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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.

I graduated last July.
Since then, I have been made redundant four times - such is the wonderful world of temporary employment. I have also been sacked once (for the heinous crime of being ill.*) Just to make matters even better, it was a few weeks before Christmas and everyone had taken on all their staff, so precisely bugger-all was available in the way of work.

Now work is the major driving force in my life, so unemployment is a dire punishment. There's nothing quite like barely getting enough money to cover your rent and being treated like a third-class citizen by all and sundry to spur you on. Eight weeks later, just as my sanity was about to give up the ghost, I finally got back into work.

I have learnt many lessons in the meantime, the most pertinent being that if you have a few letters after your name but no actual experience, you effectively spent 3-4 years of your life working towards an expensive bit of toilet paper with your name on it. On the plus side, it's a nice change to actually get some acknowledgment of and reward for your work (even if it is only the minimum wage), and no matter how crappy the job, I've always taken a philosophical approach; as in, "I'm here, I'm doing the job - sod it, I'm going to do it well". That said, this view is somewhat biased as I've never worked in McDonalds or a call-centre - and hopefully I never will.

But do you know what? If I could go back to last July and make the choice again, I'd still choose this - going out into the world and experiencing the rough with the smooth - over crawling back home to mummy and daddy, moping around my room being an idle waster.

Of course, it helps that I live in a relatively cheap part of the country with no shortage of work even in a full-blown recession!

* As in, shaking uncontrollably and retching into the bog. Despite paying nearly twice as much as everyone else, this particular employer is notorious for dismissing temporary workers at the slightest transgression.
(, Sun 5 Apr 2009, 6:10, Reply)
Camel Cock Fucking Fuckwit Cunt !
"You IDIOT! I asked for organic and you gave me regular! I saw you! Don't deny it! Is your manager here? I want to speak to your manager now!" screamed the turd in the suit, a young fella, only just twenty I'd say. He had the regulation 'I am a twat' haircut and a leather-bound file under his arm no doubt containing vital national security documents, the cure for cancer, the secret location of Osama Bin Laden, or quite possibly just a copy of The Daily Star and a packet of tic-tacs.

"Look, mate - she made a mistake," I ventured. I was stood behind him in the queue in the little family run coffee shop near where I work.

The walking abortion, barely old enough to shave, turned on me then. His nostrils flared as he sumed me up with a single glance, he spat out venomously: "Why don't you get a job?!?"

What... an... utter... cunt...

I was dressed pretty casually - jeans, a Nine Inch Nails t-shirt, trainers, a weatherbeaten and weary countenance after a particularly heavy night spent attempting to find transcendense and Nirvana through the medium of alcohol and salty snackfoods. It was Friday. Casual dress day in my office.

"What's your problem, mate?" I asked.

The twat flicked his hair back, sending a fine spray of hair gel over my face. He fumed at me. He appeared to stick his chest out, as if to say: look, I'm wearing a suit, you're not, you're a thick twat and I'm a clever bollocks!

He breathed heavily in my direction - very odd, having someone attempt to threaten you by breathing. I simply stood my ground.

"I'd love to stay here and argue with you, but I have to be somewhere - unlike you," and he pushed past me. "And you can stick the coffee up your arse - I'd rather go to Starbucks!" He shouted to the girl behind the counter.

Charming, using such foul language infront of a lady - Starbucks, indeed, tchh!

I shook my head and raised my eyes to the girl behind the counter, we chatted about the cunt briefly and then I ordered my usual bacon buttie and black coffee - non-organic, give me as many fucking chemicals as you want; I like being more jacked-up on shit than the Green-fucking-Goblin.

After picking up my breakfast I stroll down past the British Library to my office. Another day behind a desk, woo!

I sit there for a few minutes and receive a reminder from one of my colleagues - I've got an appoinment ten minutes ago, shit! Always fucking late, always!

As I'm in a hurry I finish eating my sandwich, have a quick look at the news, footie scores, and my hotmail on the internet, drink the last dregs of my coffee, have a brief chat with my mate Bill about his wife and kids, stop off at the reception and butter-up the receptionist for a while, and then I saunter down to the meeting room I have reserved for me.

And sitting there, prim and proper, straight-backed and smiling, is my new best mate from the coffee shop. When he sees me his smile drops, his smile actually takes a running leap off a very tall building and splats messily on the pavement in a pool of blood and disintigrated bone and skin below. It looks like he's had a sudden and rather nasty stroke or quite possibly just filled his trousers with runny, bubbly shit.

I beam a big smile at him: "Mr Dolby, is it?" He nods. "My name's Mr Hanky - the interview should last about thirty minutes, afterwards if you have any questions about the company please feel free to ask." I sit down, still beaming at the fucker. I think I may actually have got a bit of an erection at the sudden feeling of awesome power. Usually conducting interviews bores the shit out of me, but not this one. Not today.

He looked like he was going to cry.

But what with me being a bigger cunt than this little whipper-snapper, I decided the best course of cuntish action would be to string him along and make him feel like he was doing fucking brilliantly.

While he was spouting on about how great he was and how good a degree he's got, I had a sudden urge to ask him to bark like a dog.

He actually thought he was winning me over - why? because I led him to believe this through my body language and by subtly advising him: "You're winning me over." While making pretend notes on my notepad.

Close to the end I considered proposing that if he suck me off here and now in the meeting room I'd guarentee him a place at the firm. But that was just a bit weird - I didn't really know what I'd do if he said "yes".

So we clunked our way through the interview, we stood up, shook hands, and my new best mate left feeling like I'd offer him a position as Manager of the World and God and Everything.

Oh, he didn't get the job.

Thankfully, his answers were all a pile of camel cock.

