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This is a question Unemployed

I was Mordred writes, "I've been out of work for a while now... however, every cloud must have a silver lining. Tell us your stories of the upside to unemployment."

You can tell us about the unexpected downsides too if you want.

(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 10:02)
Pages: Popular, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

new deal-it aint too bad
I work for a company that 'offers' training and education to people who have been unemployed for over 6 and 12 months and are sent to us by the JCP (New Deal). the good bit is that we all genuinely want to help people find work, gain new skills, use old skills etc etc. We will do all that we can to help people find work. The many many downsides to this are- the frikkin jobcentre never tell their customers why they are being sent to us so they all arrive with attitudes and huge chips on shoulders. By the time people get to realise how we can help them, its time for them to leave. The ones whho actually dont want to work are either so open about it its unreal, ('why should I work? My dad never..") or spend so much time and effort shirking that they may as well just sit and learn something. And last but not least, nearly everyone who comes to us has a better mobile, better car, has HD Flat Screen TV with full on Sky inc sports packages -
WTF! I work my ass off and Im still skint!

But there is a lot of job satisfaction,when someone finds a decent job and smiles from ear to ear. If you ever find yourself on one of these new deal things, please remember we are here to help and we are NOT the jobcentre!
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 23:09, 1 reply)
I work for a big mobile firm that rhymes with Bo Poo....
This week my job is at risk from redundancy, and (although I am sh*ting my pants) I am weighing up the odds.
Potentially I have 7mths wages as a pay out.
I have debts of about half of that I could pay off.
I am interested in learning a trade - this is why I am posting this to my fellow b3tans.
Am I being a fool? Or should I get redeployed into a role I don't want but will pay my mortgage (I have 3 kids also).
Apologies for the lack of punchline.... :-(
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 23:02, 9 replies)
How NOT to lose your job and become unemployed...
1) Never be too keen to know your job role, how it fits within the company and it's impact on the company's profit & loss. Especially pointing out during review time how much money you've saved the company and how much money you've made the company. ESPECIALLY when part of your job it reporting on your companies Profit & Loss.

2) Never work harder than your 'colleagues'. You might be damn good at your job; work that extra time to make it a top notch job (without being paid overtime) or finish your designated work within time. Don't ever show what a bunch of lazy tossers your work 'colleagues' are. Pride in your work means nothing against your colleagues slagging you off to the boss.

3) Never show any initiative. On my last 'review' I was marked a 2 out of 5 on my 'Improvisation to Increase 'Company' Potential section'. This was despite writing several macros to shorten our jobs, showing my manager how to use 'sort' within Excel (FFS!), explaining to my manager how reinsurance works (one for insurance workers out there). Why did I get 2 out of 5? My managers' comment "'Smurf' has been a great asset to the team and has mixed in well (there were only 3 of us!!!!!). However, he should try not to think out of the box to much. (sic)

4) Never look at progressing your role,certainly never look for promotion and don't EVER know more than your manager (even if you really do).

I would like to say that I learnt the lessons above and have prospered, but I haven't, because I didn't follow them.

All you need to get on in employment is to kiss the right arses, and I refuse to do that.
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 22:35, 1 reply)
A query on the matter of Job Centre
So I've been stuck in the demoralizing loop of the jobcentre for about six months. I'm looking for jobs in computing, mainly- I have a degree in one of those flimsy games design courses, *and* thirteen months' worth of industry experience culmunating in a proper, disc-based release you can actually go out and buy new in shops and everything. Since the UK games industry seems to have shut up shop recruitmentwise completely, I'm looking outside my immediate field for, as I say, other jobs in computing- software engineering, web/multimedia design, that sort of thing. Even setting computers up will do.

So why on earth, given that I'm exclusively contacting computer companies exclusively to work with computers, have none of the jobs the Job Centre has suggested to me had an email address attached to apply through?
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 21:57, 5 replies)
Silver lining...
While I was unemployed between college and my first Real Job(tm), I was living the high life. I slept to all hours, went out till dawn, smoked more hookah than my lungs could handle, went to any party or get together I heard, bought whatever I needed and generally fucked about.

