Grumpy old fart!!!

"If you talk to God you're religious. If God talks to you, you're psychotic."

11 Week Review

The purpose of signing on is to enable the brown shirted minions to tick their little boxes and demonstrate to their masters that we, the unemployed are truly that, because without us they wouldn’t need to exist and although perhaps a contradiction they would be in our position.

I recently attended for my 11 week review with this dear lady called Comfort; the name did not live up to expectations. One of the questions related to further training was I or did I intend to undertake any further training, I suggested that I might register again with the Open University and study for a further degree. However, if I do this I need to gain their agreement and sign up to a learning contract as it might impact on my availability to work. Comfort wasn’t very impressed with my reply that having gained a degree whilst in full time employment, which didn’t cause my employer any problems that I am aware of  I certainly wasn’t going to ask their permission. But “rules is rules” and it will then become part of the jobseekers agreement – I think not.

I enjoy their assumption that they can threaten me with sanctions such as suspending my jobseekers allowance, I did point out to a spotty youth that as I wasn’t in receipt of the aforementioned charity donation therefore they could F.O.A.D. If it appears that they don’t have hold over you they become lost and powerless. There are times when I truly enjoy signing on if only to demonstrate that the individual can still cause discomfort.

I’m sure that my euphoria won’t last long but a short fix is better than none at all.

November 13, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment


Signing on at the Jobcentre is vexing to say the least, in and out in less than five minutes. Runs like clockwork one might say; however try to deviate from the norm.

I started working for a nursing agency which requires a period of induction to ensure standards are uniform which is good for the clients, organisation and staff. We all know what is expected and how to meet those expectations. Unfortunately one of my training days is on the day that I sign on. I posed the question, “could I change my signing day due to training?” simple request and under normal circumstances a request easily accommodated. No, we are talking about bureaucracy here, “Friday is your signing on day, if you miss it you will need to be interviewed to decide whether the reason for not attending is valid”.

“But I’m attending a course”

“But you will have failed to attend and a decision will need to be reached by a senior manager”

Now for the best piece, “we will then decide whether your Job Seekers allowance continues or is suspended”

“But I don’t receive Job Seekers allowance”

“You will still need to be interviewed”

“Perhaps I shouldn’t attend the training day, would that help?”

“Now you’re being difficult”

Failing to attend either session is seen as difficult – Thanks Selema for your help and understanding.

An email of complaint rectified the situation but clearly the “brown shirted minions” are incapable of independent thought.

Have we bred a nation of idiots who are unable to deviate from the norm? Clearly there can be flexibility but only if one makes a fuss, it’s enough to make one reach for the Prozac.

November 9, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Signing on

My first day to sign on I committed the cardinal sin of being late. Brief apologies and try to make light of the embarrassment. No, that doesn’t work. “We will stop your benefits if this happens again”. “Well as you aren’t paying me do I really care? In a word; NO”. My comments weren’t receive well, even less so when I offered to go home. No I can’t go home, I just have to wait with all the other sad looking individuals – sorry, we are no longer individuals with responsibilities and status, now we are reduced to a statistic.

When I am seen the interview lasts all of five minutes, “what have you done to find work in the past fortnight, have you been in paid or unpaid work in the past fortnight?” having answered “No” I sign their form and leave in less than five minutes.

Was that it? No humour, no support, no interaction or meaningful dialogue. I seem to recall Charlie Drake had more fun signing on, but that was in the days of black and white television. Colour appears to have reduced to a grey mass.

November 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment


For those who haven’t endured this process it is not only tedious but time consuming and one comes away from the experience wondering “do these people actually know what they are doing?” I don’t think so.

After becoming unemployed one should register the very next day, or when you finally meet your interrogator they want to know why the delay, even though I only left it two working days. Not sure of the process, still in shock just don’t cut it – “well you wont get paid for the missing days” do I care? No!!!

My initial interview repeats all the information already given in a lengthy telephone conversation; don’t they talk to each other? Clearly not. After repeating all my personal details such as income, dependents, outgoings, savings qualifications the information is sent away for a decision to be made. No the local bureaucrats are not able to make that decision, more “jobs for the boys”.

 No I am not entitled to any benefits, again why can’t they tell claimants if they have more than so much saved (it clearly does not pay to save) or a pension then you wont receive anything, perhaps this is just too easy and, and this feeds my paranoia about Big Brother they wouldn’t have even more personal information about the individual.

November 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment


Like many I have recently been made redundant but the Health Service like to ease the pain by allowing me to retire early, which allows the benefit of two pay-outs. Much better that many. However and this is the rant.  I left early in May and received a phone call from my manager, which sounded as if she was eating her lunch, but time is precious and one should be grateful for some contact. Then from my last working day until I finished at the end of July no further contact. Did I smell or have a contagious disease? Who can tell certainly no one said. After my final day of employment I received my P45 in the post. No, no letter of thanks despite 33 years service and 25 years working for the same NHS Trust. It certainly made me feel unvalued and that my contribution was worthless; sadly this isn’t a rare experience, I don’t think managers consider the feelings of their colleagues but view them as a means to an end which enables them to meet their targets.

November 6, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment