Friday, 9 September 2011

Work, benefits and dignity

"Are you still working in the pub?" asked the new Lithuanian girl at the coffee shop last Monday morning.
"I don't think so no."
"Oh because [the boss] said if you were working there you could have your coffee for free but if you're not you can't so that will be £1.50 please!"
"Right, why would you tell me that?! Anyway, I was hoping to catch [the landlady]. She comes in here sometimes doesn't she?"
"Yes, they all do..."

And on we talked.

On Thursday I saw the school caretaker who sometimes came into the pub on my shift.
"I wasn't going to go begging for the job back," I said.

And that's what made me upset and angry about the whole thing. I made a mistake and I sent a message apologising, I went round to the pub a couple of times, I left messages, I never heard anything back. Did she want me to beg for the job?

If so I wasn't going to.

Being on benefits chips away at alot of us. Strips away our dignity. It'll be worse on jobseekers, reminded every fortnight of how desperate and futile some of our situations are. You don't need employers to make you feel like that aswell.

"She fired me without telling me," I told the caretaker. "So I quit without telling her."

The job will not go on my cv and fortunately for me, the prospective boss who met me there, didn't ask me about it. Just said: "You look very different to how I remember you when you worked in the pub."
"How so?" I asked, bemused.
"I don't know, maybe your hair was up that day."

Dignity. Those of us on benefits want to preserve what we have, not have it challenged and tested all the time.

Am I making any sense?

Been a long morning and the job centre can have that effect on you.

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