One too many interviews got me in trouble with the JobCentre

Yes, really.

Yesterday I was admonished at the JobCentre for travelling to too many job interviews, then snubbed and bullied for daring to claim for another rail warrant to attend an interview next week.

Travel to Interview…no more
I have blogged before about Travel for Interview Scheme (TIS). If you need to travel to a job interview outside your local area, you may be entitled to TIS – if your local JobCentre approves your claim, they will issue you a rail warrant, which can be exchanged for a train ticket on the day of the travel.

This helpful scheme is one of only two reasons (the other one being NI credits) I decided to stay signed on at the JobCentre, as I am not entitled to a single penny in Jobseeker’s Allowance this year for not having paid NI contributions in 2008 and 2009 (I was studying in 2008, unemployed in 2009).

It is the only incentive I have to keep filling in “the six actions I have done to find work” in the JobCentre’s “dole book” and present them to the JobCentre every fortnight.

Well, the bad news is that the scheme has now closed. I only found out because as I called the JobCentre to tell them I had another interview in London (I live on the south coast) next week, instead of the usual invite for an appointment to get TIS, I was summoned in for a “meeting with a personal adviser”.

It didn’t sound good.

So I googled “Travel for Interview” in advance and found out, purely by accident, that the scheme is no longer available. That is according to the DirectGov website, but, in reality, it seems as if, despite tighter controls, each branch is still handing it out at their own discretion.

Investigated
The appointment with the personal adviser turned out to be an inquiry into why I had been to interviews five times outside my local area and still had not landed a job. Was I going for the right type of jobs? Was I preparing myself appropriately before interviews? Had I requested feedback after each job rejection? Could I not find jobs more locally?

I had indeed claimed for TIS five times in the past few months, including two for second interviews, and all of them for publishing jobs. I happen to have more than 15 years of publishing sales experience; and my last job was in publishing… To me it is the fastest and most obvious route back into the job market. But not to the JobCentre.

“Money is tight,” the personal adviser said. I was not to assume I could automatically claim TIS, was I clear, and they would not be able to issue any more warrants for jobs in publishing, as it seemed I was not getting anywhere in that field. Instead, I should go for more general jobs, such as PA, which I could find more easily in the local area.

She then deleted “journalism” from the list of areas “where I am looking for work” to include “PA”. I now have:

  1. publishing
  2. PA/secretary
  3. event organiser

under the “type of jobs I am looking for”. Curiously, searches on the JobCentre site under those codes still produce jobs in “store cleaning” ,”nursery assistants” and “charity fundraising”…

Once the personal adviser was satisfied that I had not been trying to abuse the system but was genuinely trying to find a job, she printed my new “Jobseekers Agreement”, which I had to sign to show my commitment towards finding work. I was then sent to the floor below to see the adviser who deals with Travel for Interview warrants.

Bullied
The TIS lady received me with the warmth of someone about to interview a mass murderer. Scowling, she spat her words to drive home the fact that she was less than pleased I was travelling out of town for yet another interview.

She reminded me once more I would not be paid any more TIS for jobs in publishing, that any further claims for TIS would be considered on a case-by-case basis.  The conversation that ensued left me speechless and later drove me to tears:

“Where is the interview in London?”

“The nearest station is Sloane Square.”

“Sloane Square?! We can only pay until Victoria. You’ll have to make your own way from there. Sloane Square is not far fromVictoria.”

“….”

“The 12.05 train will get you there at 13.28. That’s an hour before the interview, so plenty of time….”

It suddenly dawned on me this was my punishment for daring to ask for a Travel for Interview warrant. She was suggesting I get there an hour early so that I had time to walk from Victoria to Chelsea. With trainers on, it might take me half an hour. Wearing an interview suit and heels, and if it rains, it could take from 45min up to an hour and my feet are likely to blister and bleed (Update for those who thought I was exaggerating: I have huge, problematic bunions on both feet).

I looked at her eyes and recognised the same crazed hatred I used to see in the bullies at school: those who spat at me for being the only Oriental kid in class, cut my notebooks in half with a knife and scribbled unrepeatable swearwords on my seat.

In shock and humiliation, my mind drew a blank and I had trouble remembering my postcode and my home telephone number to fill in my TIS claim form…

I can understand rules are sometimes harsh but need to be followed. But bullying? Can there ever be any justification for unnecessary cruelty, especially towards the unemployed, who are skint, demoralised and most likely depressed? Isn’t the job of the JobCentre to give support to help jobseekers get back into work as soon as possible?

Wasting money
I noticed the TIS lady wrote down £24.90 on her copy of the document. This is because it costs £24.90 for a return ticket from my local station to London Victoria if you buy it on the day. This is because the JobCentre doesn’t, as a rule, allow you buy your own ticket and claim for reimbursement later.

The absurdity is that, if they did, I could have bought an advance ticket online, including London Underground Zones 1-6, for £13.30 on the Southern Railway website. This would have saved the JobCentre £11.60 and myself the unnecessary humiliation of being “dropped off” in Victoria and told to walk the rest of the way.

How much travel money is actually being wasted by the JobCentre this way, while they try to make savings by restricting the number of times anyone can have their travel to interview subsidised? How much more money wouldn’t they save from closed JSA claims, if active jobseekers were, instead, encouraged to attend as many interviews as they can get?

Thankfully my partner is in work and, although we live on an incredibly tight budget, I can just about buy a London underground travel card once I get to Victoria.

But someone virtually on the breadline may not have been able to afford the extortionate £6.60 that an off-peak day travel card costs for zones 1-2. Depending on the time of travel, you can pay up to £15.00 for a London underground travel card for zones 1-6. That sum could exceed the cost of a family dinner in some households. What if it is a choice between eating or paying for a train ticket to get to a job interview, which, if successful, would mean one fewer benefit claimant for the Department for Work and Pensions and the JobCentre to sustain?

None of this makes sense to me.

Not too many interviews
In 10 days’ time I must present myself at the JobCentre again to show the adviser “the six things I have done to actively find work”. Due to the JobCentre’s ambiguous attitude towards interviews, I now know those entries cannot be six job interviews, as subsidised travel clearly becomes an issue after five interviews, especially if potential employers in your field tend to be located out of town.

I will have to start turning down any interviews I get from anywhere beyond zone 1 or 2 in London, as that is the most I can afford out of my own pocket, in my seventh month of unemployment.

Now I am also obliged to spend a few hours a week applying for secretarial jobs I come across, even though my experience as a PA is so outdated I am highly unlikely to be shortlisted for interview. Although time spent applying for such jobs will take away from time I could spend applying for jobs I am far more likely to get (in publishing), that is what the JobCentre wants me to do.

Again, I question: how many unemployed people are having their jobseeking efforts hampered by their JobCentres by being artificially forced to apply for jobs that are not suited for them at all? And how much precious government money is going down the drain because of an inefficient system that penalises rather than support active jobseekers?

Failure and guilt
More bad news awaited me when I got home. A voice message from a recruitment consultant confirmed I had not got a job for which I had been interviewed twice already.  Four nights without sleep preparing a presentation for the final interview; 16hs of travel in total; hundreds of pounds in train fares. For nothing.

I feel as if I have failed myself, my recruitment consultant, my friends, my parents, my partner, and now also the JobCentre for having wasted two of their TIS warrants. This is not right.

Being rejected from a job hurts. But having to feel guilty for going to too many interviews, and being bullied by the JobCentre before travelling to one is not only preposterous; it is utterly inhumane and disgraceful.

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Have you had a similar experience and would like to share? Please leave a comment below or write to me privately if you do not mind being contacted for an interview for an newspaper piece. All names will be kept confidential upon request.

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112 Comments

Filed under Interviews, Unemployment

112 responses to “One too many interviews got me in trouble with the JobCentre

  1. Lee

    ‘Yesterday I was admonished at the JobCentre for travelling to too many job interviews’

    I was kicked off a training course for writing too many spec letters to employers.

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  2. Nice site. Theres some good information on here. Ill be checking back regularly.

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  3. You’re clearly a writer. You have, especially, the ability to turn strong feelings into words. I wish that the words were £££.

    With all good wishes.

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  4. Beth

    Very interesting and well-written blog. I just wanted to say how sorry I am to hear about this stupid self-defeating bureaucracy you’ve fallen foul of. Would it be worth sending a copy to Norman Baker, just to see what his take is on it?

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    • That’s a very good idea, Beth, thank you. Norman Baker works for the Dept of Transport anyway, doesn’t he? If the JobCentre doesn’t have the funds to sponsor Travel to Interview any more, it would be helpful if unemployed people could get either a complimentary ticket or a heavily discounted one on days they are travelling to an interview away from their local area. The JobCentre would still check the evidence, but train companies would cooperate w/ the government and facilitate jobseeker’s travel to appointments like that. Seems like such a simple idea but I’m probably too naive and there are hundreds of reasons why it can’t be implemented…

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  5. gherkinette

    This is ridiculous. One of the justifications of the changes to Housing Benefit is that people must be prepared to travel around to find work…while the JobCentre takes away the money it offered that allows people to do that.

