It’s amazing how much less I write in here now I don’t have the Jobcentre winding me up on a weekly basis. I’m gonna be honest… it’s pretty blissful.
Since leaving the Jobcentre, my job applications have dropped dramatically because I am no longer applying for admin positions. I would happily work in admin, but the lack of experience on my CV is obviously a big problem for companies who are too lazy/tight to train people up. Sad, but true.
I have also seen a distinct lack of entry level marketing positions recently. My theory is that we’re entering intern season: so why pay someone to do a job you can get an undergrad to do for free?! (This probably marks me out as being an extreme skeptic, but I’ve been doing this too long to be surprised by anything.) I am, by the way, willing to undertake a short unpaid internship for up to 3 months, but the only ones I’ve seen thus far have been posted on dodgy websites that I don’t have the slightest bit of trust in.
My dad is an antiques dealer and now sells solely on eBay, and so I have joined him. I’ve sold some paperweights, I have some Dinky cars ending tonight, and I’ve just today sold half of my wardrobe that I have recently shrunk out of (nobody tells you how bloody expensive losing weight is).
I’m not making too much money because my dad paid over the odds for those bloody cars (and yes I have to pay him back), but the paperweights have made a tidy little profit, and obviously selling my clothes instead of getting 50p for them at a carboot or taking them to a charity shop has made my bank balance a lot more attractive to look at.
And above all, it beats being a jobseeker. I feel a lot more fulfilled actually working for my money, even though it probably works out less than JSA. It keeps me busy (job seeking does not take that long, no matter what Iain Duncan Smith believes), it looks good on my CV, I don’t feel so very bloody useless, and I only have to answer to my mom about why I haven’t applied for any jobs this week.
Of course, eBay’s fees are extortionate, and some customers are goddamn rude. Trying to get the postage prices accurate is hard work, and I do worry when it looks like I’m not going to get as much for an item as I hoped. (Free listing days make up for this, though.)
But so what. Now nobody can accuse me of being a scrounger, and I feel a lot less… stagnant. If people ask what I do, I don’t have to say, “Oh I work in a museum but I’m also on JSA.” Now I can say, “I work in a museum and I also sell antiques on eBay.” And surprisingly, people find this interesting. Growing up in a house of musty smelling, woodworm eaten furniture has made me immune to just how fascinating other people find what I’m doing with my life. And that has to beat bitching on Facebook every Tuesday about the woman at the Jobcentre.
I’m lucky because I know this isn’t a choice for a lot of people. I have an expert in my dad, so I don’t buy rubbish (although he has been known to waste his money), and I don’t have all the normal costs associated with living (only child, parents who are willing to support me). And because I know how lucky I am, I still get very angry at the government’s rhetoric against benefit claimants and the unemployed. Being unemployed isn’t a crime, but I am all too aware how current trends make people think as though it is.
The current economic climate has made people very scared. If you read The Guardian’s comments, this is no mistake but all part of Tory ideology. I don’t know if I believe that, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Have too few jobs, and people will fight over the scraps. People will be willing to work in a supermarket on a zero hours contract so their bosses can save even more money by not paying tax on them. And then those who are working the shitty jobs for minimum wage get pissy at those they see as living the life of riley on the dole (seriously, try living as you’re accustomed to on the dole. I dare you.). And then of course you have the Workfare farce which is predicated on the idea that all jobseekers are idiots with no education, work experience or an ounce of common sense, and if only you gave them the chance to stack shelves for £2.02 an hour, they will kiss your feet and thank you as they work their way up to checkout star.
I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m pretty sure it’s not austerity and the suppression of the jobs market. Thankfully, all I have to worry about is if my mint condition Dinky flatbed truck will make the £150 it deserves. (You can see my eBay here, if you so fancy.)