Where The Hell Did My Job Go?


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'Make sure you always give yourself time for that afternoon down at the pub'

'It was worth reading even by under employed Americans'

'As one fellow job-seeker to another, hang in there'

'Let me check the spelling for you'

'Is it making money yet?'





Taking redundancy personally.

Friday, January 17, 2003
As my eBay empire expands to nearly one sale a week(!), I found myself trudging to the local post office to send off another book to another lucky customer. On my return I was faced with that classic dilemma – to walk or to help?

On spotting across the road, a man laid on the ground and a woman talking on her mobile, I thought I would at least offer assistance rather than ignore them and go home. It’s not as though I had anything to be doing.

She had seen the man have a fit and fall to the ground and had called the ambulance. All we could do was keep an eye on him, in case he had another seizure.

You will of course recognise this, as I did, as a great networking opportunity! I’d soon managed to turn the conversation around to my being unemployed and where did she work? A housing association. I had to tell her about my application for a job with Network Housing Association. She’d heard of them. Did she know about the Context system? Yes she did. Great. Could she get me some information about it to prepare me for a possible interview? Yes, she’d text me the company name. I gave her my number and said cheerio. About an hour later the text arrived and I found a wealth of information on their web site. Success. Just hope I get an interview now.

What can we learn from all this?
1)The London Ambulance provide an excellent service (they were there within 10 minutes).
2)You never know who you’re going to meet or where, every conversation could lead on to something useful for your jobhunt.
The conflicting advice must be “ensure that the airway is clear” and “never look a gifthorse in the mouth”.

Thursday, January 16, 2003
And then my prayers were answered! Success! It was as easy as opening a envelope.

The letter began “I was amazed when I saw how much money ca me flooding through my letterbox….” It continued “I turned £87 into £43,540 within the first 60 days of operating this business plan. If you decide to take action on the following instructions, I will personally GUARANTEE that you will enjoy a similar return!”

That guarantee comes from the author, David Rhodes of Norfolk. His life was transformed when he was made redundant in 1987 and transformed again when he followed this ‘plan’. Call me cynical, but when David fails to leave any contact details his guarantee seems somewhat…redundant.

For those that don’t know, this chain letter scheme would have me send £10 to each of the six named people in the letter. I would also send a copy of the letter I received to 200(!) other people who would in turn each send me £10. And so it blossoms as the letter circulates and the money constantly pours in through my letterbox.

I could only help wonder about the six people listed on my letter who are involved in this scheme. Are they rich? Are they stupid? Do they have 4096 tenners in shoe box under their bed? Are they sixty quid lighter than they were before they received this chain letter?

If you’re one of the six people and you’d like to get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.
A Morton, 42 Heather Road, Brakenwood, Bebington, Wirral, CH63 2PD
G Curzon, 81 Trueway Drive, South Shephed, LE12 9DY
S A Worden, 51 Holmesdale Road, London N6
J Edwards, 6 Jobs Lane, Tile Hill, Coventry CV4 9EE
J Barrand, 78 Hammond Way, Market Harborough LE16 9DY
A Arrowsmith, 111 Rosslyn Ave, Coundon, Coventry CV6 1GL.

Are you the same Mr Curzon that taught me GCSE Maths? And I’d particularly like to know why A Arrowsmith decided I was lucky enough to receive this chain letter?

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Halfway through January already! And still no job. Damn the economy!

Today is my first trip to the job centre of 2003, and it may be one of many. £53.95 isn’t a lot of money. £215.80 a month isn’t a lot of money. But you’d still be stupid to refuse it. And stupid is how I feel writing in my job log book that I’ve managed to make the required two job applications a week. So far this week, I’ve applied for 12.

The open plan job centre makes way for a sea of people collecting money. Once I’ve taken my ticket from the deli-counter style machine. It’s only a 45 minute wait by which time I’ve missed my half hour attendance slot through no fault of my own. Not that it really matters apparently. The person I hand my log book to (probably called an Unemployment Executive) doesn’t even bother to read it. I could have written my jobseeking skills as drinking tea and watching bid-up tv and she wouldn’t have known. I can now look forward to getting my money into my account. None of this old fashioned collecting the giro from the post office.

I feel reassured that the Jobseeker Direct scheme finds jobs for 2500 people a week. With the current unemployment rates at 928,300, I should be employed within 371 weeks or just over 7 years! All the more shocking when unemployent is at a 27 year low. How lucky I am to be made redundant at this easy time!

Monday, January 13, 2003

It never rains but it pours. When you’re redundant and are ‘lucky’ enough to own a car it seems that the downpour is torrential. OK, it’s only been a new battery, a new clutch cylinder and now a new tyre, in the three months since being made redundant. It all adds up when you’re trying to limit yourself to the expense of one daily travelcard a week, especially when they’ve gone up ten pence!

The cost of all these car parts will however be covered by the cheque shortly to arrive from WAGN for the refund of my season ticket. As anyone who has travelled with WAGN will know, the word ‘Delayed’ seems to be part of their Customer Charter. I’ve calculated that in six years of taking my short commute into Liverpool Street, I’ve spent more time on the platform than I have on the train!

It was enough hard work trying to obtain the Refund Application Form in the first place. After a paperchase involving two forms and three stations I was assured that my refund was being processed. It was some six weeks later before they assured me that my refund was definitely lost! I have been re-assured that someone is looking into my claim, although they’re not sure who. When I check the morning post, I am disappointed by WAGN on a daily basis, but at least it happens within the comfort of my home and not an a windswept suburban platform.

After making a couple of follow up phone calls to agencies to find people ‘on the other line’ or ‘at lunch’ I quickly lose my patience with agencies and return to old fashioned job hunting methods.

It’s been some time since I’ve filled in an application form and it was with some regret that I did. I thought I had progressed to the big grown up world of CV’s and covering letters, proving myself to be employable by communicating in my own style. Not so with an application form. I felt like I was sixteen years old again and applying for my first job. It was everything I could do to not list Scouts as a hobby.

Once the form was complete it was time for some pro-active job hunting. As part of building up the Top 100 companies list I would visit corporate sites and check under their Jobs/Careers section. It’s surprising how many companies advertise this way (although whether they advertise elsewhere too I don’t know.)

After site number ten, I’ve seen, again, lots of unsuitable vacancies. I’ve also built up a list of site to check back on in the future!