    We need changes to the Welfare State such as allowing you to buy a ticket in advance and claim back, helping to save money and allow the scheme to be extended. We also need changes on permitted work and a million other small but significant tweaks. So the govt is ignoring all of that and bringing in UC instead with all its associated costs and very few answers. The deck chairs on the Titanic spring to mind.

    PS: I don’t know if this makes you feel better or froth more. In London TIS never covers the Tube unless you can prove it is the only way possible for you to get there (like for a 9am interview). Otherwise, they only issue for buses, even if it’s 3 there and back. And if it’s less than 45 minutes, they’ll tell you to walk.

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    • “One of the justifications of the changes to Housing Benefit is that people must be prepared to travel around to find work…while the JobCentre takes away the money it offered that allows people to do that.” – Exactly. Why is the government saying one thing and doing another that contradicts it??

      Re TIS I have had London underground covered before, but maybe it was because the interview was in North London and not within walkable distance from an overground station. It would be good if there were written rules for TIS we could refer to, wouldn’t it? I will try to find out…

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  6. This is shocking and demeaning treatment.

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  7. Horrifying and astonishing, Chie.

    Well, it should be. Except, sadly, it’s not really astonishing if you’ve ever had anything to do with JobCentre Minus.

    All I can do is send you a big virtual hug. And say you deserve so, so much more xxx

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  8. I can sympathise with you. I have been unemployed almost a year now & I find the whole condescending attitude depressing.

    The whole system is designed as a state sponsored scheme for unskilled underpaid low & non skilled jobs, which obviously costs the state more money but makes employment figures look good.

    The system purposely deviates you from trying to find a job in the level you are qualified for, and when you want to retrain or increase your qualification level, the aforementioned system blocks you from doing that!

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    • “Condescending attitude” is a good way of describing it, Michael. Just because you lost your job for whatever reason, you are suddenly reduced to this pitiful creature that needs help… It’s the lack of dignity that hurts, doesn’t it?

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  9. me

    My daughter claimed jsa for a couple of weeks, then had to stop as her treatment at the jobcentre made her suicidal.

    She has no income and cannot get a job.

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    • I am so very sorry to hear about your daughter. I completely understand and empathise. Unemployment has led me to depression as well, and I will be blogging about this topic soon. She’s not alone…
      I hope your daughter has talked to a GP about how she feels? Counselling sessions can be available through the NHS, so please do make enquiries. I will email you privately about this in due course.

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  10. Absolutely shocking. Back in the days when I was doing manual labour and catering jobs etc, the job centres in Bognor Regis and Swansea helped me a lot. In recent years, though, I’ve only been treated with disdain. I went to the Brighton one once, in 2007, and quickly realised they had no intention of helping me.

    I’d been teaching English abroad for a few years, then to refugees in London for a year, then been made redundant following a change in government funding. The job centre advised me to adjust my expectations, and my CV to make it clear that I had experience of using the phone and so on. I walked out and never went back – I got better service and more respect from the private recruitment agencies, for whom I did secretarial work in hospitals and mental health centres for a few months until I got my job at The Grocer.

    I think it has something to do with bitterness – you’re basically aiming for a “better” job than the people who are supposed to be helping you feel they have achieved themselves. Why do you want to go to London? Is Brighton not good enough for you? Etc.

    I’m truly sorry you’re being treated the way you are. And you make a very good point about advance train tickets – typical inefficient bureaucracy.

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    • I know JobCentres are not recruitment agencies, so they can’t be expected to delve into your CV and discuss your career choices with you (even recruitment agents don’t do that these days), etc but I think people get frustrated for being regarded in such a one-dimensional way.
      Their job is to get people off benefits as quickly as possible, and they think downgrading the type of job you’re looking for to a less skilled one and more local, you’ll find work sooner. The irony is: that does not happen. Employers are not stupid. They can see, by looking at your CV, that if they employ someone with a degree to stack shelves, for example, they won’t stick around for long so they don’t offer it to you in the first place. In the end it just prolongs unemployment.
      As to “Is Brighton not good enough for you?”, my personal answer is yes, I’d love to have a job in Brighton, but the type of jobs I’m applying for (publishing) are located mostly in London or further afield, what can I do? I guess it’s not a question of which city or which job is superior to which but what is the most practical solution to each person’s (unemployment) situation. And in that sense the JobCentre is totally impractical!

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  11. It is solely the Jobcentre’s remit and function. They are tasked with ensuring that YOU (and every jobseeker) don’t have a “settled way of life”. In regards to preventing a “benefit lifestyle culture” everyone sees it as fair enough… but when it comes to practical things like important job interviews they don’t care. They are in authority and you shall do as you are told. Its a very contradictory system but confusion boosts their authority.

    The second link you posted I quote the following false statement:-

    “It is not possible to ‘sign on’ in advance, as this would leave a period unaccounted for.”

    That is not true. If you sign on every Monday (for example), take this month… it could be 11th July and 25th July. There is nothing stopping them (at their discretion) of signing you on not on your normal cycle. If you had a job interview on the 25th July… you couldn’t sign (to their unofficial rules) on the 24th July and again on the 8th August. You would have to sign again on say the 26th July for the period of 1 day. Claim doesn’t have to be to the benefit week.. it can be in parts and this is what happens if you hand in your ES40/sign off. Some people sign on weekly (at a certain stage of their claim) and some have the pilot of daily signing!! Thus it is possible they just do not want to. Anyone who signs on are aware of the paper where any date range can be added – as is manually inserted. This could be for a day or up to 2 weeks.

    In fact, there is no reason (for example) why a person signing on Thursday instead of Wednesday can’t sign up until Wednesday… other than wanting to award a 2 week benefit sanction! You can backdate… including on the ES40 form… if you signed on the 11th July… you can hand in the booklet on the 25th July with the last day being the 12th July. You can also date it in the future. The only difference is this would sign you off also.

    To my understanding TIS was scrapped but advisors have a fund they can use to achieve the same – not sure if this is a partial rename with merge of the previosu discretionary fund; and whether individual Jobcentres choose to unofficially use the TIS title as people understand it. They shouldnt be using the name if it don’t exist. Likewise, it could be per area budget. Some areas might have exceeded their budget which ends the scheme, where new funding for it hasn’t been assigned. Others might have left over monies in that budget to continue with until they dry up.

    You might enjoy this read… http://www.workprogramme.org.uk/201106271554/understanding-jobseekers-allowance.html (hopefully its of some help not just a shameless piece of promotion)

    Have you considered The Guardian? This blog article clearly exceeds many of their articles!! They are amongst the best for news I think.

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    • Thanks for your loyal readership.
      I am curious about what the rules are for funds for travel to interview post-TIS, so will make some phone calls to the DWP and find out, as it might be interesting for other jobseekers too. When I have dug out some more facts and figures I will try to put together a “proper article”. I may even try the Guardian. 😉

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    • ES40

      I believe you have only 5 days to sign off, so if you started work on the 12th July 2011 you would have 5 working days to hand in your ES40. If you waited until the 24th your claim….ok that’s a bad example to use, if you had started work on the 12th your claim would be closed from the 11th (your last sign on) no matter what you did with your ES40.
      For a better illustration we will say you started work on 14th July, and you want to be paid JSA for the 12th &13th, you have 5 working days to tell the jobcentre your sign off day is 13th July, best to assume that the 13th counts as day #1. If you handed in your ES40 on 24th July to sign off from the 13th July, your claim will be closed from the 11th July as you had exceeded the 5 working Days.

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  12. holizz

    I didn’t know I could ask the JobCentre for travel expenses (they never told me). When I was living in Sheffield I actually got the two companies outside of Sheffield I interviewed with to refund me. Once was a return ticket to London costing more than £100 (that was the job I got), and once was a return flight to Berlin.

    I don’t know if that’s something you feel you can ask for from employers in your field, but it helped me get a job (and visit a nice German museum – though I didn’t get refunded for that €5).

    Like

    • Hi there. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. The JobCentre normally doesn’t tell you about TIS, as it is obviously not in their interest to have every jobseeker claiming transport costs. I was only told about it a good few weeks after I started claiming JSA last time I was out of work.
      I have tried asking companies before if they reimburse money for fares for travelling to interviews and only one (a very large publisher) has ever agreed. The JobCentre adviser told me in the old days they used to all do it, but now they don’t any more, probably because of the economy…
      Of course going to Berlin (or anywhere abroad) is a different story. Even I wouldn’t dare take that kind of claim to the JobCentre… ;D

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  13. Sadly not at all surprising. I went into JCP with 20-odd years of cutting edge aerospace engineering experience, and a disability. I explained this all to the Disability Employment Advisor, who promptly started advocating I should apply for minimum wage jobs. A few weeks later she washed her hands of me, and the mainstream staffers spent the next year trying to argue all the disability-related provisions in my Jobseekers Agreement weren’t actually needed. After an absolutely farcical referral to a training agency (see http://wheresthebenefit.blogspot.com/2011/01/inept-leading-clueless-jcp-jsa-and.html) I’d had enough and copied my complaint to the Minister.For Disabled People. What a transformation in attitude that caused! But the only way they could deal with my disability was to ask to me switch to ESA. I dread to think how the disabled people being abused off IB by the WCA are fairing, because I’m absolutely convinced JCP and their staffers were the most significant hindrance to my finding work.

