20 March 2012
A Delightful Trip to the Local Jobcentre Plus
The centre itself was somewhat like a book. Do NOT judge it by it's cover. I have to say I was a bit nervous about the whole deal. Strangely, what popped into my head first was what to wear. How do I appear not so bedraggled that I am mistaken for one of the drunks who regularly collects their dole, yet not so smart that I seem well-off and get robbed on my way out? Decisions. In the end I went for a jeans and pumps option which seemed to do nicely as I'm still very much alive and the security guard didn't throw me out.
Once I'd passed an angry looking drunk man smoking a strangely pungent roll-up on my way in I suddenly realised that I wasn't actually in a hell hole. Quite the opposite in fact. The room looked new and clean and it was quiet yet weirdly, very weirdly, friendly. I signed in and plonked myself down on a comfy sofa, feeling rather better than I had ten minutes ago. The butterflies flew off and I waited calmly to be seen.
While sitting and waiting for twenty minutes however, the cracks began to appear. Firstly, the over-abundance of security guards became a bit of an alarm bell. In a room about twenty by eight metres big, there were at least ten guards. They were all very friendly looking but I couldn't help wondering why quite so many of them were needed. Then, as I was ushered into a small office room to meet my advisor I was faced by a one inch thick pane of what I can only presume was bullet-proof glass. As I passed my documents through the tiny slit in the window and signed a million forms I imagined how many angry jobseekers there were. I felt like I was in a prison at visiting hours. Angry as I was, I wasn't about to shoot 'em up.
Finally, when asked what kind of jobs I was looking for I have to admit I felt darned stupid answering 'editorial assistant roles in journalism or publishing'. Apparently, that job spec isn't even on the national Jobseekers Plus computer system. Timidly I added, 'or PA/secretarial roles' to downplay the 'I'm a posh twat with a degree' side of my application. After being handed a flyer about a local job fair where I was told I could apply for roles at Greg's the bakery, I left the centre as hurriedly as possible with some sense of my pride intact. Not that I mind working in a shop, I just applied to a job in the new Westfield, only, I could have found out that gem of a work opportunity on my own thanks.
So I haven't moved far from square one... it's all snakes and ladders really and I was never much good at that game. I am waiting for hear back from an interview I had with a small publishing company for an internship. It would be amazing, nay spectacularly amazing if I got the job. I'll keep you posted.