Did I coast off savings? Had my carefully collected pennies allowed me to take a few months off in relaxation while I waited for the job offers to come rolling in?

Did I fuck.

I lived off my credit card, and even with the fairly decent income coming in from the frankly miraculous job I got, it will take me years to pay off the debt I accrued in those few months. I have zero savings, and all my future plans for vacations or big purchases are shot to hell.

Conclusion - that silver lining? Don't put it on credit.
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 21:52, Reply)
'Positive' Thinking
We've all had those rubbish, low paid, means-to-an-end jobs. Mine was in a chemical analysis laboratory that checked soil and water samples for all manner of nasty smelly things.

There's a thousand and one entertaining things I can say about that job (and probably will in future QOTWs), but for the moment all you need to know is that I was *desperate* to leave there for various reasons - the main one being that the pay was atrociously low, and I needed more cash.

Now, a hippy friend of mine could tell how narked off this place was getting me, and gave me a great spiel about the power of the human mind. She told me about the uncharted capabilities of strong thought, and told me to imagine, as vividly as I could, leaving the place. She told me to think about getting a new job, writing my letter of resignation, saying goodbye to everyone, clearing my desk into a box, carrying it out of the gate, and waiting for the bus home for the last ever time.

Well, what harm could it do? I played along and thought very hard about kissing goodbye to the place. I probably thought a little too hard about the resignation letter, what I would say to my old boss and what bodily fluids I could leave in his coffee machine (more about him in a future QOTW too)

A week later I was made redundant. Bugger.

The whole thing was made doubly worse by the fact that (because I was a matter of weeks from working there for the required two years) I got absolutely sod-all from them in the way of redundancy payment.

And then later that same week, the radio show I'd been working on at weekends was axed too.

I've made it my business not to think too hard about anything ever since...
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 21:28, Reply)
unemployed for the first time
after 22 years of continuous employment, i was potted at christmas. i was initially gutted, but unemployment has given me a chance to re assess what i want and need out of a job. i have always worked in engineering/manufacturing environments-generally in dirty and dangerous shithole factories, and i realised that this was due to necessity rather than design. i had to take whatever job came along to pay the bills.
now i have a little time and a bit of savings, i am looking to change carrer paths and do something retail or office based (it may be crap, but i want to try it), failing that i will go into full time education. i will never again work in a dirty pit of depravity!
i have also been able to spend a lot more time with my kids, i have been able to spend a good few afternoons in the pub, i have time to go out and take photos at leisure and generally have a good relax.
i have had days where i am very down, when i get knock backs from job interviews i know i did well in, but you have to stay positive.
having to prostrate yourself in front of the dole once a fortnight is horrible though.
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 21:06, 1 reply)
I've been unemployed but never been fired
or even left a job because the boss/colleagues were a bunch of cunts.

However, on Monday morning (or probably Sunday to be honest) I will be doing exactly that.

I am self-employed, and have been for the past seven years. And no, I am not resigning from self-employment because I am a cunt. That would just be silly.

Anyway, a couple of years ago the cash flow started to dry up - anyone who is self-employed knows the joy of freedom is tinged with the misery of not having a regular income.So, I took on a Saturday job. I actually love that job, but it pays only a little more than minimum wage, and by the time I've paid out my diesel costs, it works out at about £200 extra a month.

But the straw that broke this camel's back is the third job - the Monday to Friday job I took up three weeks ago to add to the money coming in.

When I started, they threw me into the place with only a vague job description of 'perform miracles' and every idea I tried to implement was met with 'no, we don't want that' or 'costs too much'. The upsode of the job was that the other staff were all really nice and friendly and very helpful.

So today, the deputy manager takes me to one side and says I'm not providing what they wanted, and on top of that, all the other staff had complained about me.

Well, being a tough, resilient coper, I promptly burst into tears, struggled through the rest of the afternoon with all the other staff pretending to be nice to me, and sobbed my way home to mr b3th.

Currently, I am (still) sobbing my fucking heart out - I don't take criticism well, and I hate the thought of 'failing' at what is honestly not a complicated job - drinking myself to sleep, and eating stupid amounts of chocolate.

Tomorrow I will pull myself together, head off to my Saturday job, and take lots of prescription strength painkillers.