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    • David, I’m sorry it took me so long to reply to your comment. I wanted to read about your experience as a disabled claimant when I had time to focus on it properly.
      I have just read it and I must say I’m horrified that you’ve had to go through so much stress until the Minister finally intervened. Surely anyone with a disability needs special support from people who understood their limitations but at the same time respect their qualifications and experience? I’d be interested to hear how you’re getting on after being switched to ESA. Please can you let me know if you decide to write a post about it? Thank you.

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  14. I must first of all say what a brilliant blog.
    What an obsurd situation, being reprimanded by JobCentrePlus for going to too many job interviews, christ I wish Atos healthcare felt the same about attending their assessment process.

    I shall be adding your blog to my web list. Brilliant..

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    • Thank you! I’m so glad you liked it. JobCentres are not literally telling me off for having too many interviews, of course, but when you start going to too many away from your area, and claiming TIS, then they need to make sure you’re not abusing. I understand why they need to do this, but it can be a degrading experience, when you’re already having such a hard time financially, mentally…in every way…

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  15. I honestly dont know what to say except i’ll make it my business to make sure as many people as poss see this post

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  16. missdisplaced

    As an American, I read your story with some interest. It sounds C.R.A.Z.Y! Lord knows, does government EVER make any sense?

    I got turned down for Food Stamps after my Unemployment ran out because I work a part-time job (where I make a whopping $400 a month). Therefore, it would be better for me to QUIT my part-time job and rely solely on government assistance. Makes NO sense at all.

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    • Hi, thanks for reading my blog. Yes, that happens in the UK as well. Many benefit claimants find that they’re better off financially living off government benefits than having even a part-time job.

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  17. I’m so sorry you’re having such a hard time. It took me a year to break back into publishing after a career break teaching English abroad, but eventually the right job came along, and all the interview-preparation agony was worth it! You will get the post you’re looking for in the end, I’m sure of it.

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    • Thank you for your kind words, Abbie. I hope so too. I agree w/ you that it is all good experience. I am getting better and better at interviews now that I’ve gone through so many.

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  18. David Hoghton-Carter

    I’ve had some noteworthy experiences on JSA too, over the last two years and during a period sometime before that. My big bugbear is how they treat graduates, plus how the limitations imposed by the system can be actively detrimental to career development. I’d be happy to help you out with your article if you wish, suitably anonymised of course.

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  19. I’m sorry Chie, but I think the staff were completely reasonable with you. If you’re not finding work, then asking “Was I going for the right type of jobs? Was I preparing myself appropriately before interviews? Had I requested feedback after each job rejection? Could I not find jobs more locally?” seem very sensible questions, and I can’t see how that amounts to bullying. And “crazed hatred” is a very strong phrase – are you really accusing the other woman of that level of feeling about you?

    I’m also shocked you find it such an affront to be asked to walk about half a mile from Victoria to Chelsea. I sincerely doubt your feet will bleed from that short distance.

    Finally, the Job Centre isn’t banning you from applying for jobs in journalism – it’s just saying that after two years of trying and failing, it’s no longer prepared to pick up the tab for your doing so. Your experience as a PA may date from longer ago, but it seems reasonable enough to think you stand more of a chance of landing secretarial work if there’s more of that work available, which there is. Is a secretarial job really that far beneath you that you find being asked to apply for them such a personal affront? Or store cleaning, for that matter? I wonder how the people who have taken those jobs feel about their taxes being used to pay for your job interview travel expenses.

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    • Hi, Jo. I respect your opinion but I must confess I was stunned by your comments, as you seem to have distorted the meaning of everything I have written to make me sound like a jobseeker with an attitude problem. Either you have never experienced unemployment/a JobCentre appointment and haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about, or you completely missed the point of this blog post.

      1) The adviser who asked me details about my past interviews was trying to make sure the reason I had not got a job yet was not because I was going for the wrong jobs, preparing myself insufficiently before interviews or forgetting to get feedback. She was/is a lovely, personable lady, my favourite adviser at the JobCentre in fact. She was just doing her job. I didn’t think she was bullying me at all. I didn’t write that she did, did I? I was just describing the process of how, if you claim for one too many travel for interview warrants, you get referred to an adviser, who scrutinises whether you still deserve to get your travel funded, etc. What I was trying to say is that the process itself is quite degrading for jobseekers, who are trying their best to get as many interviews as possible.Getting lots of interviews is a POSITIVE thing but the JobCentre turns it into a negative through that process. Unfortunately, because there are so many people going for the same jobs, competition is fierce and it can take several interviews until you come through as the best candidate. But that doesn’t mean you’re not trying as hard as you can and you shouldn’t be penalised.

      2) “Crazed hatred” may have been a strong expression, but if you have been constantly bullied at school, in the workplace, etc, you learn to recognise when people are doing something with implied cruelty. If you have never been bullied, you probably don’t know what I’m talking about. It was a description of how I felt being treated in a condescending manner by the JobCentre, and she was scowling at me the whole time too, as if I was a terribly bad person. I am sure a LOT OF jobseekers, who read this blog, will agree that unemployment leads to extreme low self-esteem and self-confidence. Many end up suffering from depression. I am not expecting a red carpet to be rolled out every time I walk in, only a minimum degree of respect and common courtesy, that’s all. The woman may not have meant to make me feel so bad; maybe she was just trying to ascertain her authority; maybe that’s just her personality. But I felt bullied, she hurt my feelings big time, and I was expressing my pain, describing it. I believe I have the right to. Even if it makes you feel uncomfortable.

      3) I don’t mind walking half a mile anywhere; that was not the point. In fact the other day I walked almost 10 miles in a day. But it wasn’t an interview day, where I had to arrive somewhere looking presentable. I wasn’t wearing a smart suit, carrying a briefcase, had heels on. And my feet do blister and bleed after about 10-15min with almost any shoes that are not trainers because they are too wide. Worse than that, I also get shooting pains from my bunyons, and it becomes virtually impossible to walk after a while. I wasn’t exaggerating. I have huge bunyons on both feet, which are now getting so problematic and painful I’ll have to be operated soon. I hope you didn’t expect me to post a medical certificate about the state of my feet on my blog.

      4) First of all, I haven’t been unemployed for two years. I was unemployed in 2009 (when I started this blog) but I was working in 2010 (in publishing). It was a short-term contract, so I started looking again since February this year. Secondly, I am not applying for journalism jobs, or very rarely (Where did I say I was applying for journalism jobs?). I want to keep journalism as a sideline. I am currently looking for sales jobs in publishing, where I have the most experience. Thirdly, where did I say that secretarial jobs or store cleaning are “beneath me”? You seemed to have missed the point completely. The cleaning jobs appear when you enter “publishing” into the JobCentre’s search system. It was supposed to be a HUMOROUS comment to show how inefficient their database is. I have an enormous respect for people in cleaning jobs; one of my best friends has got one. Where did I say it was beneath me, etc?? I am quite happy going for secretarial jobs, and have in fact applied for several so far (before the JobCentre included it on my “list”) but, to date, I haven’t been called for a single interview. My point was that by forcing you to go for jobs you may have less relevant or recent experience in, the JobCentre may be prolonging your unemployment. Why would I ever think it was beneath me to be a secretary when I worked as one before??

      Finally, I do know I am not “banned” from looking for journalism jobs; my kind adviser even told me I could continue looking in that area of course. Where did I say I thought I was banned?

      I am sorry if the message in my post was not clear enough to you. I was frustrated and angry so I had a rant. This blog is about the realities of being unemployed, where anyone experiencing unemployment can voice their frustrations too, or share tips. I guarantee you I am not this arrogant person you make me out to be, who looks down on cleaners and secretaries and needs a chauffeur to be driven to interviews.

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  20. Jo Wadsworth

    Well after three reads that’s how it came across to me. Chippy lines like: “Once the personal adviser was satisfied that I had not been trying to abuse the system but was genuinely trying to find a job,” helped me to that conclusion. As to the walking, why not do the walk in trainers and change outside the interview? Or get the bus there? I’m not surprised the woman lost her patience with you if you were so aghast at the prospect of travelling any way other than by the “extortionate” underground.

    I have signed on, three times, and yes, it’s grim. However I didn’t rant about Jobcentre staff who are just trying to do their jobs. I did my best to get a temp job so I didn’t have to do it any more.

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    • Marvin

      “However I didn’t rant about Jobcentre staff who are just trying to do their jobs.”

      The Nazis said the same thing in their testimonies… Doesn’t make what they did right however.

