Life Coach Magazine

Signing on at the Job Centre

By Joblessandbored @UKunemployed

It was time for my fortnightly visit to the Job Centre today. As it wasn’t raining I decided to take my own advice and walk there. I had no other plans so was in no hurry. A quick look on Google maps told me it was a 5 mile walk, so I got my headphones and trainers on and set out across town. It took me about an hour and fifteen minutes which went surprisingly quickly.

One thing I now realise and that I probably should have thought about before, is to make sure you wear comfortable trainers for walking, or any exercise. Mine rubbed so much that both of my heels blistered, the right one to the point that blood went through my sock and stained the back of my trainer! (I took a photo of it but have decided against putting it on here). I should have worn my old comfy trainers that don’t rub, lesson learnt!

From what I can gather, most Job Centres around the country are similar. You get a mixture of all types of people, but there seems to be a high concentration of what I lovingly call “low-life scum”. Maybe it’s just that they hang around outside for longer, noisily drinking Super Tennants or cheap cider that you notice them. Either way I was pleased to see that there were no drunks, chavs, staffies or BMXs in sight, and as I was early I could sit in peace on the wall near a homeless looking man until it was my appointment time.

I got there too early because I wasn’t sure how long it’d take me to walk, I gave myself far too long, all the fitness work has obviously paid off! I went in 15 minutes early because I was getting bored outside and sat on the sofas to wait for my signing on time. It really is quite a depressing place. I generally just sit in silence and listen to other people moaning about how they can’t get work, and the Job Centre/benefits in general. There were two women talking at the top of their voices about how they couldn’t get anything, etc. One had been doing a work trial somewhere but failed the CRB (criminal records bureau) check so wasn’t allowed to do some part of the job and it didn’t really sound like much of a success story. Why they have to talk so loudly and tell the whole world their business I don’t know. At least that’s one person I will (hopefully!) be ahead of when it comes to applying for jobs! Just need to get ahead of the other 2.5 million now, easy.

I know a lot of people have had problems but I have no major complaints about the Job Centre or benefits system so far. It is rubbish getting £67.50 a week to live on, but then if I was working I wouldn’t be happy if people were getting paid the same amount as me to do nothing. (I am referring to the people that choose not to work because it’s easier not to, not the many that DO want a job but are unable to find one). So I guess it is a fair amount, even if I do struggle to live on it. (I get council tax and housing benefits too so the rent and council tax are covered at least). A few weeks ago a woman started speaking to me, (well, at me) about how f**ing s**t it is having to sign on to get money, f**k this, f**k that, how they stop your money if you don’t turn up and so on. Eventually I conceded that it’s “a pain in the arse” to shut her up, but in truth I don’t mind it. It’s not exactly a hardship to visit the Job Centre twice a month.

Although I don’t know why they even call it the Job Centre because as far as looking for work goes, they have been no help at all. As long as I hand in the sheet to prove that I have applied for jobs then they don’t care. I could have easily made it all up as most of the jobs I’ve applied for are through a job agencies website so it doesn’t give you the actual company name. I didn’t though and have rejection emails to prove it! (You swines!). I was called by the advisor and went to the desk, he asked me if I had anything to declare or had I done any work since I last signed, I said no and he gave me the sheet to sign before saying I could go. I said “Is that it?” as I thought I may have misheard him but no, that was it. Didn’t suggest a single job for me, thanks for your help there Job Centre!

So I walked on into the town centre, every step becoming more painful because of my stupid blistered and bleeding heels and handed in an application form that I’d picked up the other day from a shop. I don’t even really want the job to be honest. Apart from a few months when I was younger, I’ve never worked in a shop before but I’m just applying for anything now. Anything will be better than nothing until I can find something better.

I withdrew my last £10 and met my friend for lunch in the pub, I bought a pint but couldn’t afford a meal as well so didn’t eat. He did offer to buy me lunch but I said I wasn’t hungry as I don’t like to keep taking from people all the time when I’ve got no way of repaying them.

He went back off to work and I took my decrepit feet to the bus stop as I couldn’t manage the walk home. My heels are sore and look pretty grim this evening so I regret my choice of trainers to walk in. Still, it saved me £1.80!

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