(But even if he'd been the best sales animal in the world I would've told him to fuck off and learn some manners).
(, Sun 5 Apr 2009, 1:19, 10 replies)
'Shit - Scented Spectacles'

What a horrible word. I have been unemployed. It was only for a few months but it was completely dehabilitating. I ceased to have a purpose. I was pitied and scolded in equal measures by smug family members and friends alike. Did I deserve to be brutally admonished? Probably yes.

However, I think that being unemployed tempered my soul in the very fires of ‘lifehood’. It forced me to harshly view my life through shit-scented spectacles (the opposite of rose tinted glasses of course)

I am reasonably successful now (i.e. I have enough money to douche regularly) but I know that in an instant it can all be undone and everything could be levelled. My elation at life now is viewed via forced perspective from my lowest point. Without the contrast of life’s perverse extremes you cannot enjoy life fully. Black needs its white, and vice versa. So if you are unemployed now then when your life turns around it will seem absurd that you were ever worried. If you are gainfully employed now, well, enjoy it, and remember that life is cyclical.

Abject apologies for the maudlin and mawkish sentimentality but I have had a few glasses of wine but not enough to render me incapable of typing.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 21:06, 6 replies)
bunch of cnuts
i'm a lurker brought out of the shadows with an uncontrolable urge to say that i had never realised quite how much a bunch of middle class stuck up your own arse nobs some of you really are. I've never been unemployed, not because mummy and daddy paid for me to go discover myself around the world, but because I have to work. Jesus christ. Get over yourselves, I'm sure you fell very deprived 'unentitled to dole because you have over 6000 savings' you utter mong, if you have money why should you sponge?
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 20:47, 14 replies)
Mid-life crisis - escape
Usual tale of woe - worked for the same org for 25 years rising through the ranks. Politics intervenes in a major fashion and I'm not busy anymore - abeit with a year's cash in my pocket. Being a sad bastard, I haven't got any other social life so stick around for a couple of months, passing out advice and generally carrying out a handover that should have been done whilst I was on the payroll. Decide to take a Christmas break ('cos that's what I normally did) and manage to break 3 ribs and collarbone dirt-tracking on a moto. This causes some delay in returning to the UK, but the holiday insurance coughed up for the extended stay in the hotel.

Two months later, I've realised that I don't care about my previous life any more; I take another month to wend my way back to London, via Spain and France.

Back in town I spend some time obtaining a narrowboat, then get rid of my pad and spend autumn travelling round Greece whilst the boat's being got fully ready to live on.

Since then I've been bimbling around the canals, signing on (lovely people, but the organisation just can't quite cope with my situation).

£60.50 a week to live on - it can be done if there's no emergencies; getting my teeth and eyes fixed for free; seeing lots of places I've never been to; meeting loads of nice, relaxed people; learning new skills and enjoying ale because of what it is rather than as a way of forgetting the daily stress.

Becoming unemployed probably saved my life.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 19:22, 3 replies)
Tales of the unemployed volume three
I'll just roast this pea here if you don't mind...


In what was probably the most deeply unsatisfying moment of my career to date, I spent nearly 3 years working in a jobcentre, trying to persuade an assorted bunch of scrotes that working for a living was actually a good idea, ‘cos, like, you got money and shit. I soon realised that this was a fairly futile pursuit, as they would invariably point out that as they already got money for doing sod all, why should they have to get up at 6.30 in the morning to go and do something they didn’t enjoy? Like me?

When I think back, it was a fair point.

Anyhow, I did a variety of different jobs whilst working there, taking new claims, then graduating onto 6-monthly review interviews, before finally being landed with the joy that was New Deal. For 18-24 year olds. I remember the crushing feeling of despondency that I felt inside when my boss told me the news. Having already worked there for a good 18 months, I was fairly familiar with the hardcore caseload, and pretty much knew what to expect. A bunch of (mostly) idle ne’r-do-wells, with a chronic aversion to work, training, and general responsibility, and who’s highlight each day was waiting for the off licence to open so they could get their next fix of Diamond White.

My shoulders sagged, and I let out a despondent sigh. I threw myself into my new role with what was becoming customary disdain, and set about learning all the foibles and quirks of the multi-million pound scheme that was New Deal.

Now, the main difference with New Deal was that the clients had to attend weekly or fortnightly interviews to help them back into work or identify suitable training that they could do, in order to make them less of a burden on society. In reality, these efforts were mostly in vain, and about as productive as a spacker in a hand-clapping workshop. But, I got paid to do a job, and by God I was going to do it.

And then I met Eric.

Eric was, how shall we say, not exactly respectful of his need to turn up every 2 weeks. He could not equate that in order to get his £120 a fortnight, or whatever it was then, that he had to endeavour to turn up, and when he did turn up, on time. This was an alien concept, obviously. Every other week I would sit and listen to various reasons why he couldn’t get in on time. And every other week I would have to send his case off to an adjudicator, who would invariably decide he was a fuckwit and either close his claim, or take a couple of days benefit off him as a sanction for not meeting his responsibilities.

Typical excuses would include:

• I was in hospital having my appendix out. (Where’s your appointment card then? Erm, I didn’t get one. OK, I’ll just give the hospital a call).
• I forgot. (Me pointing out that if I forgot to turn up for work regularly, I would be sacked).
• I thought it was next week. (Me pointing out that he had an appointment card with the time and date clearly marked).
• I didn’t know it was supposed to be this morning. (See above).
• My Gran died this morning.
• My dog had to go to the vets.
• My Gran died yesterday afternoon.
• My car broke down. (Eric lived about a 10 minute walk away from the Jobcentre).
• My Gran died last night.

And so on.

