Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Get On Your Bike

For background, I'm looking for a suitable job at the moment, after being made redundant due to company restructure, etc etc. I was, or might be again I suppose, a bit of a generalist, having to be competent at quite a few things to keep the wheels of the business I was involved in turning smoothly.
Like a lot of us no doubt.

However, having no particular specialisation, but varied competencies & experience gained from a good background in commercial publishing coupled with department management, I've found it difficult to tick the right ticky boxes on agency registrations, job search websites and so forth.

I've ranged far & wide in person and on the web in my search for suitable vacancies, but for some reason I'd never really considered my local Job Centre. So I thought I'd ring them up and make an appointment to see one of their career advisers.

What follows is the verbatim account of what happened next.

JC Woman: "Hello, Job Centre, how can I help you?"

Me: "I'd like to come in and talk to someone to get some advice and maybe some career leads. My problem is that the website job searches the job centre have, and the agencies as well, are making me tick boxes that aren't really 'me' and aren't giving me the kind of opportunities and vacancies that I can apply for successfully.
I thought if I could talk to someone who is involved with taking briefs from local companies I might get better results on what is out there at the moment."

Her: "Oh, ok, I see. Are you on benefits at the moment?"

Me: "No"

Her: "Err, ok, do you have any disabilities that might prevent you from working in particular roles?"

Me: "No".

Her: "Oh, well, if you don't have any disabilities and you're not on benefits then we can't really help you."

Me: "But, I haven't got a job at the moment, I want to work, and I need some help finding the right roles to apply for."

Her: "Well, we can't make an appointment for you to come in and talk to us unless you are on benefits and/or have a disability. You're welcome to come in and have a look at the boards or look on line yourself."

Me: "So you're saying that I have to wait until I'm so in trouble that I'm on benefits before you'll help me get a job? Would it be better if I lost my house as well?"

Her: "That's right. Unless you have a disability, anyway."

Me: (incredulously) "Really?".

Her: "I'll give you some phone numbers and some other website addresses etc"

Me: "Are those the same ones I can already get from your website?"

Her: "They might be."

Me: (laughing by now) "Right, ha ha, well, goodbye then".

Her: "Yes, sorry, goodbye"

You couldn't make it up, could you. If I saw this on the telly, on "Not Going Back To Work" or similar, I'd think, 'oh yeah, over imaginative scriptwriter at work'.

Several hours later, I still can't really believe it happened. So I've written it down, if only to give myself some evidence that I'm not trapped in some kind of Chekhov story.

I'm going in there tomorrow, to see what's what.


Five-Centres said...

Frankly it's typical.

They couldn't care less.

Good luck becoming an office pest again.

office pest said...

Thanks for stopping by F-C, & I appreciate the thought.

Clair said...

Apparently,you can get careers advice via the Open University, according to a mate who works there.

Misery Guts said...

This just doesn't surprise me. Chin up and keep looking and with some luck, and the wind blowing in the right direction, you'll soon find a new job to hate in no time at all!

office pest said...

thanks clair and misery guts.
I'm getting ready for an expose of the jobs market, as I've found it at least; in short, chaos and irrationality rules.

The Redundant Girl said...

Oh, I'm in similar shit my friend...(sighs)