Feel violated

My notice period from work ran out last Thursday, so today I duly contacted the Job Centre to see about what unemployment benefits I may be entitled to. At the very least I’ll get my NI stamp paid, but I did think after 6 years of paying into the system in the “recognised” way (i.e. not self-employed) that I might be entitled to something.

And yes, because I’m not married either (although the “proper job” had more to do with it), it seems I “may” be entitled to Job Seeker’s Allowance for “up to” 182 days.

I had a long-winded conversation with them on the phone this morning, and I have to go through it all again on Thursday, in person, and I even have to take with me proof of the cash in hand I have … What do I do? Show it them? (Yes, apparently …)

I’ve not been entitled to unemployment  benefit of any sort for so long because I was usually self-employed and married. So this time, while I get on my feet, I’m damned if I’m not going to claim.

They also reckon they can find me a job … or they did, until I told them what I do. Not much call for magazine editors in Barnsley. Or book editors. And when I say I’m also a writer, they ask if I’ve ever had anything published … I bet they don’t ask the out-of-work dustman if he ever empties any dustbins!

It was only an initial phone call, but already I feel dirty, sullied and violated. And I have to go through it all again on Thursday, when I also take them my proof of cash in hand …

Today it’s all hands to the pump. I need to clear the work I have and pitch for more, shift another assignment, and at the very least get some letters or fillers out. My target this week is 3 (fillers/letters). I also have a novel to kickstart.

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10 thoughts on “Feel violated

  1. Just remember when you go down there that we’re all behind you! I know what those places are like so don’t let them make you feel anything that you’re not. You have a plan and it WILL work! 🙂

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  2. It’s because they can’t pigeonhole you. They can’t deal with anything out of the norm. Our jobcentre told my partner to ‘dumb down’ his CV because ’round here they don’t want 40 year old Managers’.

    Best of luck dealing with them, and don’t let them grind you down. Remember, you’ve earned the support you need right now.

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    1. Yes, when I was there … 30 years ago, they were saying I needed to be more flexible in the work that I’d be prepared to do and that I should lower my sights … I was an admin clerk then.

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  3. Also remember that, while you could be sitting behind their desk doing their job, they couldn’t be at your computer doing yours! You clearly have particular skills and these must be recognised and not denied. Best of luck from the whole writing family.

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  4. Carol

    I did the same when I was made redundant last year. Although it was an unpleasant experience to actually go in, I found all the working people at the centre wanting to be very helpful and did treat me with respect.
    I felt they were glad to be speaking to someone with more than half a brain cell, at least I think I have.
    I felt as you did, that I had ‘paid into the system’ all my working life and why shouldn’t I get something back, but it’s really not easy doing it.

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