One morning, as I was preparing for the day’s interviews, I saw that Eric was due in at 11.30 for yet another interview. 11.30 came and went, and still no sign of Eric. After 10 minutes I was just about to close the book on him, when he came charging through the doors, red of face. “I can’t make it for the interview”, exclaimed Eric.
“But you’re here Eric”, says I, “why don’t you just sit down and we’ll do this quickly”?

“No, you don’t understand, I can’t do the interview because I’ve been arrested”.

Oh good grief. “Eric, if you’ve been arrested, then why aren’t you at the Police station, in a cell”?

“No, I mean I was on my way in, and as I got out my car a copper nicked me. He’s outside now waiting for me. I told him I needed to sign on first, and I needed to see you. You can come and speak to him if you don’t believe me”.

So I followed Eric outside, and sure enough there was a member of the constabulary waiting. He confirmed that Eric had indeed been nicked, for not having a valid tax disc or something, and was required down at the station.

I reluctantly had to give him that one.

Still a total scrote though. And when I eventually escaped the Jobcentre, and got a nice job, I still read the local rag for that area. Eric made a guest appearance in the court pages nearly every week.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 18:53, 1 reply)
Tales of the Unemployed volume two
The Minimum Wage.

Hard to believe now, but in the late 90's, this wasn't law. I was still working in the jobcentre when it was brought in, and the effect it had was quite eye opening in some cases.

I had a new claims interview with a young lass. She was strikingly very pretty, well spoken, and had been working as a hairdresser. She also had a set of norks that would have encouraged most blokes (and some ladies too - diversity and all that) to go and get their hair cut twice a week for the pleasure of almost suffocating between them as she trimmed your fringe... She had left the job because as soon as the minimum wage came in, her boss, who had been paying her something ludicrous like £2 an hour for forty hours a week, immediately slashed her hours to 20 simply to avoid paying her more. The youngster was understandably peeved at this and told her boss to stick her job up her metaphorical hairdryer.

Problem was, if you leave a job willingly, you stand a good chance of having your benefits stopped for up to 6 months...

I'm happy to say that for once the adjudicators saw sense in this case, and no further action was taken.

Six months later, at the point where she qualified for assistance to start her own business, she did just that, and started her own mobile hairdressing emporium. And, as I heard later, took half of her old bosses business away from her in the process.

Fucking result.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 18:34, 8 replies)
Hate to hijack the thread
Are there any Capetonians on /qotw?
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 18:19, 1 reply)
I went on holiday for a week...
And when I got home, a jiffy bag had come through the post containing personal items from my desk, a pay cheque and a letter telling me that due to a "restructure" I was no longer required.

I was shocked and devastated at being forced into enduring daytime TV without so much as a hint of warning. This being a company with only 6 employees, I took this "restructure" as a very personal slight. I think it still affects my confidence even now, despite having had 19 years to come to terms with it.

Fortunately, I was only out of work for a few weeks, and didn't even bother signing on. But, despite finding a better paid and more exciting job, I still found my bitterness towards my ex-employers almost overwhelming at times.

However, some 7 years after the event, they asked if I wanted to come back (maybe they felt bad about it) and I stupidly accepted. This time though, I took the piss big time and jumped ship of my own accord after a mere 6 months. I went to work for their biggest customer, who quickly became their not a customer anymore, thanks to me. I didn't even work the required notice period when I left - that showed 'em!

I think the saying is "what goes around comes around", it's just that sometimes you have to wait a while for that nugget of feel-good-ness.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 17:00, 1 reply)
Council cunt
This would have fitted well into the "Council Cunts" QOTW but I wasn't a member then so...

My family had moved up to my step-father's mother's big house in Scotland after she died but hadn't sold their Hertfordshire house as they weren't sure yet if they would permanently settle in the frozen wasteland north of Hadrian's Wall.

I had finished college and wasn't exactly looking for work so I moved in there for a few months as did most of my mates. Happiest few months of my life probably.

All good things come to an end, my step-father decided to rent out the house so I had to get out.

I found a bedsit and the landlord kindly agreed to let me move in on the agreement that I bunged him a couple of hundred quid deposit and would apply for Housing Benefit and settle up any outstanding rent when the first payment came through.

After about five weeks, I got a letter from the council saying that they just had to send someone round to view the accomodation then my claim would be approved. A couple of days later there was a note posted through the letterbox saying "I called but you were out, please telephone us to arrange another visit".

The landlord was starting to ask questions.

So I rang the council and they said their very busy man would return in two weeks. Two weeks passed and another note through the door so I rang them again and this time got them to confirm a date when their man would come.

The landlord was becomming increasingly impatient.

Another two weeks passed and I made sure that I didn't leave the house at all on the day of the visit. Yet at some point, mid-afternoon, another note appeared on the door mat. "How strange, there was definitely no knock or doorbell ring" I thought as I rang the council yet again to make another appointment.

The landlord was getting quite angry and suggested that I may have pocketed the Housing Benefit.

Another date was set and this time I took no chances, I spent most of the day sat on a chair watching the frosted glass front door. Someone approached the door and then squatted down in front of it. Whoever it was hadn't knocked, just walked up to the door and squatted. I opened the front door and there in front of me was a man in a suit writing out an "I called but you were out" note. He was so startled by my opening of the door, he fell over.

The forms were filled in, my claim was approved and after another two weeks the landlord got his money.

It took thirteen sodding weeks all because of that council cunt.

I did make a complaint but whether anything happened about it I've no idea.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 13:51, 12 replies)
Does anyone else remember the story
about the unemployed man from Cobh in Ireland who won the Irish lottery?

The first thing he did was buy the premises of the job centre and double their rent.

Can't find the damn thing online but I distinctly remember reading it.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 13:18, 1 reply)
Cheap entertainment
The last time I was unemployed I started searching for inexpensive ways to entertain myself during the day. After all, you can only wank for so long...