On Sunday I will go back to that hell-hole (probably taking mr b3th for moral support), collect my stuff, and inform them that they are very welcome to stuff their job up their arse.

They won't be happy, but I don't need a reference from them, what with having two other jobs to survive on.

On the other hand, I have deep confidence issues, depression, and am finding it really hard to accept yet another 'failure' to my long list.

There really isn't a punchline, or even a point, but I really need to vent tonight, and this QOTW just came along at the right time.
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 20:50, 10 replies)
Forget the DWP.....
The Department for Work and Pensions cannot hold a candle to those Loose Women!

About 5 years ago, your very own BadBob had been canned from a large Train Opertaing Company. They had legitimate reason. I was lazy, was letting everyone travel for free and was so pissed off with the job I had even taken to letting off fire extinguishers on empty trains and blaming the local urchins.

So, the day after being given the orders to march from the premises, I presented myself at the local ExtremeJobCentrePlusExtraInnit and demanded some cash from the bespectacled civil servant sat behind the plexi-glass shield. I believed I was entitled to at least a pittence a week as I had been paying taxes all my adult life (of about 4 years at this point).

I was instead given a ream of paperwork, a stern lecture on the evils of the unemployed and a telling off for being careless and forgetting where I had put my old job. I was also given instructions to return in 2 weeks.

Being of sound financial mind I thought I had nothing better to do than spend my last paycheck from ScotRail on a new (well, used) car and return my actual new car to the dealer. This left me with approximate savings of -£700.

For 6 weeks I duly attended the JobSeekers sessions (why is the second syllable in gov always capitalised), and was presented with £45 a week for my troubles. I had a weekly argument with the JobsWorths about why I was not commuting the 75 miles to Carlisle for minimum wage and about how I had a degree and was generally better then them. They threatened to take my money away from me if I didn't go to the interviews in Cumbria.

Do you know what actually encouraged me to go find a job? Not the threats of the civil servant scum, but those Loose Women bints on ITV. I couldn't take daytime TV anymore! It was either suicide or take a mon-fri job.

And thats how BadBob found himself moving to Bristol to be manager of a large city-centre hotel. A trade he knew feck-all about but seemed to be able to talk a good interview.

The upside of it all.... I met my girlfriend in Bristol. Long story I know, but shows everything has an upside. :-)
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 20:47, Reply)
Meh
I'm coming to the end of a grad course. Applied for quite a lot of jobs and mostly heard nothing, so unemployment seems to be looming.

Then today I got an email off a friend asking me if I want to up sticks, move to Argentina and work for him for 3000 pesos a year (£560). Its horribly, horribly tempting.
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 20:24, 6 replies)
sausage and chips

unemployment me hole.

I'm sitting here at work stuffing my face with sausage and chips covered in red sauce , sipping hot tea and reading all these amusing tales...

Hope to be jeesis that the recession has reached its inverted peak.

munch munch scoff slurp
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 20:24, Reply)
When unemployed
...do not take on a lodger that has easy and very regular access to weed and/or accept their rent in weed. It does not help you find another job and certainly doesn't help pay the bills.

BUT it does make daytime television more palatable. I speak through experience (many, many years ago).
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 20:20, 1 reply)
How timely
I write for Flush and last Tuesday we were told that the title is being pulled and we've lost our jobs.

Nice.
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 19:45, 3 replies)
'On the sick' and my acting debut.
Over 10 years ago I had a period of unemployment due to having a bit of a breakdown at my last job. Stress, bullying and overuse of amphetamines to get through the workload culminated in a very poorly big-girl's-blouse. I became very depressed and one day had a doozy of a panic attack and never went back to work.

So I'm confirmed by the doctor as a fully fledged wacko and I'm given incapacity benefit and left to sit in my house for months on end watching daytime TV and slowly turning into Jabba the hut.

Now at that time every year you had to visit another doctor who would confirm you were still ill and valid for incapacity benefit. This took place in some faceless grey building in the city and filled you with dread at the thought you might lose your money.

As we all know, there are plenty of people who don't walk around looking like the living dead because they are depressed or mentally unstable but look normal and healthy but just can't work as they aren't reliable or strong enough emotionally to do so. I figured that it wasn't enough to just BE depressed, I had to ACT it also.

