Friday, 16 December 2011

Fresh Start? - Part 2.

Registering as unemployed was a bit of an ordeal. Completing an online questionnaire to apply for job seekers allowance (JSA) took the best part of 45 minutes. I found the questions quite upsetting in that you had to provide the most personal of details. Whether it was just me being over sensitive i don't know, but i read into the questions an underlying sense of blame from the authorities for my predicament. I felt as if i was on trial, guilty until i could prove my innocence as it were, that everyone who was applying for JSA was trying to cheat the system. I know it's silly, but that is how i felt. I felt demeaned. This after working full time since i was 18. and having taken nothing from the system in all that time.
After completing the forms i got a telephone call with an appointment to meet with my "personal adviser" at my local JobCentre Plus office. In the few days between completing the online application and the appointment at the job centre i had picked myself up a bit to the point where i regarded my redundancy as an opportunity to make a fresh start, possibly change careers (although i have no idea what i could do) and be excited about where my future may lead. I went to the adviser interview with a positive attitude.

It wasn't as bad as i had anticipated after getting past the initial embarrassment of being signed in by a suited gentleman that looked like a bouncer and being sent upstairs, then ushered through  a locked door to another large office and told to wait until my name was called.
The assessment with my "personal adviser" went ok. She went to auto-pilot asking me questions about what had happened, what i wanted to do and what sort of employment i was looking for. I had to sign a declaration that i was actively seeking work and was given a booklet into which i had to enter everything that i was doing in my attempt to find work. Where i was looking, what web sites i was looking at and registering on, newspapers and magazines,employment applications,responses and follow-ups with results. I was to bring this for scrutiny at the jobcentre every two weeks. I was told that i had been accepted for Job Seekers allowance and that i would receive £67.50 a week paid fortnightly. Goodbye Mr. Wissy and good luck.

To be continued....... 

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Fresh Start? - Part 1.

I haven't blogged since October so many apologies for that, but i do have an excuse. The last quarter of 2011 has not been kind to me.

First of all i developed a really intense pain in my back and buttock which continued down my lower left leg and into my  foot. My foot and toes were numb on the top but very painful underneath. The closest that i can describe the pain was like when i had a tooth abcess a few years ago. Almost unbearable at it's worst.

I went to the Doctors who said that i almost certainly had sciatica. She prescribed painkillers and said that it would almost likely clear up on its own accord. I could walk only a short distance and the condition made me walk with a limp. I was unable to drive so was unable to work. I felt weak and feeble. It was impossible to get comfortable whether i was sitting, standing or sleeping.

Then the second bad bit of news.. My company closed and i was made redundant at the beginning of October. I had worked for this company for over 34 years. Although i guessed that redundancy was a possibility, when it came, it was a still a shock to the system. At the age of 56 i found myself unemployed and feeling really rough due to the sciatica which was not improving.

For the first time in my life i found myself hobbling into the JobCentre to sign on for jobseekers allowance. I had become a statistic of the recession.
To be continued.....