      Like

    • I have been signing on for a few months and the people that i have come across working in the job centre are not any help so you do not need to defend them. A example. I was late once due to a accident so i called and advised them before i was late that i would be getting there late. On another occasion i had a job trial for night work and because i doubted i could wake up in time to sign on i stayed awake overnight and despite everything was late due to roadworks. i was told by my adviser i needed to make more of a effort and that if late again my money could be stopped. Now the point is this is the only money i have to live on and i can be on time but have to wait for them but if im late even if i phoned before they can threaten to stop the only money i have. i have been working for 15 years in retail before this. I have finally went on a training course for security and 80% of the people put there by the job centre do not even speak English. this is a £500 course which alot of the guys will fail and to be honest alot couldn’t be bothered to make any effort on. i paid for the course with a loan.
      In regards to the post if they paid for your travel lucky you. Now they dont tough luck really. If you want to live in Brighton and work in London then go get a shitty job in Brighton like the rest of us and book interviews for your days off. If you choose to live there and intend to work in London then you should fund the travel costs to arrange interviews. I hope it works out for you being jobless sucks

      Like

      • Thank you for your comment, Jason. I do feel your pain. It has been reported in the press that JobCentres around the country have been using any excuse to cut benefits for those on JSA, due to targets they have been imposed by the government. Being late for an appointment could well be used against you one day, so just beware.

        I do not necessarily “want” to live in or near Brighton, although I do love Brighton. I used to live and work in London and only moved to the south coast because my partner lived and worked there. Most jobs in my area are in London though (I wasn’t “choosing” London jobs), so it was inevitable that the bulk of my interviews would be in the capital. Since I wrote this post, I did exactly what you advised: got myself “a shitty job in Brighton” and continued looking in my free time. I now have a much nicer job, and yes it is in London. It’s only a fixed-term contract, but at least it’s a start. I do hope something works out for you. If retail is where you feel you belong, don’t abandon your dreams. You may have to be creative about how or where you look for work, but your efforts will pay off one day. Come back to this blog and let me know when anything changes for you. Good luck to you too!

        Like

    • John

      Jo Wadsworth you are a cunt.

      Like

  21. Thank you so much for writing this blog post. I am so sorry for the treatment that you have had, my brother and friends have had similar treatment from the Job Centre and it is what is putting me off signing on myself – I’m trying to find a job from my own means before I resort to the Job Centre. I already suffer from stress and depression from before I was at university, I hope I don’t get to those lows again any time soon.

    Take care, and I hope you find something soon.

    Rachel Simmonite

    Like

    • I completely understand and empathise, Rachel. If you can afford to look for work without claiming any benefits, I would recommend that option any day over having stressful dealings with the JobCentre. Thank your for your kind words and very good luck to you too!

      Like

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  23. john Hobson

    Getting an interview means you are in the running, a second interview a serious contender. If you were after the wrong jobs, in the current market you’d have no interviews at all. As for walking from Victoria to Sloane Square to save a few bob despite the fact that you may be so exhausted/wet/pissed off by the time you get there…

    That’s not doing your job, that’s being officious when you know you can get away with it. Otherwise known as bullying. But it’s clear you are made of sterner stuff!

    Like

  24. I’ve had to deal with the JobCentre on various occasions and have had the exact same feeling from staff there; mocking judgement. It’s as though they feel superior to you because they have employment, and must ensure their feelings of greatness remain by kicking those they are supposed to help.

    On top of changes to the bureaucratic process, JC staff should be better trained to help and even just talk to people using JobCentre services… heh, they should be reminded that they ARE providing a service.

    Well, I hope you have more luck finding work and that it comes your way soon.

    Like

    • I am reluctant to label everyone at the JobCentre as having a superiority complex (most staff at my local one are quite friendly in fact), but I agree with you that they should be trained to exercise more sensitivity when talking to jobseekers. Just as doctors need to have good bedside manners, JobCentre staff should have “dole manners”…lol

      Like

  25. Sorry this isn’t a totally refined comment just some thoughts thrown together!

    I have experienced similar frustrations at some of the times I have signed on. I prefer to work but there have been times when I couldn’t through ill health. And on this occasion I was in a job but my employer concluded my contract recently through no fault of my own. I managed to secure 2 interviews in the first 2 weeks of signing but like you was told the TTI scheme was not available – cost of travel was 2/3 of weekly allowance, like you it’s good that i have a partner willing to help support me. The job centre doesn’t really seem to have modernised since over 6 years ago and I’m sure the government is missing a financing opportunity by not revising the system to make it more like a recruitment agency with commission earnt on successful recruitments.

    I understand that the ‘taxpayer’ isn’t there to fund all demands or choices but for most of my life I have been that taxpayer and so actually I am happy to have some of what I paid in to be paid back to me to help me through a sticky patch! And actually some might make that equal argument over all the women choosing to have fertility treatment or the choices over drug regimes for chemo or the fact that i don’t have kids so why should I pay for your child’s schooling – it is a very patronising argument in all cases. There are funding choices to be made and socially I believe it is the responsibility of the taxpayer to help the vulnerable. So instead of demonising job seekers perhaps people could get some empathy and realise how lucky they are not to be in that situation and start working on ways to change the whole culture of capitalism which seems to require that a certain number of people remain unemployed…

    Like

  26. liz

    This is a really interesting blog and frankly I am terrified that I will eventually have to go to the job centre again.

    Last time I went was in 2003 – and it was bad enough then!

    Having worked at senior level in what I have seen referred to as an ‘extreme’ professional career i.e. leading advisory /strategic consulting I was burnt out by 40. These days graduate are 10 a penny but I have a gold standard degree and MBA. These are facts not bluster.

    What incenses me is the lack of flexibility in the UK labour economy – I would now quite happily work for 40% of my last salary. I really want to get a job at a mid senior grade in the public sector. I am qualified for finance, project management, operations, strategic planning i.e. virtually all commcial leadership roles. However I have found that they ringfence roles for those who are already working in the public sector even if they have inferior qualifications, commercial and interpersonal skills.

    I now really regret that I aimed high at 18 if I had taken the route of the less able I went to school with I would be sitting in a cushy (relatively) Civil Service role earning 50k and a final salary pension! with limited threat of job loss (again relatively compared to the private sector) no up or out culture, no 80 hour weeks /months overseas.

    The labour market (particularly public sector) should be more flexible and security of employment should not be used to protect second rate workers from competition. Employers should be able to upskill in times of high unemployment i.e run like a league system relegated high quality workers would replace second division and so on. There should be not be this stickiness/distortion which means that really well qualified people have to take jobs they are vastly over qualified! This would improve welfare for the whole economy.

    I also feel that the public sector should have a requirement to soak up willing and suitable workers and that roles should be made jobshare if there is skilled unemployment.

    Like

    • I am pleased you found this blog interesting, Liz, and thanks for leaving a comment. Your views re public sector jobs are very interesting. If I ever decide to write a post about it, I may come to you for advice.

      Like

  27. Claudette

    The job center staff are not trained to get people into jobs that suit their skills but any job. I am severely dyslexic but have have two degrees and they don’t seem to understand why it is difficult for me fill out application forms and dont understand the Equality Act. Doing a job for longer than a few weeks which you absolutely detest is counter productive and ruins your family life and your social life and mental health plummets.,

    We are going to be working for longer so our jobs most be half way decent to satisfying our not only financial needs but emotional and intellectual.
    It is not a crime to want to do a job that pushes u intellectually nor is it snobbery .Diversity in skills practical, manual IT etc is needed. After all we will be all working for longer than 65 years so whole concept of work will have to change.

    Like

    • You make an excellent point, Claudette. Retirement age gets higher as life expectancy goes up, so you’re right in that a bigger chunk of our lives will be spent working. It is only natural that we should all be seeking some level of professional fulfilment, an occupation that challenges us and helps us develop.

      Like

  28. Annie

    I really feel for you, that’s horrible.

    I’ve not long got back from signing on myself, and the woman I saw today (not someone I have seen before) was absolutely horrific. She made me feel like no-one would ever want to hire me in the field I have been applying for jobs in (general admin, though I have beene applying for anything that doesn’t outright require something I don’t have). I felt so stupid and worthless that I have literally been sitting here crying for the last half an hour.

    Like

    • Oh Annie, I am so sorry. I know exactly how that feels. JobCentres are not exactly good for your morale when you’re feeling vulnerable anyway, are they? From my experience, however, I know personal advisers change regularly, so you may be getting a nicer person next time, who will be a little more sensitive towards you. In the meantime, just try to remind yourself it’s a (not very pleasant) “game” you need to play while you’re signed on but it will end one day. It will, I promise you. Good luck in your job search!

      Like

      • Annie

        Hi Chie,

        Just wanted to thank you again for your thoughtful reply. It really helped me when I was feeling down. I’ve just been offered a full-time job, to start at the beginning of next month, so I can’t wait to get away from the job centre!

        I understand from your recent blog that you, too, have signed off once and for all!

        Best wishes for the future,
        Annie.