So I decided to go down to the local university during the sunny days to perv on the young nubile shapes within. Nothing like some eye candy to lift the mood, after all.

Maybe it was just bad timing on my part, but I ended up with eye cabbage instead. Gah.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 13:03, Reply)
A mate
had been signing on for so long, the DHSS offered him a job and told him they would stop his benefits if he didn't take it, so he had to accept.

Not only did this eat into his valuable glue sniffing time, most of the other Hackney squatters wouldn't talk to him again.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 13:01, 1 reply)
they say
With every closed door another one opens.
A couple of years ago I've been working for a seasonal magazine. After the season (wintersports) was over they offered me to move either 600km north and work at their HQ or bugger off. What they didn't count on: I agreed to move on my costs and stick with them. Well, after one last issue and only 2 month in the new city the boss summoned me in his office. I was looking forward to that as I was expecting a rise, but got kicked out instead.
Well, I didn't know what to do and after some beer-fueled self pity in the pub, I went to the diary to grab some more booze as I found a news magazine in the shelf with the title:"The dream of leaving for good". I took a copy with me, read the articles and got very inspired...

One year later I've been sitting in the plane to New Zealand and have been here ever since. I found a job I love, surf on the weekends and I am the happiest chap you can imagine. No regrets!
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 12:38, 3 replies)
Tales of the Unemployed volume one
I may not get around to volume two as this week is a bit busy for me. (Hoo-fucking-ray I hear you cry).

So, back in the day and having worked as a jobcentre monkey for a relatively short space of time, but long enough to saddle me with a lifetime's worth of unhealthy cynicism, I had to do a 6 monthly review with Darren.

Darren was one of those lads that the system had written off as terminally unemployable; no qualifications, no skills, and an attitude not to be trifled with. "Good luck with him", my earstwhile and similarly jaded colleagues giggled. "You'll be lucky if he even turns up".

Sure enough, after 20 minutes of waiting, I was about to give up and close the book on him, when the door flew open and he dashed in. "Sorry I'm late, the bus was late and I only just got here".

"Darren", said I, "You're 20 minutes late for a 30 minute interview, I can't really see you now".

"Please", he asked, "It wasn't my fault, and I don't want to have my claim closed".

Whether it ws the look of panic in his eyes that did it I don't know, but my benevolence chip kicked in, and I asked him to take a seat. "This'll have to be quick, just a quick jobsearch and your signature, OK"?

As it happened, Darren was looking for basic labouring work, and a job had come in that morning for such work on a building site in Morpeth; £300 a week - not bad for unskilled labour. Trouble was, it involved an 8:30 start, the site was on the southern outskirts of the town, and Darren didn't have transport. Given the fact that he lived 16 miles away in a town with a bus service that didn't start until 8:30, it looked like a long shot. He might as well have lived at the arse end of the Outer Hebrides, the local transport was so shit. But Darren was convinced, and took the details away with him.

I was completely unprepared for what happened the next day. As I was about to head for lunch, the door of the office flew open and Darren ran in waving his ES40 card triumphantly and making a bee-line for me. "Won't be needing this anymore" he beamed. I must have looked puzzled, so he elaborated.

"That job you gave me details for yesterday; I got a lift off a mate and went straight down there. The bloke said I was the first person to actually bother turning up, so he gave me the job straight away. I start tomorrow. Really brilliant. Thank you for seeing me yesterday, if it wasn't for you I wouldn't have this".

"That's brilliant", I said, "but what about transport?"

"My mate works in Morpeth and starts at 8:45, he can drop me at the site before he goes into work".

And he shook my hand, thanked me again, handed his ES40 over, and disappeared out of the door as my colleagues watched on, dumbstruck.

I never saw him again.

Just goes to show, even the most apparently 'hopeless case' can turn around and surprise you.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 12:17, 12 replies)
I am the best kind of unemployed
I am a student. Oh yes, I have it easy. Oh wait - no I don't, I'm a chemistry student. I have anything up to 25 timetabled hours a week, and can easily do just as much again outside. I can work all weekend if required, leave the house and not return until 12 hours later, do 9-5 in lab with no scheduled break. If it needs to reflux for a couple of hours and you have time to grab something to eat and run to the loo, great! If not, tough. While my housemates are lying in most mornings I'm getting up and running off to lectures. Most people do things like this and get paid to do it. Me? I'm paying to do this!

But, when the going gets tough, when my reaction is sitting in the round-bottomed flask and looking at me and going "Oh is everyone else's working? You wanted to get out of here early? You're tired are you? Well tough luck, I'm just going to go the wrong colour, not crystallise and then for shits and giggles I might just explode everywhere so you have to start again, sucks to be you right?!" I think to myself, what else in the world would I rather be doing? Nothing at all. Where else can you spend all day in a large room with some of the best friends you've ever had and some of the most stupidly exciting and dangerous chemicals you've ever had the priviledge to get your hands on and spend all day writing "Titration wank" on each other's labcoats, squirting each other with acetone and occasionally liquid nitrogen and giggling beacuse it says "orange mother liquor" in the labscript? And then going out and getting hideously drunk even though you know you've got to get up stupidly early the next day to do it all again? Where else can I feel like my love of maths and freaky sense of humour, where my failing at being a woman will be completely embraced? Where else is there a group of people who know a ridiculous amount about illegal drugs and how to make them but would never take them because they recognise they're all off their rockers enough already? Nowhere else in the world, ladies and gentleman.

I'm already staying an extra year to do my masters, and then I'm thinking about doing a PhD. Where I will do double the work for about half the pay than if I graduated. I wouldn't have it any other way.