Before the appointment with the doctor I didn't wash my hair for a week, I chose the plainest clothing I could find and didn't iron them. I didn't want to turn up filthy because that would be going too far. I wanted to look like a normal middle-class women who just couldn't cope any more, (which was true really), and not a working class work-shy dole scrounger. I arrived and sat in the seating area and thought sad thoughts until my name was called. I eventually went in and the scene was set.

I gave the performance of a life time. I sat hunched in my uncomfortable plastic chair looking sad but not sullen and answered the doctors questions, carefully thinking about what he wanted to hear. Some I answered truthfully and some I embellished for effect and I began to realise that I was probably safe for another year.

I often say to myself when watching a wonderful performance from some actor in a film that I could never do what they do but then I remember my time on the sick and think......mmmmm! maybe I could.
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 19:42, 8 replies)
not unemployed
but I have waaay too much time. I spend most of it on my psp, which I may or may not have custom firmware on. this guy I know is always ranting about it. he's just jealous, cos hs can't play stakker or homebrew stuff. some of tham thar emulators are lookin' kinda tempting too...
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 19:30, Reply)
Not currently unemployed.
And rather grateful for it. However, the organisation I work for is apaprently trying to shed 50% of their workforce inside the next three years. Add this to the fact that they keep holding meetings and not telling my department head about them...

Anyway, every now and again I stroll into the local Jobcentre and the question I have is this:

No matter what criteria I input, no matter what I specify in terms of location, salary and preferred field, how come the Jobcentre computerbollocks system keeps offering me a job as a welder? In Aberdeen?
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 19:01, 4 replies)
Fired on Vacation
I was in the middle of Iowa. Riding with Lance Armstrong. Literally. I was riding about 5ft from the cycling great as a member of Team LIVESTRONG and was using a week of my vacation time to ride 512 miles to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation in memory of my Sister Lisa who died after a brief battle with breast cancer.

So I am tooling along, with the greatest cyclist of all time and my cell phone rings. "Hmmmm me thinks...I wonder why the Dallas Sales office is calling me when they know I am on my bike riding with Lance?"

I said "Hey, I am going to take this call guys. I will catch up with you." Lance turned and said "You better!"

So I take the call and my Boss, Laurie, says "Yeah, We've decided to make some changes...we are going to get rid of all our remote reps. So we are going to have to let you go."

So I asked "Are You REALLY doing this on my VACATION?!" Her Reply: "Well, I REALLY didn't want to do this while you were on vacation."

My immediate response: "But: You're DOING it."

Then, seeing as I was in rural Iowa, standing at the edge of a cornfield, I claimed I was in a bad cell and hung up on her. About an hour later, she rings me back: "SO?! How is the ride with Lance going?! You must be having a great time!"

WTF?!

Still, as a result, I took the time to work through an idea I had for a technology solution AND, we now have a functioning prototype and are lining up financing. So, Thanks Laurie...you bint. Your firing me may well be the best thing that happened to me in 2008!
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 18:55, 1 reply)
Breaking News
In a bid to tackle the growing global drug problem, the UN have launched a new campaign. They are hoping to recruit pop artists in order to get the anti-drugs message across to young people. They want to release a song that will convey the destructive nature of drug abuse and the harm that it inflicts on people's lives. The project will be known as the UN hemp lament.
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 18:42, 3 replies)
The Ironing!
The letter in the brown envelope congratulated me on passing the first stage of the selection process and detailed the time and location for the numeracy and literacy tests which would form the basis of the second stage of the candidate selection procedure. At the end of the letter was a paragraph, in bold, instructing candidates to bring a calculator and a passport sized photograph.

I arrived at the venue in good time, suited and booted, and reported to reception whereupon I was instructed to go and sit in a room with the other fifty ‘successful’ candidates.

This all took place in a dreary conference room at the foot of a monstrosity of a hotel alongside the M6 toll road in Cannock. A town famous only for the fact that Stan Collymore threw one up a dirty housewife at one of the local ‘Dogging’ spots. It was particularly galling as I had left behind the hills, open countryside and sunshine of North Wales to travel to the tests.

