I want to put the record straight. Not everyone who is unemployed is a waster who is lazy and happy to keep claiming Job Seekers instead of working. Not everyone sits at home watching day time television while laying on the sofa. I agree that unfortunately there are a lot of people who do fit that description and seem to make the headlines. However there are also a lot of people who are unemployed who actually hate it. They apply for every possible vacancy, they go on courses to improve their qualifications to increase their chances of employment, they do voluntary work to learn new skills, gain experience and keep in a working mentality. They hate living on a pittance of £67 per week. None of this £20,000 a year malarkey, just £67 per week to pay for food, utility bills, gaps in rent, run a car (if your lucky), interview clothes, and anything else they need. Its not easy. Its hard and life is not always fun.
I know this because I am one of them. I was made redundant nearly 4 years ago just as the recession was kicking in. Since then I have found it difficult to find paid employment. Two years ago I lost my flat and had to move back in with my Dad because I couldn't afford my own place any more. Despite these set backs I have been studying for a Masters degree, I volunteer at my local Museum and I apply for all the suitable vacancies that come up. I hate being unemployed and I hate having no money. However most of all I hate being treated like nothing because I am unemployed. I am still a person. I still deserve respect.
The worst offender is the Job Centre itself. More specifically the partner organisations that run various schemes and programmes to help get people back into work. Instead of treating you as an individual who has their own needs, specific skills and your own career path, they treat you as a majority and unfortunately its a majority that is moronic, lazy and untrustworthy. If you ring to say you can't make an appointment because your ill, they don't think your being responsible and letting them know, they think your lying and probably working! If you question why you need to go on yet another pointless training course to learn how to write a CV or an application form, they don't look at your specific case and realise that you have already been on at least 3 identical courses with other schemes that were all equally as useless. No, instead your are being disruptive, difficult and unwilling to co-operate. Instead of realising they need to offer something that is actually useful, they react by holding your pittance of a Job Seekers Allowance to ransom and threatening to suspend your claim for three months if you do not attend the training sessions and co-operate!
To add insult to injury they now get you to sign a consent form that allows them to contact your new employer if you get a job while on their scheme. This allows them to request information that they can then present to the DWP as evidence of their successes and get to claim funds for their company as a result! Even if they have done nothing to help you get that job they still will claim the credit if you sign that form!! To make it worse they do not explain this when they hand out the consent form. They simply say we need you to sign this form. Most people would blindly sign the form without reading. Well not me! When I pointed this out to my fellow unemployed colleagues at today's group meeting they were outraged and all refused to sign it. They all felt strongly that these schemes were unhelpful and were adamant that if they find work it will be because of their own hard work not this scheme that wastes their time, treats them as morons and doesn't respect them as individuals! They were certainly not going to help them get money for it!!
I was also told today that in Britain despite the recession and austerity cuts there is one booming industry. It is an industry that is regularly recruiting and has money to spend of creating posts. The industry? The Employment / Getting you Back to Work industry! That is right. The Government is happy to plough money into employing people to help other people find employment! There are no jobs for these people to go into because the Government has cut spending, cut jobs and basically screwed the Country over, yet they will pay people to advise you on how to get these non-existing vacancies! It makes me wonder whether Britain would be quite so bad off if the Government actually invested money in creating proper jobs for people who are unemployed instead of wasting their money of these pointless schemes!
I have to attend these courses and schemes because if I don't I won't get my pittance of £67 per week. Today I was told that I had to attend a training course everyday next week, including the day and time when I should be signing on at the Job Centre to get my pittance! The schemes response? Couldn't I get them to change my signing on time??? While your at it can you stop doing your voluntary work, and your MA course so that you can come to our "Back to Work" intensive course, so we can explain to you how to improve your chances of getting work by doing voluntary work, and improving your qualifications by doing courses! Is it me or do they clearly not have a clue what to do?
Next time you meet an unemployed person, stop to think before you judge them. They might not be the lazy, irresponsible, stupid scroungers that you read about in the newspapers. Instead they may be the hard working, responsible people trying to make ends meet with unrealistic amounts of money. They do not get treated as individuals and do not get shown any respect by the very organisations that are suppose to be supporting and helping them. They have it tough, and they could really do without you making them feel even worse. So please treat them with respect and remember if we are truly in this together, then one day that could be you.