        Like

      • Annie, you have no idea how happy you made me with your lovely comment. I’ve had a couple of very rough days, but your kind words made me smile again – thank you. I am so glad I have been of help to you, and you have just helped me back.
        I am delighted to hear you have been offered a job and no longer need the “services” (?) of the JobCentre. I will continue to write about work-related issues here, so please do visit this blog again and feel free to comment or suggest new topics. Life post-dole will provide plenty of material for blogging, I’m sure… Best of luck to you!

        Like

  29. Annie

    That’s it exactly; it is a vulnerable position to be in to start with, things like this are a hindrance, not a help! Fortunately for me the person I have been assigned to and see as my personal advisor is not the person I was with today.

    Thank you for your kind words. I wish you luck in your job search too!

    Like

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  31. I like the helpful info you supply on your articles. I’ll bookmark your weblog and take a look at once more right here frequently. I am somewhat sure I will learn lots of new stuff right right here! Good luck for the next!

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  33. ES40

    Have you thought about getting a lower paid job, maybe shelf stacking etc, as a stepping stone, to give yourself the money and your NI credits paid (by your temporary employer) so you can pay for yourself to go to your other job interviews. Then you can wave goodbye to the Job Centre.

    Like

    • A lot has happened since I wrote that post. I got myself a part-time job to tide me over, then, out of the blue, I was approached about a sabbatical cover, which has just been confirmed as a permanent job. Had I not started working part-time, I would not have been able to survive financially, not even to pay for travel costs to go to interviews (mostly) in London.

      Like

  34. I really feel for you, and wish you luck in your job search. I have been signing on since I graduated last summer and they are always quick to tell me off if I have not been applying for the jobs that they provide me. I fill in my 6 boxes (normally at least double this) but I have had my money stopped before for not following up vacancies that they provide me. My 3 areas are journalist, publishing and law admin but every week I get given jobs ranging from chef to mechanical engineer. The job centre is a waste of time and money

    Like

  35. Sharon

    I have qualifications and experience in IT yet the jobcentre now want me to apply for secretarial work. Granted IT skills are quite transferable but those hiring for secretaries/PA’s wont look twice at me because im either over qualified or i dont have any experience in that field. The jobcentre dont seem to care about that and have, as a result, changed my agreement just like they did with you. Its a pain in the backside and they just dont have the time of day for people. I’ve noticed that although the number of unemployed folk goes up, the number of staff in the jobcentre goes down so not only do you have to sometimes wait over 30mins for your appointment, they never spend the 15mins alloted time with you in order to help you with your search.

    Like

  36. Michaela

    I just came home from the Job Centre in tears. I had an appointment to see a ‘careers advisor’ and really wish I had never set eyes on him. Not only could he not say my name correctly despite me correcting him numerous times, he was patronising, contradicted himself constantly, and had a completely negative spin on all the hard work I had been putting in to finding a job. Apparently I shouldn’t be looking for training/tutoring jobs as I need additional qualifications, even though I have a full teaching qualification and experience. I should look for work in call centres apparently.

    The only thing that is keeping me motivated is an experience with a previous careers advisor through Next Step. She was extremely helpful and positive and helped me to literally re-write my CV and covering letter. She definitely helped me to see what I have been doing wrong.

    Anyway my point is that the staff at Job Centre are completely useless and their only target is to get people in to (any) work with as little financial aid as possible. I would strongly recommend that anyone seeking career advice and support should contact Next Step and next time you go in to the Job Centre just nod and smile and agree with whatever none sense they have to say. I have pasted the Next Step link below.

    Good luck job seekers, I know it is miserable but where there is a will, there is a way 🙂

    https://nextstep.direct.gov.uk/Pages/home.aspx

    Like

  37. craig fraser

    i am from newcastle and live in ireland, i lost my job in the building trade in dec 2011, i started work when i was 15 in 1986, moved to ireland threw work in 1991 and now sign on the dole. i have sent emails off and c.v,s in there 100s and still nowt. one day i got a interview back in newcastle in a factory from a press operater, i did,nt get the job in the end but the dole might stop my money, i just dont get the way the sysem works as i didnt ask them for the travel money as it was my dole money that paid for my travel. the woman was a nastey piece of work behind her screen. every fornight the man tells me, mr fraser you need to get a job, so when i go to find a job and have a interview, the dole make me feel as if i am the bad person, i just cant win.

    Like

  38. This is sadly the way of the world, people, through no choice of their own are being forced to over sacrifice themselves for the sake of government departmental policies. Having been through a two and a half year battle with the job centre (and ICE office) which, due to their admitted mistakes, has cost me thus far; one marriage (the contributing factor to the breakdown of and leaving me a single parent), two jobs, approximately £600 and part of my sanity, I can quite honestly say their working habits are alike a fly drowning in a cup of tea. It’s annoying, it’s frustrating, it’s pointless for both parties involved and is sadly to be expected.
    I have an interview on Monday and although there are government schemes available to help me, which I appreciate greatly currently living hand to mouth, I am being set upon by their bullyboy tactic dogs to get me to back down from asking for any help. Surely the whole reason I have worked since I was 13 was to pay taxes into a systems which at one point, should I need it, help me to get back into work. I had a lovely high profile career which I worked very hard for, I was made redundant, all I need is a little help.

    Like

  39. Sarah

    I was made redundant in January, not having been paid for three months.
    Job centre plus have degraded and humiliated me repeatedly, including making comments to the effect of keeping jobseekers out of the town
    Centre so workers can use their lunch hour.
    And god forbid you ask for the toilet…

    Like

  40. Stephen

    Great post. I think we’re all mostly in agreement; the system is broken.

    Like

  41. John Smith

    I’ve been forced to go to this mandatory work program while my claim was suspended due to a mix up at the job centre. I tried telling my personal advisor that I don’t mind going for it but delay the program start date until my claim gets sorted… They were not having it… Am skint, hardly any money for food let alone for transport to go to this programe. The job centre then suspended my claim to 4 months! I have appealed & waiting for a reply, I actually want to change my personal adviser as I think she’s immature & unprofessional, her names Sonia & works at Hornchurch job centre. How do I request to change my personal adviser?

    Like

  42. That’s so wrong! Go after those who abuse the system, by sitting on their butts doing nothing to find a job. Here is an experience I witnessed, the room full of job center workers where shocked at such behavior http://jodinelouise.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/oh-my/

    Like

    • Hi Jodie,thanks so much for you comments. It’s great that you are bringing in some views from the US to this blog. Reading about your experience, it looks like things are not so different on the other side of the Atlantic. Please do continue to share your experiences here. I am currently working again at last but I will continue writing from time to time…not so much about unemployment but about career and work issues,so thanks for subscribing! 🙂

      Like

  43. We have a progam where you have to log your miles and show it to the worker to get more gas tickets or taxi tickets.

    Like

  44. spongebob

    Most workers do look down their nose at you – agree 100%
    I did have one particular “advisor” that took the crown of them all. I was referred to the New Deal and this “advisor” called Gary seemed to have a thing for treating me like crap. I had to explain what I was doing to look for for / improve my chance etc etc… told him I’m applying for Teaching Assistant jobs and I was currently (at that time) doing an NVQ. Well I had nearly finished it – had about a month left … he decided there and then that doing the course may be interfering with my job seeking. Well I then had to get all my course paperwork to prove I only did 1 day mandatory work at the school, prove I ony attended college for 2 and 1/2 hours a week. Oh he loed it when I couldn’t initially find the paper work…. was a right prick! Now I had already shown all this to Job Centre who were downstairs, who took photocopies of these papers.. but somehow they got lost , and Gary was now trying to call me a liar about the amount of time i was taking to di this course. And now threatening me that I will have to pack it in! Well luckily I managed to find paper work and get copies from college. When I presented this evidence he was seething… but smiling all the while…. like that Michael Moon in Eastenders… lol
    So next he decided to send me on a 12 week full time course … basically I had to work 30 hours a week for a company with no real intention of hiring in the end, o that i could carry on claiming JSA – this was back in 2009.
    I told him that would prevent me finishing this course I was doing and that if we wait a few weeks I would have finished the course by then and be OK to do it…. BUT NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! So there’s me very pissed off now… had to go to some other job place so that they could put me in placement… or on a course!?! wtf!?! So they make me LEAVE a course I was 3-4 weeks from finishing to send me to work somewhere I have ZERO chance getting a job at or to do a 12 fulltime course in ridiculous “skills” ie. how to switch on a computer, how to write a letter etc. oh and also how to do your CV. Well the CV part makes me laugh. I done my own , then the job centre looked and said it needs redoing .. basically sayingits outdated, crap, then a few weeks later this new place says oh you could do with updating your cv… hahahaha oh also Nextstep do it.

    This was in a matter of a few weeks. 4 CVs … 3 companies… all look at my CV telling me it needsredoing before I have een had a chance to get a word in to say that such and such done it 2 days ago… 😛 awkward

    Anyway this Gary I had to go back to see every 2 or 3 weeks or so… he kept saying my name wrong, I told him plenty of times.. he kept sneering like a little bully. One day when I went to see him, I had to take my daughter with me… she was 4 at the time. My appointment with him was delayed by about 20 mins so id been sitting there about half an hour at this point. finally I was there talking to him and after about 5 mins my daughter said she was desperate for the toilet. I asjed how much longer is this gonner take as Im normally there 5 mins… sign the form then off. Then my girls starts crying “im need a wee i need a wee” He looked at her then me a gave an evil smirk and chuckled out “abou half an hour” I asked if i could nip off to find a public toilet and he said sternly ” if you go you will loose your benefits” BASTARD! I got so angry I stood up to leave and ended up saying a few words … there goes that creepy ass smile of his as he summoned security over .. I got kicked out! unbeleiveable.