The room was filled with three distinct types of people. Middle aged women who had made a career out of administration. Middle aged, middle managers; men called Colin, with pot bellies and bad ties who most probably drove a Vauxhall Astra and still lived with their parents and a selection of ethnic minorities who had probably demanded an interview under the governments inspired ‘guaranteed interview’ scheme.

Fucking communists and their politically correct ‘jobs for everyone’ bollocks.

We were ushered into the conference room where the tables had been laid out like a school examination hall. As the middle aged lady administered our details the late-comers started arriving and questions were posed by the candidates too stupid to read the instructions in the letter. One middle aged administrator had brought a passport sized photograph with her. And beautifully laminated into the identification page of her passport it was too. A number of candidates had neglected to bring a photograph at all. This was no problem for our model of efficiency who was ticking boxes and writing names in triplicate. “That will be fine as long as you bring a photo in before three o’clock”.

Thus began my lesson in the equality, politics and inefficiency of a public body. If I was invigilating the exam this would have provided me with the perfect opportunity to sort the wheat from the chaff.

Late? See you, good luck.
No photograph? See you, good luck.
No calculator? See you, good luck.
Too much of a mong to spot that the passage contained the word ‘there’ instead of ‘their’ or that the word ‘difficulty’ contained about six additional letters? See you, good luck.

At the end of the thirty minute test, the affable middle aged administrator collected our answer sheets and promptly despatched them to a room full of middle aged administrators who kept us waiting for twenty-five minutes whilst they marked the papers. Upon her return the room a roll call of twenty names was read out and each was issued with a brown envelope and ushered out of the room. I did not know if I was annoyed that I had not made the grade in what were almost patronisingly easy tests, or relieved that I had been spared the ordeal with working with these types of people. In Cannock.

I need not have worried. I was one of the ten people who could obviously use a calculator to subtract one number from another and were deemed worthy enough to face an interview panel in three weeks time.

The only redeeming feature of the post is the fact it is for a job at the local job centre and in these times of doom and gloom I quite like the irony of that.
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 18:35, 2 replies)
Unemployment = Animal Cruelty
I was unempolyed for over year, way back at the beginning of the 90's

My body clock was reversed and i lived the life of a vampire, minus the blood sucking.

Boredom is a much touted word, but most folk aren't truly bored. Actual boredom, the real stuff, is absolutely horrific.

On one occassion i was actually up and awake during the day and decided to do a wee experiment on the masses of pigeons that gathered outside my house.

I dissolved dozens of soluble asprins and soaked the resulting liquid up with some bread that i then fed to the pigeons. One in particular ate most of the poisoned offerings.

What happened, fuck all. It flew to a window ledge and sat there, looking very much alive.

Fuck this, i thought, i had to up the stakes. So i got another piece of bread and squirted a whole load of superglue inside it and fed it to a seagull that promptly retched it back up in a most comical fashion.

I do have more stories, but i've repressed my time on the dole, so they might be a bit slow in coming back to me
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 18:26, Reply)
Unemployed again
Having left university and the incident with the fire hoses far behind me, and just back from messing around in America for 3 months in the summer of 2005, I had landed myself a job at a data storage company called Iron Mountain. Data entry with a bit of picking and packing. Duller than a sexually frustated middle aged librarian, and filled with the kind of dross you wouldn't hire for a job in Macdonalds. But hey- any port in a storm.

I had fitted in quite well, considering I was a former student lazyarse and they were, well, they were. I still can't think of the words but they were mostly a good bunch. And so there I was, beavering away like the good little worker drone that I was. In fact the comparison to beehives could be taken much further if I still chose. And then I made a somewhat fatal mistake. Which of course resulted in a near instant P45.

By massively screwing up a database that contained the information on working visas for some several million migrant workers. Oops!
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 18:21, 1 reply)
Take every chance you can
My parents split up when I was about 17 - a shock to me, but not the end of the world. In fact it all turned out for the best , though I'm afraid you'll have to wait for the "My Dad married my Step Dads wife then my Step Dad married my Mum" QOTW for me to fill you in on that one in full - oh wait, I just did. Well, they did.

