Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Signing On

In 25 days (5th July), I will be celebrating nine years since I moved to London. In those nine years, I have tried my best to integrate and make a positive contribution to the country that welcomed me by working and paying taxes and by volunteering in various community groups.

Of course there has been highs and lows, and things could probably have gone better than they have (though I am only blaming my own inadequacies for this) but this week, I find myself signing on to receive the Jobseekers Allowance, Housing Benefits and Council Tax rebate.

I hope that this will only be the precautionary measure I want it to be and that I will find a new job soon but this can't help but grate against my values. This is also compounded by the rather depressing and very disheartening fact that, should I receive all that I have applied to, I may find myself better off unemployed (when everyone seems to agree that the Allowance is really not much) than I am when working. How can this be possible? Why should I bother looking for a new job, for other than ethical reasons?

I have never been very good at job-hunting, which is essentially selling oneself and although, in my first six years here, I have managed to raise my income by more than 50%, it remains quite low and way below the national average. In the past two or three years, the upward trend seems to have petered out and I don't think I am employed to the fullest of my abilities. I went from £12,000pa to about £19,000pa in my latest job and seems to have hit some sort of glass ceiling.

The economic climate makes this even more complicated. There are indeed jobs out there but there are also even more people after them than there used to be. My CV is varied and I am resourceful and a quick learner but there is nothing particularly outstanding to attract employers' attention. So it looks like I will probably be visiting the jobcentre regularly for quite a while.

To conclude and cut all the moaning short, I shall try and turn this post into a rather protracted job advert.

If anyone is looking for an (online) editor or editorial assistant cum proofreader in London, please do not hesitate to contact me for a copy of my CV.

Thank you.


2 comments:

  1. roguish.state6/11/2009 2:47 pm

    Hmm. Well. You have my enormous sympathy. What a bugger. But I must say I am surprised by your reaction. You are clearly not in a great head space, as the kids say. But your failure to acknowledge the amazing support on offer and simply to berate it (“should I receive all that I have applied to, I may find myself better off unemployed than I am when working. How can this be possible? Why should I bother looking for a new job, for other than ethical reasons?”) as part of the problem seems to me extremely short-sighted and frankly intellectually lazy. A decent, caring, progressive society needs safety nets.

    I hope a longer vision sets in with some (free) time to chillax.

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  2. Of course, it’s great to have the support but I think where I am coming is that the dole is reputed to be very low (even my advisor at the job center pointed out that it wasn’t going to be much) but it still turns out to be more than I earn (if I add housing benefit on top). That just makes me feel worthless.

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