I love my job. This is the first job I’ve ever had where I actively look forward to going to work. I love the people, I like the atmosphere, and I love love LOVE writing.
I may be a bit biased as recently I had some very good feedback on my work, but that just proves to me that writing is what I was meant to do. It’s what I’m best at. It’s what gives me joy and meaning.
This is why I find the way the DWP and the JCP operate so very frustrating. It seems obvious to me that the entire point of the Jobcentre and JSA is to make you so very depressed and upset that you will take anything, ANY job that is offered to you. And to me, this is the wrong way to do things.
I had one of my wisdom teeth removed yesterday. It was completely unexpected; totally out of the blue. I went to moan about one wisdom tooth and she took a completely different one out there and then. I’ve been in pain and I’m dosed up on painkillers, but because I enjoy my job and care about letting people down, I went to work. If I had a job I didn’t enjoy and didn’t care for, I’m sure I would have phoned in sick.
Some people take pride in whatever job they do, and they are to be commended. I take pride in all my work and I’m a bloody hard worker, but I would never be pleased to just have a job if it was one I hated. Nobody should feel that any job is better than no job, because nobody can do every job out there. Many people couldn’t do my job. I couldn’t work in sales or in anything that involved customer service or phones because I’m a massive wuss and things like that lead to anxiety (yes, despite being a drama kid and loving being on stage).
If I was in charge of the DWP, I would want to do things differently. Everybody has strengths and skills and jobs that will give them joy. Before this job, I honestly couldn’t imagine a time where I’d be happy to go to work, but I’m already there! It can be the same for everybody, I’m sure of it. The JCP needs dedicated advisors who aren’t there to punish you, but are more like the National Careers Service: to help you identify your skills and what work you would enjoy. If people are matched to jobs they enjoy, I could see less time being loss through sickness and a healthier working atmosphere. Productivity would go up and everyone would benefit. We often hear about people ‘languishing away on the dole’ – but can you blame them when they know that the only work out there for them is something they despise? And if you say you’d take any job – would you really? Could you work with children? Prisoners? In an abattoir? Down a mine?
And work, to me, also involves stay at home parents. At the moment, unless they have oodles of money, these people have a rough deal. But think about it: they’re bringing up the next generation with the patience of a saint (I worked in a nursery and SAH parents definitely have more patience than I), and I’d imagine will go on to have deep, loving relationships with them. My mom has only worked weekends since I was born and she’s my best friend. I can tell her anything, and I believe I truly benefitted from not attending a nursery and instead staying with my mom, dad or grandparents (depending on the day). These parents need to be supported and not vilified as they are currently (“Single mom with three kids claims £x in benefits shocker!”) And often, from most of the young mums I know, they go on to be deeply creative and end up setting their own businesses because they have the freedom to be able to pursue what they enjoy.
I don’t see why we have this culture where any employment is seen as good, when clearly it isn’t. I understand how some people fear that if we supported the unemployed more than we do currently, they’d take the piss, but I don’t think this is true. And if they did take the piss, then yes, maybe then we could threaten them with shitty jobs. But I’m pretty sure someone would quickly change their tune when they’re being given the opportunity to do something they enjoy or develop their skills in a way which would lead to something they enjoy.
Slightly veering off the topic of ideal jobs: what the hell is with the requirement for jobseekers to travel 90 minutes EACH WAY to work?! You certainly couldn’t do that on minimum wage and I can’t imagine it would be very good for the person’s mental wellbeing either. People need time at home and with their friends, to recharge their batteries and to be able to start each day fresh, not after a 90 minute journey on a sweaty, overcrowded bus.
I think that things are currently the way they are because most MPs have led a life of privilege and haven’t had to spend hour after hour trawling shitty minimum wage jobs just to get the pittance of £71 a week.
And let’s not forget the differences between unemployment pay in the EU. This is taken from Twitter so I’m not sure of the original source but I have heard it before: “Fact: UK JSA is 18% of average wage. Equivalent in Germany is 45%, in France 47% and in Sweden 78%.”
Remember this the next time you hear someone say that benefits are generous.
If you enjoy reading people whining about the JCP and all that is wrong with it, I really recommend this blogpost (and the blog as a whole) which really goes some way to pointing out the faults of the idiots we have in charge.
There’s also this blog post, showcasing some of the absolutely ridiculous/downright terrifying reasons people have been sanctioned by the Jobcentre.
PS Having a wisdom tooth out fucking HURTS. But it’s worth it as I am no longer chewing a hole in my gum.