    BUT the next day i was in the garden when i got a called an “the incident “. HA! I said wait a minute before you say anything i want to tell u my side … i told her everything… the bad attutde over the weeks, the sneering , the remarks the made, how he laughed at my qualifications… and more. She then apoligised and then told me she was the manager, and that there will be a n investigation. I think it helped because I told her that when i went to that traing place , I was so stressed by the treatment by Gary that I told the adivsor there, who ws so nice. He said to me “dont tell me……. is it Gary? ”
    apprenrntly I wasnt the only one who had been treated like shit on shoes by him… this man was a serial bully to the jobless! I told the Manager who was onl the phoen to me to call them up ad they will tell her themselves how many people have been bullied by this bastard.

    KARMA works…. sure enough when i was put back to sign regular jobcentre signing… guess who was there….. the one and only Gary!!! HAHAHAHA and he was left red facedwhen he called my name, to sign. This time his attitude was grest, shame it wasnt like that before. Needless to say , next time I signd on , Gary had me taken off his list and i had totally new advisor. HEHE HAHA

    Like

  45. My story is from recently the passed few weeks, a few weeks after i signed on the nob centre (yes i purposly put nob haha), i was put on one of those “work programmes”, i’ve been signed on since around 17th December 2010, some where around there anyway as i moved back here to Bolton from Scotland (let me tell you it was a tough job already getting down as my uncles had to drive us down as we couldn’t even afford train fairs). Well just recently i was told to go to a “screening” at the “work programme” building for a bakery called Park Cake Bakieries, at first i was told it was part time so i figgure “great i’ll go” then i got there to realize it was a complete fake job to get us to do some labour for the bakery, the agency they were doing it through were also asking us for a bank statement (which has nothing to do with them how much we have in our banks). Four people walked out, only me and another guy was left and my instincts were really telling me something was wrong due to 4 out of 6 people walking out, so i read through all the information and there wasn’t even any garantee at the end of it to recieve a job in Park Cakes, all it was telling us is maybe, possibly, hours:unknown and even the information about the agency said it “specializes in temporary labour”, so i told my advisor what was going on by e-mail (of course that was an incredibly bad idea), next appointment i was taken into one of the small rooms with my advisor and the manager and they just bullied me, after misleading me to think it was a part time job, they printed off the e-mail, put it right infront of me to try and intimidate me and said i was to tell the job centre to change what it says on the system to Part Time work, but of course they know if i told them that the job centre would take my job seekers off me as the agreement says i have to be looking for Full Time work, if they didn’t then and i went back to the “work programme” and told them they couldn’t they said they would sanction my job seekers (which they probably wouldn’t change as they full well know), they were just threatening and bullying me, manipulating the whole situation. I’m about to start my entry level 3 catering course in September but basicly the whole idea of that con of a “job” was to hope i would believe it and go for it (meaning i would of had to of decided not to go to college for a job that wouldn’t of actually been a real job), they were trying to deter me away from going to college as much as possible but i’m just not having it, i saw right through what was happening straight away, they have forced me into signing off the job centre though as i’m probably going to get sanctioned anyway but i don’t wish them to get the better of me and plus it won’t save their asses, they want to sanction me first so it will garantee their own job, they don’t care about me so i’m just going to cut to the chase and sign off, my tolerance for crap for the past 4 years has gone to zero, they can’t tell me what to do ether, i’m going to go through the whole course without hearing a peep out of them, of course it seems i may not be able to pay for level 1 catering unless i can find a few companies who can help pay half towards the course.

    Like

  46. mudassar

    Hi
    I have been having the same response from JS. I once had about five interview in a week, 3 the same day, one hundred miles away. I really was trying to get a job, did they held, no. I must fill a form before interview and then again once I have been. Absoulutly pointless, same info being repeated. They pay you a few pounds aday and make you jump though hoops for it.and if you get a interview within their local area (1 hr traveling by public transport) then try don’t pay a penny. The whole system stinks and now they have stopped it. WICKED. I love to share more experiences, please feel free to contact me via email.
    Regards
    Mudassar

    Like

  47. dean

    Hi, i have been signing on for 8 months i left my summer Job in November. I am really dissapointed what i have been reading about as the Jobs, in my area are bad and the Retail jobs, Telesales etc all Customer Service Jobs like Porters you need at least amount of experience and its really annoying. In my area the Recession is hit really hard so i have applied jobs miles away hoping that if i get a interview, Jobcentre would help me out looks like thats not going to happen. But i will start with my Jobcentre story is i haven’t been treated bad at all, i have only had 2 male advisors all the rest have been females from 23 to late 40 and i am not being big headed or anything because i have never had a girlfriend and i am 24 but thats due to me having a baby face and looking really young for my age i have been told i look 17 up to 20 at best, but the female advisors i have seen have been super flirty you no and at first it was intimdating because i haven’t been used to it but i have put it to good use to help get through the advisor interviews, i went the Jobfair back in January 2012 and i run to some mates from my last job and guess who was there my personal advisor. And she was all flirty she had her wedding ring on so i couden’t believe how flirty she was winking and touching my arms etc, and i have had this alot with female advisors paying more attention as to whether or not i had a girlfriend a couple of them have asked me. But there is couple of workers there this male advisor just dosen’t care he gets through 6 people in 12 mins just as long as he go on his fag breaks, dosen’t care and he said it to the collegue next to him that he’s craving a fag but some days you prefer him because you just want out as fast as you can but this one female advisor called Julie she’s a nightmare because i have been treated all flirty by a few other female advisors you get used to people being nice she was a complete bitch threating to stop my money because i never applied for this job. I saw my personal advisor 2 weeks leter and being her flirty self deleted it off the pc and its all been forgotten about. Julie was going mad at me the job had only come on the day before i went to sign on i never saw it i just i would mention that, and 2 week ago i saw new male advisor really okay guy just said you have been unemployed for i while. And its the first time in 8 months i have spoken to someone at the jobcentre that actually gave a shit he had asked me questions about what i have done we talked for about 30 mins, and i was starting to get abit upset because 8 months not being asked this, i applied for so many just keep getting the same emails replies saying you have been unsuccsessful and he said. I believe you because you telling me the truth about jobs you are applying for and everything you are doing is good you just need that break. But one other thing i wanted to mention which really annoys me is the courses Jobcentre put you on through Workin Links, and others i did a Hospitality Leisure course back in 2010 the first day i got there he goes starts at 8:00 to 4:00 so i get there Tuesday morning for 8am and he goes Wednesday we come at 9:30 to 4:00 lets us go at 1:00 for then next two weeks it was 12:00 finishing times and each time we finished he said not allowed to leave to i see you have signed each day to 4:00 i felt so exploited that he he’s getting extra pay of the backs of Jobseekers. And he runs these courses every week after the course finished he said everyone will hear from me 3 or 4 times a week i will get you all jobs to this day i heven’t seen or heard him again, i just feel so exploited i got myself a job 3 weeks later but i have been on two other courses through Jobcentre each promising to get you into work when really they get extra pay for a few hours. I had a interview at the jobcentre week ago with someone from a learning centre talking they will me back into work so i booked a 1 on 1 session, and she looked through my CV and said it was good. I asked about night school that they offer other things she said could to help me with she diden’t to want to know felt used and dissapointed again.

    Like

  48. dean

    One of my mates actually slept with his Personal Advisor, he was out drinking saturday night and she approached him. And they slep together 2 weeks later he went for is Personal Advisor meeting awkward, and she handed him note which said that she diden’t want him to tell anyone and that she just got out a relationship and wanted a one night stand so it must be something in the Jobcentre water.

    Like

  49. dean

    Hi, Chie i had my appointment today, and i have a chance of working in a hospital and i have to go out of town for a interview at this Agency. And the Jobcentre said they won’t pay for my Train fair to go for a Agency interview, they said if i get a job interview at a Hospital out of town they would pay for Train fair. A bit annoying that an Agency can get me a job and they won’t help unless its at a Hospital.
    I also have applied for a Job thats looking promising in Retail its only 15 fixed hours per week, but i would get £30 more a week then staying on Jobseeker’s its really annoying that i want to work but the Govermant won’t help me out with National Insurance. I wouden’t being paying Tax so i wish they could change the rule for anyone working a 15 or less can get extra get help with National Insurance, because i know someone who worked on 12 hours contract for 12 years and is worried because he hasen’t paid nothing towards is pension. and is really starting to get worried i will still be applying for jobs for extra hours but i just wish they help in this situation, i feel a few doors are getting slammed shut which should be open to helping to get people into work.

