"I'm warning you it's going to happen," said the "Government's Face" in the Job Centre yesterday afternoon. "You are healthy, your child is healthy, you are not caring for anyone else. In October you will come off income support and go on Job Seeker's Allowance. You will need to be available for work."
"I've got a voluntary job, I was doing it this morning, I said I would co-ordinate the next event in July. It's enough for me at the moment as I fight housing problems and well, it's leading me to other, voluntary, opportunities. Can I continue to do this and not be forced onto Job Seekers?"
"No. You will have to look for waged employment."
So there the warning. Mine and my son's life over as we know it. In a few months I have to prove that I'm "actively" looking for waged work or my benefits will be cut.
Every fortnight walk into that soul-less building where the paint is chipping off the doors and windows, where a "Government Face" sitting behind a metal desk tells me to go up to the first floor.
I don't want this.
Oh you can say tough shit mamma but I've been on job seekers once before. It was fucking awful. I didn't have a child and week in, week out I would send covering letters and CV's to media outlets. I would work for free, sometimes weeks, sometimes months at a time (unbeknowst to the Job Centre admittedly), given the morning off every other week to go and sign on until one day, I finally got my break and was "employed".
I don't have the drive to do that anymore because I like the job I do - the parenting one I'm going to be told to outsource.
I don't have the drive to do that at the moment because I'm working so hard to secure my son's' basic foundation; a secure roof over his head.
"I hate how the Government is penalising mothers like me," I told the woman.
"I am the Government's Face," she replied. In her late fifties perhaps, softly spoken.
"I want to leave," I murmered as the familiar picture of noose and pills filled my mind and my son pricked my eyes. She handed me a tissue.
"Don't do that," I heard her voice break through. "We need skilled British workers to stay in the country."
Nothing I could say to that really, so I got up and walked out.