Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Hi. Can I give you my (statistical) number?

After a glorious six months of official unemployment and claiming job seekers' allowance (yes, I am dole scum, a queue monkey, a drain on public resources - and any other terms you can think of, don't let me stop you), the Department for Work and Pensions, or DWP, or from hereon in - Those Wankers - have decided to place me on yet another different scheme. Because it was clearly obvious what the first two schemes were. Yeah. I now attend fortnightly interviews with a real life person - I've been assigned a really lovely woman who I can't fault at all - in order Job stuff. I had the first of these this morning with my woman and for once, someone actually took the time to sit down with me and explain whereabouts I am in the system and what's what. Lovely stuff.

Anyway, the interesting part comes in the form of a tri-folded booklet - of course it does, what else? (Plus it looks wonderfully like a murder scene with footprints outlined in chalk and Poirot on hand - to never be wrong, Madame.) This form offers my prospective new employers £500 from Those Wankers if I am employed for over 16 hours a week, for over six months, and a further payment of £500 after that six months. At first glance I thought this looked great, an incentive for someone to finally employ me for their own good! Other than the good I can supply in the form of being a fully functional and grammatically correct human being. Worker. Person. Whatever. It looked like something interesting to put in my nigh endless conveyor belt of cover letters, something to grab the eagle eyes of whichever poor bastard actually has to read my swarm of self-important adjectives.

I took a second look. And a third, just to check for any typos.

Nope, this is not a good thing.

This is a label on my shirt, a price on my head and a massive fucking pound sign stuck to my face. I might as well have my national insurance number tattooed to my forearm. This isn't a work incentive for anyone; it's the DWP pawning me off and essentially forcing a company to hold me ransom for their grand, then dumping me back on the pavement to rejoin the great unwashed. The booklet and initiative is called Recruitment Subsidy - Self-Marketing Voucher. I really don't want to go into how this title makes me feel, but basically it involves a lot of swearing and waving my arms around. I am a number; a statistic and an insignificant yet irritating rash on the government. A bit like herpes, only with a better haircut.
And yet, I can't help but wonder if this amount is merely cheaper than Those Wankers having to keep me for another six months - and after calculating once on paper, and twice on a calculator as I trust these much more - it turns out the DWP are saving themselves around £250 just to get rid of me. I feel so special.