No apologies for length, we have a range of different sizes.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 12:06, 10 replies)
The joys of having unemployed mates
EDIT: this presumes that being a student counts as 'employed'

While I've never been unemployed myself (for long), when I was in my first year of university I might as well have been *looks back in longing to pre-dissertation days*. In my first few months I had pretty much fuck all to do so spent my time getting off my tits with a group of people I'd met over the internet. Several of them were unemployed, and there were some I doubt would ever be offered a job by a sane employer.

After we'd done the compulsory Manc pub-crawls and what usually comes with them (wanton sex, drugs and infidelity) we decided to go a bit more high-brow and have a nice walk *cough- magic mushroom hunt* in the Peak District. With a few bottles of Sainsbury's own whisky.

Sometime before that I'd got to know a particular male member of that group (well, not THAT sort of member) and we seemed to hit it off, so I was hoping to impress him with my fitness and hop up Jacob's Ladder like a lithe little mountain goat. Alas, student stupor set in and I found myself gasping at the end while he, amazingly, zoomed up the steep hillside with gusto. Turns out that in his last few months of unemployment, he'd been spending most of his time playing Kung Foo on his EyeToy, resulting in amazing fitness. Well then, I thought, I know what can help me out now (remembering how my stamina increased to the point where I was dancing for 20 hours solid at Glastonbury) and helped myself to some of the contents of our bags. And then I ran, literally ran, up the impenetrable cliff face, to the awed gasps of all nearby hillwalkers.

After this my memory becomes a bit skewed, although there was some surviving footage on someone's digital camera that to this day I find highly embarrassing.

Anyway, what I do remember is him offering me a bottle of whisky once I'd caught up, to which I promptly necked about half the bottle. The next few hours consisted of me probably revealing a bit too much about my sex life, and (I was later told) slurring about how I knew to behave myself whilst drunk. My camera also has considerable dents and scrapes from that day. After the point where I could barely hold down half my lunch the thought swam into my fuzzy head that by now I'd probably ruined any chances I had with this particular fellow (I'll call him Steven from now on), and by drunken logic came to the conclusion that the only chance of salvation was to bring him down with me.

I handed him the remaining half-bottle of whisky and planned to goad him into drinking it, but I had forgotten he was unemployed so already no doubt half way to alcoholism, and it didn't take much encouragement for him to follow suit and neck it (along with one of the more respectable members of the group's brandy). This is where the old memory gutters like a dying candle. Snapshot images in my mind consist of tipping my head back to laugh, and continuing to tip backwards until I was on my ass in some sheep shit, and me and Steven literally rolling down the hill (which must be true considering the bruises). Eventually even the other reprobates got fed up with us and left us on our own, drunk, up a hill riddled with potholes while it grew increasingly dark. Haha, cheers guys- you loveable scamps.

While Steven crowed about how fuckin beauuutiful the setting sun was, through my inebriated haze I began to get worried so staggered up to a straggling walker- a grizzled Yorkshireman- and, pretending not to be drunk (no doubt the scariest of my personas) asked him how to get off the mountain. He looked incredibly unimpressed (at this point Steven chooses to appear over the brow of the hill, singing loudly and falling into a pothole) and grunted something, which I took for a "follow me". Poor guy.

Once we reached the town the others had settled themselves nicely in the pub and I chugged down the carbonated water they'd so thoughtfully bought for me. Even after the meal I felt no more sober and began to wonder if it wasn't a double vodka and lemonade, but as me and Steven were comfortably settled next to each other I didn't give it a second thought. At one point, though, we looked around the table and realised we were alone. The others had gone to get the train back! how dare they. And the silly sausages had left all their bags and coats sitting about. We helpfully gathered up everything and heaved it to the train station, but it had already gone because no-one was on the platform. Not to worry- another train back to Manc was due soon and I could stay at his as it was a bit late to be heading all the way home to Leeds. The prospect of this, of course, was more than enough to dispel any lingering concerns about the others and we happily hopped on the train with all their bags, laughing about how silly they'd feel tomorrow.

15 minutes later the panicked phonecalls started coming through- turns out the others had just popped out for a fag (and give us a bit of space) and returned to find they'd been robbed.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 11:47, 4 replies)
I was a student housewife.
Here, as far as I can understand it, is my housemate's current train of thought.

1. I have a Very Important Job [Saturdays only].
2. Shini, by virtue of overarching laziness and a student loan, has no job and is thus A Waster.
3. As such, she could at least make herself useful around the house by tidying my room, doing my laundry and washing up a week's worth of my plates after hauling them out from under the sofa.
4. For the rest of the week, I will be busy recuperating after the stresses of my Very Important Job [eight hours a week in a small tobacconist which is in no danger of being overrun with customers]; and so I will have no choice but to fling my crockery and socks down on the floor and then forget they're there. I can't see the floor, because I am Tall and Manly.
5. Possibly as a direct consequence of being A Waster, Shini is neither Tall nor Manly [whatever my granny says]. Therefore, it makes sense for her to pick my stuff up when it goes below eye level.
6. Onoz! My mummy is arriving from Americaland tomorrow! We must clean the entire house!
7. But I am Working at my Very Important &c., so Shini will do it.
8. It's what she's for.
9. Two nights before my mummy is due to get here, and the night before I have to get up at eight to Go To Work, it is a sensible idea to come shuffling into Shini's room at one in the morning with a two-litre bottle of Coke and discuss politics with her for four and a half hours.
10. Oh, fucksocks. I'm only going to get two hours' sleep tonight. That bitch. It's her fault.
11. Ah well, at least I can sleep with my eyes open at My Job. Shini will do a month's worth of laundry, tidy my room, hide my porn, set up the spare room ready for my mummy, do the washing up and move all the musical instruments I bought on a whim, can't play and don't really have room for into her room, because she is A Waster with Nothing To Do.
12. I wonder what she'll make for tea?

