Dear Job Centre,
I visited you for the first time today. I woke up bright and early this morning (helped by Princess's super early wake up call), got dressed up in my smart interview clothes and left my house at 9.30am. I reached your building at 10.25am.
It takes me 50 minutes to travel from my house to your building by bus, including 15 minutes walking time.
This means, when I arrive at your building 5 minutes before my interview time, I do not appreciate being kept waiting until 10.50am.
I traveled across Nottingham to make this appointment. I waved my daughter off at the door, got on the bus and traveled for over half an hour and then walked the rest of the way. To be kept waiting. Four other people arrived and were taken to their advisers before I was seen. I could see several members of staff just lounging around, chatting.
I was asked to fill in a form. The questions were general, name, age, National Insurance number. Then came the question:
Who do you live with?
Options: Alone, With Parents, With Friends, With Guardian, With Family or Homeless.
My first instinct would usually be to pick With Family.. except the 'With Family' option clearly stated (e.g Grandparents)
MY FAMILY IS MYSELF, MY PARTNER AND MY DAUGHTER.
I do not live with my parents, or my friends, nor am I homeless. I live with my family. A family that I, as a Mother, take care of, not that take care of me.
There wasn't even a 'With Partner' option. So I wrote it in BLOCK CAPITALS.
I was starting to get very annoyed.
I was also confused as to why the last adviser I spoke to informed me 'I must dress smart and treat it as a real interview'. This was not the case at all. The girl that arrived after me was wearing black leggings with zips up the side and bright turquoise sandals with gems on. That's hardly interview attire, don't you agree? So here's me, dressed all smart, looking a TWAT because clearly, no one else bothered, and for what? TO BE LATE.
What if I had plans? What if I was waiting to go to an interview? Are you going to ring them up and explain "sorry, she couldn't make your interview, she had to come to the Job Centre." No, I didn't think so. Luckily, I had no plans, but that's far beyond the point.
I was eventually taken over to my adviser, who, to be fair, was a genuinely nice bloke. But the damage had already been done. I was already pissed off.
Apparently I was carted off to this 'youth centre' because I fall between the 18-24 age category. Now I can guarantee you that there are some pissed off 24 year olds out there that are being generalised as 'youths'. I've already proven I shouldn't be at this particular centre, simply by not fitting in to your little boxes.
The thing that annoyed me the most? Do you want to know the reason why I was dragged all the way to that particular Job Centre? For an appointment card.
Yes, that's right. This new adviser didn't tell me anything that the previous adviser hadn't told me during my last interview. The only thing that was different, was he gave me an appointment card for my sign on date.
I now have to travel all the way back to this 'youth Job Centre' on Wednesday for a 10 minute conversation. I have to spend my own money - which lets be honest, I'm not fucking rolling in - to come to your building and have someone pat me on the head and tell me I'm doing the right thing.
And then every fortnight after that.
I'm sorry Job Centre, but it's just not fucking on. There is a perfectly good Job Centre within walking distance of where I live that does exactly the same as you. Oh no sorry, I am mistaken. You have college advisers at your Job Centre. College advisers which are useless to me, because as you so kindly pointed out, I am overqualified to go back to College. Cheers for that.
So overall, I am more than disappointed with my experience so far. I realise I might sound ungrateful and petty but can you blame me? You're insulting, ageist and sexist. You make me feel like shit.
I have never been more convinced to find a job.
Maybe that was your plan all along?