Saturday, 21 February 2009


It's a strange thing, perspective. I don't mean the type of perspective that indicates that the background is further away than the foreground,

I mean one man's junk is another man's treasure, or the grass is always greener on the other side.

Point of view.

I've been unemployed for a while now. I used to be a teacher, but the ridiculous 80 hour weeks (would have been longer, but annoyingly I kept falling asleep) and everchanging government guidelines "did my head in" as the kids say.

Every two weeks I trundle off to the job centre and register as available for work. It doesn't take too long - half hour drive, park (and pay for the privilege) and sit in a waiting area and ... wait. There's plenty to entertain me whilst waiting, because there is no attempt to give jobseekers any privacy. I come out of a session knowing all about somebody's boyfriend who has abandoned them, someone else who didn't get an interview - and of course there'a always a phone call or two "I'm at the job centre".

The phone calls don't last long, because it's "not allowed". The younger jobseekers get annoyed about this and turn to their mate (they always jobhunt in packs, I find) and mutter "It's not fair, it's just like school."

Eventually it's my turn. I show them my list of applications submitted, they ask if I've been successful. Silly question, really. Why would I still be there?

So far, so routine.

But last time, there was an opening. There is a local growth industry, and I am encouraged to apply.

What is this vacancy in the new growth industry?

You've guessed it. I've now applied for a job alongside the clerks I see every fortnight. There are so many unemployed now, they need more staff at the job centre.

What really amused me though was seeing this job from the employer's perspective.

(See? I hadn't forgotten my title)

Remember how each session goes for me? Show my applications, sign, go home.

This is from the job description:

  • motivate customers to see work as realistic and achievable
  • give advice on job goals and how these can be best achieved, taking into account the local labour market
  • undertake job searches for those who are job ready and refer them to suitable vacancies and arrange job interviews with employers

So THAT'S what the clerk has been doing for me each fortnight. I wonder why I hadn't noticed?

PS Timing is everything, or so they say. I'd almost finished typing this blog when the postman arrived... (click to enlarge to readable size unless you have your magnifying glass handy)


Bigbluebed said...

Oh dear!! I hated the jobcentre. I hope something turns up for you and I am glad you still have a sense of humour!

Nic said...

Sorry you weren't lucky getting the job centre job; imagine going in one week and telling them they you were signing off because you had a job, with them!
I hope something comes up soon, or your meercats take over the world so you don't need a 'proper' job.

Linden said...

You've just got to love job descriptions, haven't you?! The great divide between what's in them and what, in many cases, the people in the jobs actually do.

I hope something really great (and not 80 hours a week!) turns up for you very soon.

Or the lovely meerkats take over the world, of course - I guess that scenario's in all us crafting folks' dreams!

Heather Leavers said...

I feel sure that meerkat world domination is only a matter of time. There are quite a few in the States now, one in Tasmania, and one went off to the bright lights of London only yesterday!

Midnightcoiler said...

Heather, Get enough of these blog entries going and compile them into a book of humor. You might even sell it on Etsy!

Erin said...

Unemployment = :(

though the humour of the dreaming cow was not lost on me.

Anonymous said...

Poo, sorry to hear you didn't get much luck. I'm sure things will right itself soon, but for now you can build your meerkat army for plan B. King for the world! And I will be your loyal subject, artist.

Sinclair said...

That is about the luck I am having lately. Thank goodness I don't have to GO to a job center. Just keep track of the places I have applied and be ready to fill in the questionnaire each week. So far, I have been out of work for 36 days, and have received one week worth of unemployment pay. Here's hoping it gets better for all of us soon!

Sharona R - שרונה ראובני said...

That is freekin unbelievable.

Oddly enough, I heard something on our local employment services today on the radio - they are going on strike cause they say they cannot handle the huge number of new unemployed arriving at their gates. I thought - well, give some of the unemployed work at your agencies, and that will be it.

Heather Leavers said...

it's quite amusing isn't it? What's going to be even funnier (for the clerk) is when I sign on next week and she reminds me (maybe!) that I said "how hard can it be?" when she told me about the vacancy...too hard for me, evidently!