The sad thing is, we're not even married. We're not even fucking. I just owe him money.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 11:17, 11 replies)
Unemployed? Easy Life
Downside: aside from the general feeling of unworth and having no cash for a healthy diet of pork scratchings and beer, its realising just how many lazy, workshy, useless sponging wankers are out there living off the state, example:

After X weeks on the dole you are expected to attend an appointment and present evidence of your efforts in finding employment, me being organised I have a folder containing a spreadsheet showing company or agency work applied for, a copy of the letter and any replies and evidence of interviews and suchlike. Easy, its also padded out with some bullshit to make it look good as the fuckwits at the Job Centre (sic) never question the data!

Sounds excessive but I remember waiting inline with the rest of the stinking dross to sign on and witnessing some evil power crazed old hag administer the most embarrasing dressing down to a smartly dressed middle aged fellow and then telling him his job seekers allowance would be suspended for two weeks, he was almost in tears.

OK, pan forward a few years and I'm back in the fold of unemployment. I have my first appointment for showing my efforts at gainful employment at 0920 hours Monday morning. I arrive early and set myself down, opposite me outside the interrogation room, is some alcohol drenched tramp stinking of BO carrying a plastic bag with his breakfast, 8 litres of White Lightening, yum!

He's called in at 0905 and I can here the whole conversation. Basically he's pissed and can show no evidence of finding work and I sit there giggling as she gives him a dressing down and he slurs his way through the whole episode.

As soon as she says your "allowance is suspended" he goes apeshit and attempts to murder her, a buzzer rings and two big burly fellows appear and restrain him till the fuzz arrive and arrest the twat.

My turn! Mr Pig? Please take a seat. She looks fucking evil and she's had a great start to her day!

I present my folder of lies and deceit, she slowly sifts through the pages then picks up the phone, shit I thought I'm rumbled. Turns out there is money in the pot for a course at the local University and I'm one of the lucky ones to get it.

Upside: I now have a Degree in Engineering, earn good money, feast daily on pork scratchings and beer and easily got another job when I was made redundant a few years back. So while a daily drenching in White Lightening can relieve you of the burden of a miserable life it has to end somewhere, the fellow at the Job Centre? He was a well known waster, I last saw him 2 years ago lying in the gutter covered in puke begging for money.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 9:47, Reply)
Go Back 3 Spaces
I graduated during the great jobs drought of the mid-1990s and it took me the best part of a year to find a permanent job.

Luckily, however, I already had a decent income coming in.

Some of you may remember the Monopoly quiz machines that were pretty common in pubs back then. We had one installed in the student union bar during my last year and once a couple of us had worked out that it was possible to beat the machine, we were in business.

In short, and assuming you had a pretty good level of general knowledge to begin with, if you kept playing, you would eventually beat (and empty) the machine. And of course, over time you would gain an appreciation of which tactics worked and which didn't - buying Park Lane and then looking to hit the Community Chest past go for a 'Go Back 3 Spaces' and win a tenner being a favourite.

Luckily, there were a good few of these machines dotted around the city where I studied, but before too long I was also taking day trips to places like Bristol and Bath and cleaning up there.

Then, once I'd graduated, and moved back up to London to stay with my parents, I trawled the city looking for - and finding - new machines.

On a bad day, I'd make back what I put in (after allowing for food, drink, cigarettes etc). On a good day, I'd go home with my pockets stuffed with up to £200 in £1 coins (although usually I'd try to cash up in an off-licence or whatever), and having spent the day drinking beer in pubs. Result.

One time, having made a couple of hundred quid in the afternoon, I even decided to take the overnight train/ferry to Paris where Celtic were playing, just because I could. And they had a Monopoly machine on the ferry too, so I made even more money. Trips to the Kent Coast and up to Edinburgh also proved pretty lucrative.

Funny thing is, because the game was quiz-based, I don't think emptying the machine was seen in the same way by the staff of the pubs I went into as, say, someone going in and cleaning out the fruit machine. In fact, I became pretty friendly with staff in quite a few places I went into. I only ever got asked to leave one pub.

Of course, nothing that good lasts forever, and gradually the machines were either reprogrammed to be less generous, or disappeared altogether - the sinking feeling in my stomach when I went into a pub to see that the machine had gone told me that perhaps it was time to give it up, and so reluctantly I went into the 9-5 rat race.

It did provide me with easily the most embarrassing moment of my life, though.

I was in a pub in Bristol and had made some decent money but hadn't taken it out of the machine yet. And this particular day was the 40th anniversary of VE Day, which was being commemorated by a nationwide two-minute silence at something like 7pm.

Well, I lost track of time and instead of taking the money out of the machine ahead of the silence, I was still mid-game when the silence started. There was no option but to keep playing, trying to be as discreet as possible. Unfortunately, about halfway through, a Chance card gave me a cash prize - £2, £5, whatever - that took my winnings to over £30. At which point the machine spits out the cash automatically, whether you want it to or not.

Let me tell you, the sound of 30-odd pound coins being spat into a metal tray in a pub where everyone, but everyone, is observing a two-minute silence is absolutely deafening.

I was lucky not to get lynched.

Length? About 18 months making a decent living out of it.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 6:47, 6 replies)
I used to work for the Pedants Union
but the group collapsed after an argument about whether there should be an apostrophe.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 6:38, 3 replies)
I've been unemployed for a while now - along with my flatmate. Sometimes the cameraderie of the mutual skintness and lack of prospects cheers and consoles you (especially when we're out for a drink, which we do often, or partaking in the odd substance).

But then sometimes your mutual failings grind you do. Never any money, never a return call, never any women. Depressing. So one time we had a jaunt north, and stayed in little but n' ben which one of his relatives owns (he's from a fairly well-to-do family but they've basically disowned him).

