorry, I’m not going to go freelance, condemning myself to a continual existance without the security of routine and order that I crave in employment and condemning myself to become a parasite living on my family’s non-existant wealth because freelancing in that particular industry is one of the hardest things to do in the world. So hard, in fact that my ELEVEN YEAR OLD SELF considered and decided that such pleasures would have to be relegated to hobby status because it wasn’t a viable career path for me.

In other words, the woman, to borrow a phrase from my fellows “was wrecking my head” in the worst possible way. I now wander around surrounded by thoughts of gloom and worthlessness that someone doesn’t actually see how bloody hard I’m trying.


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