Soon after, I started an HND Computing course at a Polytechnic in the Midlands.

Mum ended up in the family house while Dad found another place.

At Christmas time Mum held the annual Christmas drinks party - well it be daft to hold it any other time wouldn't it?

As is the tradition of parents giving such parties, the son (that's me) gets to hand round drinks and generally wait on all the guests.

Learning my lesson from a few years before, I didn't tuck into the wine quite so energetically this time, no I did not have to be supported / dragged down the road by my mates to get me out of the way of the guests / parents etc. Which on the whole was an improvement.

Anyway. Every time I handed a drink to a guest I got the same questions "How are you doing / fine thanks" "What are you doing now / doing HND Computing at Poly" "Am I enjoying it / yes" etc etc. I must have had the same converstaion 20 times+. Well it felt like it to me anyway.

Towards the end of the party, I hand another glass of wine to a guest, and he asks "So FatBoyBubba - what are you doing these days?"

I remember thinking to myself "Can I REALLY be arsed to go through this all over again? Ahh well, one more time won't kill you" so off I went "HND Computing at Poly" etc etc.

At the end of the conversation, said guest says "Well, I don't know if you're interested ... but I've got a friend out in Minneapolis who runs an IT company, maybe I can get you some work experience out there?"

"Errr ... YES PLEASE!!!"

Six months later, I flew out to MN for the summer, gained loads of IT experience, made some good friends and returned to Poly where we then studied everything I'd just learned. I finished Uni (I'd timed it to perfection as it then became a University just before I finished my course) with a great CV already, setup for a decent career in IT where I've worked for the last 15 years or so.

Take every chance you can. I'm incredibly grateful to MP for giving me that first chance.
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 17:56, 2 replies)
Interview
Last July,
I woke up at 4.35am in a tent in the Lake District;
abandoned the love of my life on a train in Manchester;
scrambled onto a train to Nottingham;
tried to sleep;
got there;
went to a Lock'n'Store warehouse where I'd stored my every last possession;
scrambled inside;
changed into a suit;
shaved in a portaloo;
went to the interview;
flunked it;
got on a train to london;
sat in London St Pancras;
met said love of my life again;
went for a pizza;
abandoned said love of my life yet again;
went to London Stansted;
waited for twelve sodding hours;
and got on a plane to Estonia;
all for a sodding job interview

And I didn't even get the job
Fucksocks
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 17:35, Reply)
Using the credit crunch as an excuse to go back to college
I can't get work, work will probably not be available when I come back from education (I start this September) ....I'm only 22...may as well have some fun with all the drunk horny teenaged boys whose parents have yet to learn NOT to leave their kids with the house when they go on holiday!

All my mates parents refuse to go on holiday or insist on taking their kids with them, due to the parties we had back at college and now I get to relive the whole thing during my retakes that I don't really need to retake!

If my mates younger brothers/sisters are there I'm fucked though due to same angry-at-the-house-being trashed parents...

THAT is the best thing I can think about being unemployed, the opportunity to go back! Try it, I can't wait!
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 17:27, Reply)
kinda off topic, but kinda not
let me introduce you to a personal fantasy/goal of mine

it's a bright, sunny morning, as i arrive at work. a few small clouds and a light breeze. it's 7:00 am. i enter the building. i sit down at my terminal. the smell of cut grass wafts in through the window, distracting me momentarily. i begin the lengthy process of logging in and setting up all my systems. my manager breezes in late and grumpy. he demands to know why i haven't filled in my time management form for last week. i tell him 'because EVERY DAY is the same. please use my last entry. he starts to get angry. out of the window i can see my bike, and the sun shining on the lake.
i stand up
take a moment to compose myself.


i'm sorry' i say 'but this is where i get off'

i walk to the door. 'WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU'RE GOING?'