Thing was, then this bloody relative turned up. He was an aging, lecherous, fat old bastard who was constantly after me. Fucking horrible, I could barely turn around without noticing him checking out my arse or trying to touch me up.

Then again he brought loads of food and nice wine, so I tried to go with it, and I kind of felt sorry for him. But things came to a head when he fucking CAME INTO MY ROOM AND TRIED TO RAPE ME! My bastard flatmate had told him I was hot to trot just so he could get a hold of the old cunt's booze.

That was him and me finished.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 5:20, 5 replies)
One of the joys* of being unemployed...
...is, of course, dealing with the jobcentre.

Couple of stories from this, my second period of being full time dole scum:

-Lost forms. Due to them not actually processing some forms until three days before they have to, when I moved from contribution based JSA to income based JSA, they lost my form. And gave me two days benefits instead of three. And they might have needed me to go into the jobcentre to fill out another one. The jobcentre in question is in Middlesbrough. At the time, I was in Aberdeen. (In the interest of fairness, i have to point out that they didn't actually know that I wasn't in Boro as I had no signing over the festive period and I couldn't be bothered filling out the necessary forms.)

-Lost phone calls. At my 12 month review I was given an option (after being informed of something I had noevery bit of knowledge about, that being the fact I would have more money working than signing on) of either going to the jobcentre every week or getting a call from them the weeks I don't sign on. After taking the obvious option, I wait for the first call, which never arrives. When I go in to tell them about this (giving me coverage if they claim they did call and therefore I'm losing my benefits) I'm informed that they didn't put me on the right system for the calls. I'm supposed to get a call every fortnight for 2 months. I get none.

-And sheer dumbassery. At my 18 month review, I'm told that I'm being sent to an employment zone as I'm still out of work. And that my appointment is at 9:30. The day after my birthday. Frak. So, instead of celebrating turning 21 (yet again) I talk to the missus online (she's in the States), get my pic taken with the FA cup, go to a free screening if Frost/Nixon, a couple of quiet drinks with a friend and then home with a parmo. Go to the place the next day only to discover...

My appointment isn't actually till 3pm.

Is it any wonder I harbour dreams of buying the building where the useless idiots are based and pressing the button to demolish personally?

(Possibly to come, my tales from the first time I signed on.)

*This word may possibly have been used in a sarcastic sense.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 4:59, 2 replies)
I am currently doing a law degree. I have always wanted to be a barrister, and the only reason I do this stupid, boring course, is because I want to make the world a better place and have no hope of being a police officer (am practically blind without glasses - not Penfold blind, but actually blind blind). However, I have recently decided to sod the barrister thing (once I have finished my degree, it will cost me £12,500 to do a one year course. To be a barrister, after this, I have to do a 2 year 'pupillage', which is like an apprenticeship. Only 15% of applicants get a pupillage. So, only the fucking 'hooray Henrys' on my course have even a fighting chance. I can't afford to gamble £12,500 (plus expenses for the 12 dinners I would have to go to in London - I work in a pub in the north to support my degree and can't take weekends off). )

So, I have to pin my hopes for the WHOLE OF MY LIFE on getting (even an admin) job in the CPS. I was so optimisic when I decided to go into law. I love the law, I am good at it. I have always wanted to go into criminal law. But no. I can't afford to do it. Here is an email I got from the head of the School of Law the other day: ****For summary, scroll down****

Subject: Career opportunities in law

Career opportunities in law : statistics (and implications for current UGs/PGs)
[The following statistics mainly come from the Training Contract and Pupillage Handbook 2009].

With increasing competition for training contracts and pupillages it is becoming more important for students not only to have a strong academic profile but also possess evidence of the acquisition of relevant skills. In this regard I would draw your attention to the following skills-related activities which you can engage in whilst undertaking your degree in ***** :

1. Mooting competition organised by D**** P*****/LawSoc.

2. Negotiation competition sponsored by DLA Piper solicitors (J**** B***** and S** W**** - 2 second year LLB students have won a place in the national final of the negotiation competition to be held on 28th March 2009). This competition is organised in the law school by N**** S****** and the LawSoc (R***** A*** and A** W********).

3. Debating competition sponsored by Allen and Overy solicitors (organised by LawSoc)

4. Interviewing competition (it is hoped that the student's LawSoc will be able to find sponsorship for this competition next year).

5. The range of pro bono activities organised by H****** K*** and L**** B*******-H***.

The following statistics make sobering reading.

2005-2006 = 515
2006-2007 = 527
2007-2008 = 419 (ie 15% of 2,870 applicants were successful)

Vacancies appear set for a steady decline.

Training contracts
2006-2007 = 6012 (up from 5751 in 2005-2006)

The effect of the 'credit crunch' is bound to reduce the number of training contracts which are available over (at least) the next 2-3 years.

LPC places in 2007-2008
Full time = 10675
Part time = 3064

Successful completion of LPC
5921 in 2006-2007
Current success rate is 75%

It is estimated that there is currently a 'pool' of over 17,000 applicants for training contracts who are currently studying for the LPC or who have completed the course but have not yet secured a training contract.

Training contracts in 2006-2007 by employment type :
Private practice = 93.9%
Commerce and industry = 2.3%
Government department = 0.4%
Local government = 1.7%
Court services = 0.4%
Advise services = 0.5%
Crown Prosecution Service = 0.6%
Other 0.3%

Training contracts in 2006-2007 by size of private practice firm
More than 81 partners = 33.2%
26-80 = 16.8%
11-25 = 13.7%
5-10 = 12.9%
2-4 = 17.6%
Sole practitioner = 5.7%

Training contracts 2006-2007 by geographical region
Central London = 26.2%
Greater London = 21.2%
Southeast = 8.4%
Southwest = 3.8%
Wales = 3.1%
West Midlands = 6.6%
Northwest = 11.3%
Northeast = 2.8%
Yorkshire and Humberside = 6.9%
East Midlands = 3.8%
Eastern counties = 5.8%

Law graduates (per annum)
12,858 in 2006.
In addition to the 12,858 LLB graduates there are 2,500 GDL graduates (conversion course graduates) and 4,000 others with qualifying (ie joint) law degrees.

