Back in the queue.

Wednesday, and I’m plodding down the road to the job centre to sign on. Again.

The day is as miserable as my mood. It’s raining, and the wind is causing my umbrella to attempt a break for freedom. Gusts blow rain onto my back where it soaks through my shirt, it’s too warm for a coat, and my trousers are sodden from the knees down, my shoes just a squelching pulp of leather.

I’m wet, I’m miserable, I’m jobless, and I’m utterly fed up. After the euphoria and let down of the two oh so nearly jobs, the absolute last thing I need is this.

The jobcentre is full of other damp and gently steaming claimants and I take my place among the throng listlessly waving my signing on book in the vague direction of the staff in the hope someone will eventually take it. Why don’t they have a number system? There is no room to sit so I stand, leaning on my dripping umbrella, trouser legs sticking to me uncomfortably.

There are about eight desks down the lefthand side of the room which deal with the fortnightly sign on’s. Three have staff sat at them, only one of those is actually dealing with a client. Government organisation efficiency at its best. I’m going to be here a while.

Someone coughs repeatedly. Great, that’s all I need, swine flu. How ironic would that be? I traipse down here in the rain for basically no purpose, contract swine flu and fail or even miss an interview because of it. Lose the prospect of a job because I’m forced to sign on.

And what does this actually achieve exactly? They ask me if I’ve looked for work, I say yes, they ask me where, I give them a couple of names, they mumble a few well worn platitudes, I sign the docket and we’re done. We both know the ropes, we both jump through the government hoops, and it advances both of our positions that day not one jot.

Sure enough, when my name is called quarter of an hour after I arrived and quarter of an hour after my actual appointment time it is literally a two minute “has anything changed? No? Have you applied for work? Yes. Where? Here and here. Sign here then, thank you. Hope something turns up soon”.

Incredibly, during that 2 minute moment in time a security guard actually approaches me and removes my umbrella from me “because it has a point”. Which is more than can be said for this pantomime that’s for sure. He tells me that he has to remove it from me as it could be used as a weapon. Oddly enough this the precise moment that I actually feel like using it as one.

I complete my side of the rigmarole, a wan smile from the benefits clerk (it’s not her fault, she’s as much a victim of this system as I) and I’m repatriating myself with my lethal weapon and back out in the wind and the rain, and wondering whether I’ve caught anything nasty.

Terrific.

See you again in a fortnight for more of the same.

Absolute utter total waste of time, money and effort.

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3 Responses to “Back in the queue.”

  1. Mr Bridgers Says:

    Just catching up again, sorry to read about the BMW position slipping through your grasp but as others have said, the chances of getting a 50% success rate are very remote in this day and age. Unfortunately companies will always employ a candidate with relevant experience, especially if that person has reduced their salary expectations to boot.

    Having just read your latest blog it like an evening with the blonde is in order. Chin up my friend, your day will come.

    Cheers,

    Noel

  2. charliecroker Says:

    Noel, you’ve hit the nail on the head my friend, previous experience is like cat nip to employers.

    Problem is, in current times and with unemployment what it is, there’s always someone with previous experience…

    CC

  3. John D Says:

    Hi,
    Sorry about your continuing torment, nice to hear that son & ex are still alright, don’t get a christmas card from her anymore!
    Whilst Winston Churchill was pigging out on sumptuous meals beyond most peoples dreams during WW2, ( Thats why he looked the way he did), he did say “don’t ever, ever give up”, you have a true talent and a wit to match, unfortuneately the world has gone to the wall due to the excesses of the rich and powerful but it will recover, be ready when it does.

    JD

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