I'm still not sure while writing this that I should be as I don't want this to piss off any of my good friends stuck in unemployment hell.
So back at the tail end of summer I got a job with a huge tech firm of Japanese origin. It isn't massively paid and sometimes it isn't that mentally straining but after a long period of not working it was far better than I could hope for.
So I find myself now with a company vehicle, equipment, security passes galore, fuel card, company credit card, branded polo shirt and a Tesco's loyalty card full of points earned from fuel bought travelling the country. Yes I know The Man now has all my details and can track everything I do but I could care less.
Thing is now I have something more important, that a job shouldn't give you as you should be more self assured but I'm not that fortunate. It's a sense of being appreciated and needed by society or fuck it, just anyone.
Long periods of unemployment just suck the life out of you. You are treated like a worthless scrounger by the media, the authorities and random people who see you walking into the Job Centre. Every time you turn on the TV or talk radio they are talking about
a) how people who can't get jobs aren't trying
b) that we're all fucking minted & pissing it away on flat screen TVs
c) that employers ask people to turn up to interviews and they never show up
d) it's the easy option being unemployed
It's like when you break up with someone and every song on the radio is about heartbreak and everywhere you look people are snogging each others faces off. It's just an infection.
OK in my journey through the IDS ghost train of fuckery I have encountered a minority of people who could be described as playing the system and genuinely actively not willing to do what it takes to get a job. Yet the employers themselves can be equally as blasé.
The amount of times I've been told "We'll let you know, won't leave you hanging" after an interview and never hearing anything, not even a mass email. "You did a brilliant interview, we think you'd be great but we think you'll leave once you find a better option as this isn't exactly taxing" - they have no concept of what it's like out there these days. Yet you also think "well if that's how you treat people then...."
We've all read the horror stories of people being left at the mercy of faceless bureaucratic decisions that leave them penniless and desperate at the click of a mouse. How government agencies with little to no knowledge of personal circumstances can plunge unemployed people into an Orwellian abyss. Tragic deaths happen when a society at its core is run by people who have little grip on the reality that 99% of the population experience 24/7
Russell Brand's "Don't vote" manifesto is student arse-gravy but when you look at the choices we'll have come May 2015 don't you just shake your head in disbelief. No wonder the politics of fear and division peddled by UKIP are so attractive to some people as at least you know what they stand for - even if it is bullshit.
The work is really varied from helping set up new systems in whole office buildings, install whole shops worth of equipment, patch networks, strip out whole shops full of equipment, help people solve IT problems, customer service and all that. So many different environments, new challenges and things to learn and apply. I get to see the rest of the country a bit more and visit a few more record shops, natch.
That's me at the moment. I'm more level and happy than I have been in a long time - anxiety and depression at an all time low. I have great support from my friends and family who helped me get this far through their love and belief that I could do it.
And I'm setting myself up for a fall writing this as I could be back in the cesspool at any point, none of us know what's round the corner. However I'm enjoying what I'm doing, the people I'm working with and for (mostly, there are always idiots) and also sort of know what I'm doing most of the time.
So I say to anyone who is struggling through the government's attempts to strip you of any dignity - hold on, it will come good soon and don't let the bastards grind you down.