The Legal Services Act 2007 will enable multidisciplinary practices to be set up (so called 'Tesco Law') and when this comes into effect it is likely to have an impact on the availability of work currently undertaken by some lawyers. Multidisciplinary practices are therefore likely to comprise a small proportion of lawyers and a larger proportion of paralegals and/or other professionals. A partner in a High Street practice in London I recently spoke to was pessimistic about the affect this will have on the availability of work typically undertaken by high street practices.

The message from these statistics is clear - you need to be a 'well rounded' applicant with good university grades AND sufficient evidence of the acquisition of skills gained either within a university context or whilst undertaking vacation placement work.

N*** S*****,

****SUMMARY: If you need a job to support you, so you can't take all the time you need to do extra-curricular, and you don't have Mother and Father to introduce you to all the lawyers you'll ever need to know - YOU'RE FUCKED****

Right. I made the correct degree choice then.

I will probably never be made redundant from the pub (touch wood), but fuck me - is that not shit? What the fuck have I devoted my life to? I have always wanted to be a barrister so I could do the right thing, but that will now just be left to the fucking rich, white kids with money to burn. My dream was always difficult to realise, but the recession has made it impossible for a working class girl, no matter how intelligent, to realise.

Rant over.

Length? Three years, immeasurable boredom. For nothing.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 0:46, 13 replies)
apparently there are jobs going
working for the dole office. They want someone to help get rid of all the desks of the people they've fired.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 0:36, Reply)
since becoming unemployed
I've started exploring my creative side, and developed a hobby.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2009, 0:34, 5 replies)
The story of my life
Or the story of my extremely brief employment that led me to truly appreciate the joys of unemployment.
A couple of years ago, I could not get a job. I handed out resumes, I went to the career center, nothing. So I signed on with my local youth employment support center for, you know, support. I was signed on to work a 2 week placement at a crepe stand in an old-fashioned market. I was totally excited.
The woman that worked there seemed nice enough at first. She was a fairly young pregnant woman. She greeted me, gave me a hairnet, spent 15 minutes making sure I had it on to her satisfaction. That's okay, we're serving food. She told me to count the float but for some reason I kept messing up and dropping the change. After that, it was a disaster. I was too messy. I was too fast. I was too slow. I grated the cheese too vigorously (I was trying to be fast because this was after I was too slow).
At lunch (I was supposed to work till 5) she got all chummy with me, was asking questions and telling me about her life, and told me that if I wanted to quit anytime, I could. I said "Oh no, it's a 2 week placement, I should stick with it until I've got the hang of it." and she goes "Well, it can be a 1 day placement if you want."
After my lunch she told me I could just leave early since it wasn't very busy, and come back tomorrow. I left, went home, and cried because I knew I had screwed up. The job support lady called and I told her it was awful, she assured me I probably hadn't done as bad as I thought.
That evening she called me back and told me the crepe lady wasn't interested in continuing the placement because I needed too much training and she didn't have time. Okay, that's fair, but at least let me finish the shift. At least TELL ME YOURSELF. I later received a check for about 30 dollars and a request to return the uniform. My mom was so mad, she told a good friend of hers, who was so put out she decided to tell everyone she knew about my extremely short career in making crepes, and this lady knows a LOT of people. I don't know if it's related, but Crepes To Go seems to have gone. Bwahahaha.
This, people, is one reason I am glad to be in college instead of working food service. Also, I get to live in my parents' house, eat their food and watch their satellite TV for reasonable rent supplied by the government. That's the end of my story. Boring, but it had to be told. Man, I was so upset back then.
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 23:43, 4 replies)
I was made unemployed a couple of weeks back..
...the upside so far has been rediscovering my creative side (as evidenced on these here pages), the other upside is that I have now seen all porn ever made! :)
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 23:41, 1 reply)
dole, interrupted
I was unemployed on two separate occasions, when I lived in London in the 90s. The first was about six months after I had returned from South Africa with my stepbrother and my life's savings, which did not go all that far after being converted from Rand and spent in London on living expenses for two blokes. We also applied for, and got, housing benefit, which kept us afloat, though I learned a lot about frugality that serves me well as a (mature) student today. (One hint: forget Pot Noodles, find the Asian Market and get real Ramen and weird curry stuff.)

The best part about this dole period, which lasted about six months, was the day I could call up the office and say "I'm signing off". The Job Centre had done its work, and I had a contract job as a security administrator at a South Kensington museum. When I wasn't needed at my desk, I would wander the halls, talking to the guards, who had to be nice to me since I processed their sick days and leave requests. 8)

That ended after 18 months, I went back on the dole, and got offered an NVQ course in PC support in the City. I got the first part done and moved to the second, while applying for jobs. Dominant memory of that course: installing Microsoft Office on a PC using 36 floppy disks. Well, it killed time. (It was around the time that John Smith died - we could hear the sirens from the classroom.)

To my eternal surprise, I got an interview where the manager was as weird as I was, and a job offer. I got to make the call to the dole office, plus the pleasure of sauntering in to the course to tell them "I have to leave the course... because I have a job". And lo, there was rejoicing, and I never had to install Microsoft Office from floppy disc ever again, since the new employer was quite advanced: they had the CD-ROM drive!
(, Fri 3 Apr 2009, 23:19, 2 replies)

This question is now closed.

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