Opinion

The Job Seeker Problem

jcp

Don’t you love that moment when you’ve finished three hard and expensive years of university and then you have to walk, degree in hand, into the Job Centre? I sure didn’t when I signed on yesterday. An inevitability, but one I didn’t enjoy nonetheless.

The Job Centre gets a lot of bad press as an institution that conjures up images of tracksuit-clad benefit cheats and kids who can’t spell “GCSE”. Not an accurate view but a stereotype that still exists. Now, I’m not saying I didn’t see anyone in a tracksuit when I when I dragged myself to the Job Centre yesterday but the one occupant that stuck in my mind was the mad waiting next to me.

Photo: hazymemory [via flickr]

I was nervous. Very nervous. I like it being there but that doesn’t mean I have any desire to make use of the welfare state. But the man next to me was clutching his phone, keys and passport in his hand like his life depended on it. He wasn’t smartly dress but then again I think even I was the most smartly dress person in the building in my shirt and jeans, and that’s including the staff. I’d put money on him having worked all of his life and very recently having lost his job. When a vile hag woman forced him to give up his seat with a grunt an a poke he stood up and almost did a full spin looking for where he was meant to go next. He looked lost and fille with worry.

When I finally sat down to sort out my claim I could almost smell the shits that the man across the desk from me didn’t give. I bet these people despair at some of the “job seekers” that come to their desk but you could tell that he didn’t even care that for once someone who wanted to work was sat opposite him. It’s not the tracksuits that are the demoralising thing about the Job Centre; it’s the uncaring bored staff. It’s not the job seekers that are the problem, it’s the Job Centre itself.

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