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    • Hi Dean,
      Thanks for all the comments left on this blog, some of which I found really entertaining. 🙂
      Good luck with the retail job that looks promising. You said before you are 24 now. If I were you, I wouldn’t worry too much about pension right now as you are still very young. Your life may have changed completely by the time you are 30, and hopefully, by then, or before, you will be in a job offering more hours. For now, try to make the most of the job opportunity you have come across and accumulate as much experience and good contacts as possible so you can move on to something more stable and permanent. I am cheering for you!

      Like

  50. dean

    Hi Chie,
    Thank you for your king words, i kind of needed them after i opened my Inbox and found five letter’s of rejection. A bit of a confidence downer went out yesterday and did some house sitting, i had to left my phone at home by accident come home and got a call from a Company. Asking me to ring them back a bit annoying the only day i leave it at home lol, i’ll ring them up tommorow morning as the office was closed hopefully something will come of that, i just wanted to ask if you have had any luck in finding employment?.

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  51. Well, very good luck with that call, Dean. Yes, in fact I have been working full-time again since end of October 2011, which is why I haven’t been updating this blog since. I was lucky…an ex-colleague from a previous job phoned me, out of the blue, to ask me if I wanted to cover her job for three months while she went on a sabbatical. I took the sabbatical cover, but after the three months, the company offered me another job on a permanent basis.So you never know when there will be a twist of fate. I have my fingers crossed for you!

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  52. I read this and I just had to comment. You are preaching to the choir! Honestly I am somebody who has an excellent track record of work and success. I just finished my Computer networking Degree and scored an average mark of 93.41% – This highest ever to be achieved in the course that thousands have completed. Its still not that easy to get a job by the way!
    Ive been lucky with my advisers at the job center. But I feel that its primarily because I keep a low profile. I turn up tidy and politely say only what I need to say.
    However, even then I feel that many of the job center employees condemn you before they even get to know you. Often they are persons with thier own views – and in many case prejudices – about job seekers. Don’t let these people get to you. My advice is request as many new advisers as you like until you get one who you can really talk to. See them on your sign on days instead of ‘regular’ staff – if you can help it. Use this to your advantage and build a good reputation with them. It helps keep your nose clean and proves invaluable when you need help.
    At the end of the day you only attend the job center to prove that you are looking for a job. What really matters is what you are ACTUALLY doing to find a job. Fill in your booklet yes, it shows that your not idle. But in reality if you want a job you’ll be applying as much as you possibley can handle.
    Anyway just my tuppance worth on the subject. I hope you find anything I’ve said useful. Good luck to you all fellow job searchers!

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  53. I didn’t realise tis had been culled until I had a job interview in Exeter (I live in Plymouth), for which I was certain of getting the job on a friend’s recommendation.
    I am on JSA and can’t afford the travel expenditure. Ah well, it’s not as though it matters to anybody

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  54. JobCenterMule

    What I don’t understand is why you would want to go all the way to London to get a job: the streets aren’t aren’t exactly safe, it gets targeted by terrorists and ontop of all that train tickets are ridiculously pricy: you might as well forget about going to London altogether – it just aint worth the money the train conductors are getting.

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  55. Jo

    Everything you wrote rings so true! I have been seeking work as a mental health support worker a job I did for nearly 2 decades! I have qualifications and certificates in this coming out of my ears but for nearly 4 months note even an interview! Finally I have one and I’m fit to burst but will need help with travel costs as I’m in Bucks and job in Islington.
    The call centre is demoralising, the patronising what have you done to find work form hateful and every visit makes me cry! I just want a job I don’t want to see another well fed politician talking about incentives to work as if I choose to be skint and miserable. I can’t even afford to replace my daughters shoes its ridiculous and cruel I contributed since leaving school plus did a rewarding job and now I feel on the scrap heap and like you said as if I’ve let down my family 😦
    Keep up the good work on the blog it makes my day slightly brighter and best of luck at the next interview
    Jo

    Like

    • Thanks for your nice comment, Jo. Unemployment sucks, that’s the truth. Luckily, I’ve been back in full-time work for 1.5 years now, although still financially stretched, simply because I moved back to London (from Sussex), and the cost of living is so much higher here. Much higher than wages. Glad the blog helped make your day slightly brighter. 🙂

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  56. SW

    Having been unemployed for nearly a year – I am a sales man with experience in leasing road tankers and plastics and a qualified financial advise. I changed tack and took a football coaching badge. However I am finding it difficult to raise the fees necessary for the franchise.(£6k) In the mean time a job came up within my specialty of plastics, Having had interviews paid for myself in Aberdeen and the Netherlands I have had 4 interviews in London paid for by the job center. My consultant is not happy with me looking for jobs in 2 areas now- and is not happy that they have already spent over £200 on travel to interview payments- and did I know the tax payer is paying for me and it is difficult to justify me taking so much money. I am 45 and never been unemployed before and and made to feel like a scrounger for asking for travel to interview, looked down at for not having a job and looked down at for trying to get one- I paid £15k in tax in my last year of having a job and when I get a job I will quickly repay every penny i have received. Incidentally there were a couple of 18 year olds discussing how best way to claim their various benefits for themselves and their child as neither of them were working, pretty sure hadn’t worked and weren’t planning to work, I don’t think the staff are used to dealing with people who want to find work and need a little help, I feel certain staff are just bullies…. soul destroying. SW

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  57. I’ve just come across this blog in search of the phone number for the job centre, and feel I can relate. I’ve just been down to the job centre after unsuccessfully emailing my advisor about changing my appointment. I had to change my appointment originally due to a job interview, and now have to change it again for another interview. I was very polite to them, explaining my situation, and all I got was a rude tone and no help. I basically got told to phone the job centre to rearrange, even though I was there and thought I could just speak to someone who had the booking system open. It’s as if, because they get such difficult cases, they decide to treat everyone with the same attitude, even though, unlike some who are there, I have a masters degree and am actively looking for work. Now I won’t get any money for at least a week, if not longer, all because the people there are incompetant and rude

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  58. I was lookong for the Advisor Discretionary Fund. I found your blog and jusr wanted to add – I received a warrant in mid 2012. So they still do them. At least a year after. The book was within reach too.

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  59. luna

    Hi,
    I have the same problem as you are having. I am trying to get a job as a Medical Ophthalmic photographer. The only chance I have to get one is applying to any position in the UK, if I have to wait for one in my area, it would never happen.
    I had one interview, where I did not get a job offer, but I had excellent feedback from recruiter, who told me I was one of the stronger candidates, but they offer the job to someone with experience..He encouraged me to keep going and suggested other places to apply because he felt I have a good chance.
    I have another interview in a week, so I went yesterday to ask for the second time for a travel warrant just to find this horrible lady saying to me that a should stop applying for this “high-end jobs” and look for something more local and in different fields. She said I could find this types of jobs more locally. I argued that is not the case, and she said that administrative jobs can be found anywhere locally. I did argued back and explained to her that the position is not an administrative position, is a photographer and that anyway, I have no skills to work as an Administrative. Thanks god she is not my adviser, so she made an appointment to meet him later on day day. When I got there to meet my advisor, I saw how this woman went to my advisor desk and start whispering (obviously about me because she did it when she saw me arriving). My advisor saw I was clearly quite distress about the whole thing and he got me the travel warrant and made an appointment for another day to talk about it. While he was sorting the travel warrant, I happen to see a little post-it whitin my paperwork, a note obviously from her about me, I picked it up and read that she thinks I need to be looking more locally and in different fields. Also I feel bullied because while I was with my advisor, she went to other colloquies desk and started making fun of me and laughing because she think I am applying for too high end jobs that I wont get. I think that she does not understand what ophthalmic means!! My advisor is actually an angel, he made my next appointment on a different time, then took the post-it and wrote at the back for me to read that she wont be there at the time of next appointment, I just burst into tears, realizing that he is a good man, and she..well, a bitter sad person, to put it nicely. Why does she thinks that after 1 interview (with no job offer but really good feedback) I should stop looking for those jobs? I have been claiming for 2 months, not years, I am getting interests and good feedback, and applying for jobs almost on a daily basis. I don’t understand what I am doing wrong in her eyes. I feeling a lot of pressure and stress.I am scared now because If I don’t get the job next week I know I will probably wont get more help towards travel warrant and make go into positions I am not even qualify for.

