Friday, October 07, 2011

Follow the instructions on the card!

Another in my series of sour reflections on being unemployed...I turned up to Southern House on York Road in Leeds to sign on as unemployed. They gave me an appointment card which told we where and when to go to sign on. If you miss appointments they automatically finish your claim of course so it's important you get this right. The appointment card had an address in Stourton on it - sort of in Leeds but in the kind of motorway junction industrial nowheresville a few miles out of town.

Reasoning that they were idiots I ignored the address on the appointment card and turned up to Southern House again at the next designated appointment time - this was of course the right place. But what if I hadn't known that there was no way that people were going to Stourton to sign on? What if I hadn't known that the Post Office (or Royal Mail or whatever they are) have a big office there and that if I turned up I'd find myself at the post office depot? But this is the card they give to everyone - people who don't necessarily know all this stuff.

So, we have a large, bureacratic and systems based organisation which insists on its clients getting times and dates and places right or they won't get any money - they're handing out appointment cards to first time users giving them a list of times and dates and an address which is specifically not the place where they want people to go.

In a related matter they give you appointment times. They consistently run 25 minutes behind these times. Another good example to the great unwashed eh?

I've heard of them and they're a charity!

I used to work in 'the third sector' i.e. in a charity. They employ 600,000 people in the UK or something. When I became unemployed I had to sign a piece of paper to say that I'd check the Department of Work and Pensions job website everyday or something like that. It doesn't even have a section for 'charities' 'voluntary organisations' or 'the third sector'. I think the nearest they had was the civil service. They put this down on my official card thing.

You used to be able to browse job cards in the job centre so you could look in 'other sections' and you'd never know what would come up. But now you go to a website or computer terminal which throws up either zero or about 3,000 jobs depending on how you search. It's apparetnly better that way. When you sign on it also takes about 15 people to do what one or two did a few years back. This is because they have to interview you. I mentioned 'charities' and one 'advisor' mentioned I could try Oxfam. I think this is because he'd heard of them and that they were a charity.

Generous benefits

Hey people, have you heard about the 'generous benefits' that apparently attract hundreds of thousands of immigrants to Britain. I'm signing on as unemployed and get 60 something quid a week - for 6 months. After that I'll get a fat nowt. I've been paying the government for this for years now and that's all I get. Just thought I'd let you know. I say they should crack down on me and give the 60 quid to the banks.

Remember the ALMO

Here's another rubbish recruitment practice...A number of adverts have come up for jobs that appear to be in Leeds City Council - or the 'ALMOs' that were set up to decrease tenants rights and generally to pretend that they're a nasty private landlord and not the democratically elected Council. So the first question is why are they paying an outside firm to advertise jobs? I advertised a small number of jobs in my last job and it cost precisely nothing - and we got loads of applicants.

The second question is around who is eligible to apply. One of their essential criteria is 'enhanced CRB check in place'. So that's anyone who doesn't know what this is or doesn't have one ruled out. I do have one as it happens and as far as I'm aware they're not transferable, so they'll need to get one for the successful applicant anyway. I noticed one job dealing with adaptations for disabled people. I thought of all the people (myself included) who could apply. Perhaps someone with a disability themselves or someone from an advocacy group - or just someone with a brain who can listen to people and find out what they need, cross reference it with what's realistically available and take it from there. So what's the next essential criteria? It's "Minimum of 12 months experience of working in an environment that deals with adaptations for disabled people, preferably within a large (ideally public sector) organisation" So that'll be someone who's either already doing this job or has done this job then.

A cynic might think that this looks like theis advert is for people applying for their own job in 'not the Council' but it certainly means that a load of people who might be great at the job can't apply.

As it happens I've dealt with hundreds of Council tenants but I can't apply for any of these jobs because I've never done it in a housing department.

Am I bitter? Yeah! I don't make enough money from music to give up work completely and these people seem to be wasting everyone's time. I smell a rat! Call the man from the ALMO!

Feedback Sir?

Another example of shitty behaviour in the ‘job market’. I had an interview last Tuesday for an admin job. They turned me down later that afternoon – by email. A brief one at that. Presumably someone is too busy, cowardly or impolite to bother to talk to people who’ve applied and done an interview and read up about their organisation and spent bus fare getting there and whatnot. I guess it’s possible I missed the call.

The email did say they’d be happy to provide feedback so I telephoned on Wednesday morning. The person I needed to speak to was ‘in a meeting’ so I left my number (which they have on the application form anyway) and asked them to call back. No call on Wednesday. Or Thursday. Or Friday. They must have forgotten clearly. Or they’re too busy. Or they just don’t like the idea and don’t feel they have to. It might even be the modern way. I’m sooo tempted to say that I wouldn’t want to work for them anyway that I’m going to say it…ahem…I wouldn’t want to work for them anyway. There, I said it. Sloppy or cowardly – just rubbish! Not getting a job is one thing, but they should at least act like decent people, particulary when they're running a 'community' organisation.

Tired out after 15 hours...

I maintain that job adverts, recruitment, HR and the like are full of shite. They fuck up all the time but are never to blame for anything. Small things you might say - but annoying nonetheless. I’ve been meaning to copy up some of my ‘looking for a job experience’ for a while. Here’s a couple of small examples.

For example…I got an email today for a jobsite I signed up to. It had an admin job on it. First time it had come up. I decided to have a look. It’s ‘expired and cannot be applied for’. That’s at 7pm. They sent the email this morning – at 4am it seems. But that means that the time between the beginning of the advert and the job ‘expiring’ is less than 15 hours. Perhaps it got tired being on the internet all day and pegged out. Or someone fucked up. People looking for a job think there’s one they could apply for but there’s not. But because recruitment people and organisations are incompetent it ‘cannot be applied for’. It’s no big deal. It’s just another small 2 fingers up from ‘professionals’.