'nowhere' i reply
'nowhere, and somewhere, maybe everywhere. but NOT here.'

the door opens and the smell of cut grass hits me again
i step outside, blinking in the sunlight.
turning, i casually toss my entry pass to the still open-mouthed manager

'i won't be needing this any more, you can keep it.'

i climb on my bike, and pedal away, as i do so sloughing an indescribable weight, and i'm gone, wind in my face, worries under the rug for now, feeling like i'm made of nothing but air.


because sometimes, the trick isn't to always strive for the promise the light at the end of the tunnel. it's to admit to yourself that you're fumbling along in the dark and the further you stumble through the blackness, the longer it's going to take you to get back outside and feel the cool air on your skin and the hot sun on your face again.
and that sometimes, it's ok to be wrong.
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 17:23, 5 replies)
Surely I'm not the only one
2009, what a fantastic year to graduate in. 2 years of pissing about, 1 year of panicking and a final year of working bloody hard to make up for the first two and I get to start hunting for jobs "in the current climate" as the BBC puts it so. Honours degrees in biology are useless if you want to stay in the field, and I have no chance of funding myself through a masters.

My last bursary/loan installment is on the day of my last exam. After that it's signing on until I get a job I could have grabbed straight out of school.

Here's to all of you guys in the same position, the the summer ahead of living on £47 a week jobseekers getting jealous of your younger mates who are still council tax exempt. Here's to life!
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 17:09, 9 replies)
I once managed
to stuff five marbles inside my stretched foreskin and walk round the flat without dropping any.

I was very impressed.

When the lady at the Jobcentre reviewed my 'What have you done to find work diary', she didn't appear to share my enthusiasm...
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 16:57, 23 replies)
Boot Camp
“It’s all highly unfortunate PJM, but I’ve every confidence that you son will be back on your feet and able to continue with the studies within a few weeks”

This was the first good news I’d heard in some time, for the last four weeks I’d been effectively bedridden and had lost two and a half stone. To say I was feeling a wee bit under the weather was something of an understatement.

Life was frankly shit. Five weeks beforehand I’d been making considerable headway into a course at uni, partying like a thirsty Rolling Stone and courting a rather comely brunette who’d got the hots for me. Now I found myself sleeping eighteen hours a day and reduced to a soaking wet nine stone in my socks, but the icing on the fucking cake was that I’d just heard that the pert and lovely brunette had gone back to her ex-boyfriend and was by all reports enjoying noisy, athletic sex on a nightly basis. Not only was I enduring the worst Christmas of my life, but Mister-Fucking-Blobby was playing on radio all the fucking time.

“Thanks Doctor” I replied wearily “I’ll buy you a pint when this is all over”.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Two years later and I was still in piss poor shape. I’d passed the time not getting better by suffering the crushing banality of late night ITV television and wanking to the point of risking calloused elbows and Tennis Cock. I’d all but turned into the agoraphobic bloke out of “Game On” and had pretty much had enough of the indignity of receiving spazzy vouchers so I decided to do something about it.

A potential route to salvation came during a visit to our nearby careers advisor, who helpfully suggested that the local Adult Education Centre set aside a number of places for the long term unemployed AND anyone receiving Disability Benefit so that they had an opportunity to study something useful.

I qualified on both counts.

I had expected to be mixing with students from all backgrounds and of all ages and learning the intricacies and subtleties of finance as a way of getting a toehold on the career ladder.

I hadn’t expected to be attending an employment Boot Camp aimed at getting the unemployable in employment. Any employment.

Jesus-titty-Christ…

The lucky students fell into three categories, firstly there were those who’d just left school and were utterly unable to hold down a job for more than a few hours. Mostly, this first category had spots, fewer teeth than was usually the case and a look on their face that suggested “if-I-fuck-this-up-my-probation-officer-won’t-be-happy”. The second bunch consisted of freshly divorced middle-aged women who had committed the heinous crime of being a “Single Mother” in Tory Britain. Again, they were easy to identify with their uniform application of excessive make up and clothing choices verging on the ambitious. This lot were generally good company until mixed with excessive quantities of cheap wine, whereupon they transformed into an ageing pack of cackling nymphomaniacs.

Lastly, we have the shambling feckless, the walking dead as it were whose sole purpose was to draw dole money until they died. Somehow they'd been bribed and/or blackmailed into signing up for a course to better themselves and to make a valid contribution to society. Looking back, I can recall several characters worthy of note:

The sixty year old who’d at some point been a taxi driver from Walthamstow but for whatever reason had been unable to source gainful employment since and spent far too long leering at the female spotty, NACRO sponsored contingent and making unintelligible and faintly improper remarks ending in “darlin’” whilst rubbing his groin.

