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Sunday, 26 July 2009

Time Flies When You've Got A Job

I can't believe it's been a week since I last updated the Blog.
My first week in my new job has gone so quickly, but more on that later.
First, the few things I needed to write up from before:
More tales from The Jobby:
Before starting my new job I had to pop down to the Jobby to get some paperwork signed and to sign off. Whilst I was waiting I overheard (read:evesdropped) the following conversations:
Lady: You up pub tonight?
Man: I can't. I'm banned in I?
Lady: Ooh what you banned fer?
Man: Sellin' stuff in the pub!
Lady: Hahaha 'ow long fer?
Man: Ahh couple months I reckon. Just keep a low profile, innit?
Lady: What's the longest you've been banned fer up there?
Man: Year?
Lady: Ha, not as long as me! 6 years is my record!
Cue sounds of admiration from the surrounding audience.
Just then, a young lad walks in and approaches the security desk / reception. Name has been changed to protect his identity. Actually, I can't remember it anyway.
Lad: Ross Smiff. Got an appoin'ment.
Employee: What's it for?
Lad: Signin on.
Employee: Is it for a new claim?
Lad: Yes.
Employee: Ok Ross, if you want to take a seat and wait for your name to be called. DO NOT STEP OFF THE LAMINATED FLOOR AND ONTO THE CARPET UNTIL INSTRUCTED TO DO SO BY A MEMBER OF STAFF! (I made that bit up but I could tell she was thinking it).
Lad: Uhhhh I don't fink I'm allowed to sit down!
Employee: Why?
Lad: I've been banned.
Security Guard then has to come over and inspect the lad to decide if he is now allowed back in the building.
Talk about biting the hand that feeds you! Why on Earth would you get banned from the Jobcentre?!
That said, I also noticed a couple of men referring to the day as "payday" and saying they were going to "kick right off" if their money wasn't ready for them.
And before I leave the world of the Jobby behind (hopefully forever), something else I wanted to moan about.
For those who have never been, when you get to the Jobby, you report to reception / security desk and then take a seat and wait for an advisor to call you.
However, some of the advisors like to do one of two really irritating (and not to mention RUDE) things:
1) Stay seated whilst they holler your name, and then watch you scornfully as you creep around trying to work out who has called you.
2) Whisper your name so quietly that nobody hears it. Ten minutes later they then walk to the seating area and say your name at a normal volume. If you aren't fortunate enough to hear that, they will then come back over and say it fractionally louder than before. At which point you might hear it for the first time and stand up at the exact same moment they discover the volume control on their voicebox to shout at you in front of everyone else: "THREE TIMES I'VE CALLED YOUR NAME! I WAS ABOUT TO WRITE YOU OFF!!"
Another word for this type of behaviour is bullying, and if you notice it happen please stand up for the person in question because I don't believe anyone deserves to be treated like that whether they've got a job or not.
If I ever have the misfortune of going back in there again it will be too soon.
Some fantastic news from one of my old line managers, who I used to regularly bump into at the Jobby. He has got a job as a senior manager, doing something he has always wanted to do and is over the moon about it. No thanks to the Jobcentre though, who provided him with no help whatsoever and very nearly ruined his chances with the job in question.
Their expert suggestions during his "(GET) Back To Work" Seminar such as "Make sure you have an up to date CV" and "don't just apply for one type of job" were no doubt invaluable to someone who was previously responsible for assisting the day to day management of around 400 members of staff.
He had to travel to attend the interview and heard that you could claim back your travel expenses, so during his routine Jobby appointment enquired about doing so.
No sooner had the employee filled out the relevant form, she was on the phone to his prospective new employer, asking them to confirm he did actually have an interview there so that she could process his claim for £7 petrol money!
The poor guy had no idea she was about to do it and was absolutely mortified. He then had to attend the interview worrying the whole way up there that they were going to judge him as some penny-pinching doley and wondering whether he should mention it to them or just pretend it never happened. Needless to say, he did not ask the Senior Recruitment Manager to sign a slip proving he had attended, and told the Jobby to stick their £7.
Interestingly, he told me that during the last recession, there were actually two sections of the Jobcentre. One for unskilled people looking for entry level positions, and an "Executive Team" who were specifically trained to help people with, for instance, managerial experience back into the workplace.
I've no doubt that tips on writing a CV and guidance on how to speculatively apply for jobs are useful for people who are not already equipped with that knowledge, but for someone who does not need that assistance it is simply a mutual waste of time and money.
It certainly seems from my experience and from conversations I have had with others in the same situation that the Jobcentre nowadays essentially exists as a huge processing unit for those people who do not want to work, or for those who do not know how to get back into work.
In the case of the latter, I sincerely hope it is a useful resource.

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