Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Reflections on being unemployed

For £72 odd per week Job Seeker's Allowance, I'm supposed to spend 35 hours per week job seeking - not much more than £2 an hour. A fairly clear incentive to not claim JSA, and thus not be counted as seeking work.

My job seeking comprises trawling through e-mails with links to jobs, looking for ones for which I have skills/experience that seems to match the recruiter's requirements and that don't involve absurd amounts of travelling or relocation.

This is a needle in a haystack exercise; although I do find jobs that my skills/experience do somewhat match, the applications in the main fall into a black hole. One or two "unfortunately" e-mails do come back and I suppose it's better to fal at the first hurdle on these things rather than failing to be the best at interview.

"There are jobs out there if people want them; they just have to look" is the mantra, but asserting the first clause does not make it true, however many times or however forcefully it is repeated. As to the second clause, it seems absurd. In what sense are jobs "hidden" and if they are, why?

My experience is that jobs are advertised by more than one agency, and are put in e-mails over and over again, such that I'm always finding jobs I've already applied for or already seen and decided not to apply for.

These jobs are really positions - that is engagements for several hours a week for extended periods of time. And by recruiting people with experience and skills the recruiters are abdicating their responsibility of training the people they employ. Someone else can do that. This makes the situation all the more tricky. I wouldn't object to being trained, but there has to be a position to go with the training. Otherwise, how does one choose what training to receive? Bricklaying? PHP? Sage? Raisers' Edge?

Find what you enjoy and do that is another maxim, bit it is not compatible with paying the bills, nor with spending 35 hours a week job searching (which has to include applying for jobs) nor with matching skills/experience with the posts available.

[touch of writer's block, now. To be continued, perhaps]

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