The reedy woman with an unhealthy pallor who’s plan was to smoke her way up the career ladder. Although this tactic had failed to net her a job for the last thirty years, but she was giving it one last try. I last saw her in the local free newspaper, where she was pictured being rescued from the locked lavatory of her local ASDA at one o clock in the morning.

Then there was the short, chubby guy who turned up on his first day dressed in a home made Star Trek uniform. His sartorial elegance didn’t improve much, for the following week he topped that with a blue nylon suit of 1975 vintage complete with a brown kipper tie as wide as the flight deck of the HMS Ark Royal. Oddly, he was almost proud to admit that in his thirty one years of existence he’d never had sex, much less a career. Poor bastard never stood a chance.

Lastly we had the bearded guy who apparently never once engaged in conversation with anyone. He was of indeterminate age; somewhere between thirty five and fifty and always wore a padded grey anorak. One afternoon his Pat Jennings sports bag fell open as he wordlessly shuffled into a classroom to reveal a collection of Commando war stories comics, read by boys between the ages of eight and eleven. He'd have preserved more of his dignity had it been copies of Razzle.

Stupidly, I never did turn around on my first day and say “not on your fucking life mate” and duly spent the next month being shown how to lick envelopes, open letters and insert a toner cartridge into a printer without spilling drool everywhere.

After four weeks, my tutor-cum-drill sergeant decided I had “potential” and I was given the coveted title of mentor to a small group of students. See if you can guess which ones?

A few months after that and with my health improving, I was offered a job elsewhere. The drill-sergeant tutor actually took me aside and suggested that if I feigned a relapse, I could continue receiving disability benefit and would be fast-tracked on their “Assessor” course with a view to being bona-fide full time tutor. Unpaid of course.

Even the most piss-poor paying job was a step up from that.
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 16:47, 4 replies)
Just a suggestion, before the QOTW heads to the dole queue.
Tend to read the QOTW on a Thursday or Friday at work, brightens the day up and all that. Seem to be more and more people complaining about the questions themselves in the 'best of'. Anyhow, here's my suggestion.

Get rid of the QOTW suggestion question, it's shurely too long to be of use now.
Every fourth week, make the question 'open season'. Anyone can propose a question and tell their story in the same post (no pearoasts, obviously).
Next three weeks the questions are the top three from the open season question.

Just an idea.
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 16:22, 3 replies)
My first unemployment
was strange in many ways.

I was working as chief "burger" flipper in a grand establishment that sounds exactly like MacDonalds. My reason for being sacked was nothing out of the ordinary, my sacking was nothing out of the ordinary, it was the journey home that will haunt me to this day.

I was awash with the feeling of freedom that only fresh dismissal provides and decided i would saunter along an alternate route to my regular watering hole.

As I turned into this strange new road, i felt the pit of my stomach sink to my knees.
Then I spotted it.

From the corner of my eye, it was sitting, in all its russet glory.
I was compelled to move toward it, the fact it was currently residing in a skip doing nothing to deter me.

I pawed at it nervously, then my wonderment overcame my terror and i exploded forth, ripping and shredding 'til my prize was revealed.....


.....I could barely believe my eyes. Some sick Cunt had not only compiled what can only be described as the most lurid, grotesque, smorgasbord of smut-riddled discs I had ever seen, but catalogued and cross-refenced them!
I heaved my guts across the "collection" and as my mind whirred I felt a burly hand grab the back of my neck.
As I turned to face a six foot policeman I noticed the crying child behind him.

"That's him! Thats the bad man who tried to make my look at his horrible things!" cried the youngster.

I barely had time to plead my case before I was whisked away, sirens blazing.



So dear reader, as I sit here writing this under constant surveillance, awaiting trial for a crime I did not commit, please try to imagine the harrowwing torment I am currently undergoing. I regret the series of events that unfolded, and cannot remove from my mind the vision of a scrap of cardboard bearing the words "THE GREAT PROJECT"
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 16:06, 7 replies)

This question is now closed.

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