See part one.
Situation: vacant part two:
by I.T. Jobseeker
For me, one of the most depressing aspects of redundancy is the fortnightly visit to the local Jobcentre. Mine is in a run-down building in a run-down road with other offices boarded up. It always seems to be raining on the day.
Jobcentres have two functions.
The first is to ensure that those claiming benefits are actively seeking work. This is achieved by requiring their 'clients' to keep a log of their attempts to find employment. The log is given a cursory examination and initialled by an 'advisor' who then authorises payment of benefit. So far, so good.
The second is to introduce Jobseekers to potential employers.
I recall a visit a while ago. A little early, I sat in the waiting area, passing the time by counting the number of face piercings on the man opposite me, without being seen to stare. I got to nine before my name was called.
I sat down at the desk of the advisor, a hatchet faced woman who looked like she was having a very bad day. She spent a moment looking at my details on her screen, then initialled my log.
'I see you've been unemployed and claiming benefit for over two months, now, Mr Jobseeker', she said.
I imagined her writing 'must try harder' on my file.
'After three months you must consider work outside of your regular field, which is...' she looked at her screen.
'I.T', I said, helpfully.
'Yes, well, you must be prepared to do something else soon. Minimum wage will apply', she told me.
She entered search criteria onto her screen. A list of vacancies came up, she swivelled the screen around so that I could see it.
'How about this one?', she asked, pointing to an Oracle DBA position in Dagenham.
'It's not something I could do', I told her. 'I'm an analyst, I work more on the business side. This is a specialist, quite technical, role'.
'It's an I.T. job, isn't it?', she asked, incredulously.
'I should remind you, Mr Jobseeker, that failure to apply for a suitable position could result in the loss of benefit entitlement', she said.
I was about to try and convince her that suitability was indeed the issue, but then thought better of it.
'OK, I'll apply for it', I said wearily. She handed me a print of the details.
'Good luck with your application, Mr Jobseeker', she said, as I got up to leave.
I gratefully stepped out into the rain. Abandon hope all ye who enter!