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  60. Prostheticfunnybone

    A recent experience of mine. Incl. letter to my advisor.
    Hi Sharn, I still haven’t received any money for the interviews i went to, i believe i left my tickets and printed off e-mails with a colleague of yours, don’t recall her name, Beverley or Bernie maybe? She is a stocky black lady, and was quite helpful. The urgency of this was that the cost of the interviews had left me rather short, i also had to spent a bit on trainfares to work as well that week as i had been successful in one of my recent interviews and they wanted me to do two days training then start work the next day. This left me no time to go to the jobcentre to get my reimbursement. After the first two days work wed and thurs i asked for the friday off to conclude my business with the jobcentre and close my claim. I had only £-1470 in my account by then, thankfully my overdraft still left me with £30. Despite her assurance that she would send the application with the train tickets and e-mails that day and i would be payed in haste. That was almost a week ago and now i have £-1498 in my account. In the interest of keeping myself in work, which I believe to be the interest of the Jobcentre I think you could use your discretion to pay the travel costs as i need more than 20p a day to sustain myself until my next payday. Also after leaving Beverley I called the number you gave me to close my claim and told them when I had started work (nov27th), so I could be paid the previous weeks JSA. This has not happened either. Hopefully someone can get round to doing either of these things in the next couple of days, I could maybe take a day off from work if we have to make an appointment which I believe you asked for last time I gave you prior knowledge of a job interview, unfortunately there was little time between me telling you and my interview. If none of this is of interest to the Jobcentre then probably you can do nothing and will likely find some satisfaction in this letter. Hope all is well with you anyway. R.S.V.P
    the time i went in that i mention in the letter was so ridiculous their procedures and bullshit i ask to see someone, direct me to a phone to call someone, she says ill give my manager your info and get her to call your mobile my mobile rings the ladies talking, this huge security guard comes up saying put your phone away! you cant be on your phone im talking to a woman thats about 40 feet away on the phone i put the phone down and walk towards her, then the guard says where you going you need a ticket to go down there i walk to the reception desk and ask for my ticket then i go sit down with the lady, im sure the guard insulted me too, not a swear just something admonishing.

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  61. robyn

    I’m currently on jsa for the second time this year. I was made redundant following the company closing and went into the job centre with high hopes. I even made a point of being extra nice to the advisors as i know some people give them a hard time but now i know why.
    My initial first appointment was with a young lad who was lovely and very helpful as i had never claimed before. I left feeling good and was looking forward to my next appointment. I was then placed with another advisor who ripped up my job agreement sheet and barked ‘this is all wrong we’ll have to do it again’. She scribbled some stuff down and typed away and said ‘sign this’ and chucked a pen across the desk at me. I started to read what she had written and she had more than doubled all of the things i had to do on a weekly basis, instead of 7 things to do a week, i now had 15! She kept glaring at me and tapping her pen on the desk as i read the agreement as i was taking my time. I have stupidly signed agreements in the past without fully reading
    or understanding them and got myself into some bother so i was not rushing. I questioned a few things on the agreement in which the answer to all of my questions was, ‘if you dont do it, i will sanction your benefit’. I reluctantly signed with no other option. This continued and got worse. I was persistantly with sanctioning as i could not access my jobmatch account as it would not let me complete my profile and when i told my advisor she patronisingly asked me if i needed to go on a digital course to learn how to use a computer in which my reply was, ‘my computer is worth more than you earn in a month so no i dont need to go on a digital course’. Probably not the best thing to say but i’d had enough of her blatant rudeness and lack of respect for me. She then enrolled me on cv and interview training course. I told her she would be wasting the job centres time and money as i have been a manager for the past 5 years and recruitment and processing applications and cv’s was a big part of my job but no i had to attend or she would sanction my benefits.
    I went on both of these courses thinking maybe i could learn something new and tryed to stay positive, but was told by both people running the training programmes ‘you dont really need to be here do you’ as it was as i imagined, i knew everything they had to tell and my cv was perfect.
    I thought i was lucky when i landed myself a new job but following months of abusive behaviour from my new employers i left pending contrucyive unfair dismissal as the grievance i raised was brushed aside and i was told that i was lying and making things up to get my own. I was then reminded that i was still on a probation period and that this little grievance i had raised was to be ignored as they did not want to hire trouble makers and they might not take me on if i didnt change my personality. I even started to get the employers other minions from different stores to phone me on my day off and shout abuse down the phone at me so i decided to leave.
    I honestly thought that i just had a bad advisor and hoped that it would not be the same. I have now seen 3 different advisors and they are all the same. Some evben try to make out they are nice and friendly but then look for ways to sanction benefits still. My current advisor and taken all of my sheets away to record my job searches as i refused to give her access to my jobmatch account (which was working and now its stopped saving my searches) and said that next time i come in we will have to go onto the job centre computers so i can access and show her my account details which i know she is not allowed to do. I have also received a letter today saying that there is doubt for my claim because it seems i left my job voluntarily. I was told by citizens advice and a solicitor that if i stayed in my employment for one more day it would be constrewed as me accepting the treatment and abusive behaviour. I was immediatly rewarded my benefits back so why 2 months down the line is it only just an issue?
    I am sick and tired of having to prove to the jobcentre that i am looking for work as i had been in work for 9 years previously and have paid my taxes. Its my money they are trying to take away. My advisor is still yet to ask to look at my cv and has persistantly not been able to find any of my information on there system and have had to go through the same stuff over and over again. I thought the advisors were there to help you get back into work….. they most certainly have targets to hit by sanctioning peoples benefits. All the cuts the government are making to benefits just proves to me they are trying to save money and will do anything they can to do so. I have been in similar situations where you have targets to meet and if said targets are not met then your job is on the line. I would rather loose my job then take away someone elses only income to feed and cloth themselves with, in fact i would rather starve which is what im now facing if they sanction my benfits this week. I have applied for 20 jobs so far as most jobs you will need to be qualified for so am unable to apply for those as the job centre will not consider helping me with any training other than how to do an interview. They also believe that jeans, a black top and trainers are ok to go to management interviews in as in my previous positions i have needed to wear uniform so i do not own fancy interview clothes as i have not been out of work in 9 years, they would not give me help to buy interview clothes yet my collegue who was also made redundant was told that she could have up to £150 allowance for a new suit which she got!
    I have been treated like i am scum and not worth bothering with, which in turn is making me feel this way also, i am desperatly trying to get into work but cant take part time as i cant afford my rent and bills, im too overqualified for most jobs and too underqualified for others. I get repeatedly treated like im an idiot as i have naturally blonde hair and im a slim build despite having an IQ of 140. I get discriminated against a lot becuase of the way i look and was even told when i was just 18 years old that i would not get a position here as im a female and there was a risk i could get pregnant! Its getting to the point of giving up and i feel sorry for people that are stuck on benefits even the ones that have never been in work. Really!? If you hadnt managed to get a job when you left school or university and you had to go in and see the advisors, are you really going to want to go into the world of work when you are already consistanly belittled and bullied by someone you dont know? If this had happened to me before id ever even had a job, i dont think i would be going to work or even leaving the house. I dont blame them for not wanting to work as all ive had over the years of working is broken promises, persistant bullying and threatening of said jobs, i have even been burnt on purpose by my employer when i had a hot coffee ripped out of my hand, on my break and told to get back to work now.
    If this is what its like in the adult working world i wish i never grew up, sometimes i wish i was never born and most importantly i will never have children as i cant bare the thought of my children going through the same that i have done and its only getting worse.
    To the government: you are all a bunch of money grabbing DICKS!

    Like

    • Hi Robyn, I feel your pain. I am also at the mercy of the Jobcentre. The system is a joke and the Government doesn’t care. I believe that the media is used to make out that we’re all scroungers, which clearly is not the case. I sincerely hope that you find a job that you are happy in. Sometimes you wish that you were never born? I know that feeling too. But seriously, you are worth so much more. You must know that deep down. The same goes for me too. I have a hell of a lot of skills & personality.

      Perhaps you could look into starting your own business?

      I am disgusted reading about what a previous employer did to you, regarding the coffee.

      All the best x

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  62. Hey, I’ve only just discovered your blog. I don’t know if you’re still writing your blog. I don’t know if you’re still unemployed or (hopefully) employed now. I stumbled across your post by chance after Googling random things about the Jobcentre. I was left in tears & feeling extremely low after having to deal with the Jobcentre today. It would be great if you are no longer in the same position that I am now. Good luck to you! 🙂 x

    Like

    • Thanks so much for reading my blog. I have been in full-time work now (will have been almost three years at the end of October this year), thankfully. I hope I never have to go back to those dreadful JobCentre days! I haven’t updated this blog (but blog elsewhere) since I started working again, but I am glad readers are still using it as a help forum, answering each other’s queries, etc.

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  63. KEO

    It’s good to know I’m not going mad, that I’m not unreasonable, that other people find the job centre totally unhelpful and actually creates more humiliation to the whole unemployment saga. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate their help financially and I would be in trouble if I didn’t have that help. So I am extremely grateful for that. I just feel that the whole system needs to be more efficient, to save time, money, tears and subsequently more people employed and in jobs they want and deserve.
    I have been going to the job centre for 6 months and I have seen someone different almost everyItime I go. So I have to explain my situation everytime. The language of most of the staff seems quite negative, “if you don’t fill this in, you won’t get paid”. I overheard a member of staff tell someone over the phone that they will mark them down as a failure because they couldnt turn up.
    I have also felt uninformed with what services they offer. I was never informed that they would pay for travel expenses to interviews (I spend over £200 before I found out by asking them, as I couldn’t afford to go to a second interview). I also found out that I was entitled to get a travel discount card, which saves a third in travel expenses (which lasts for 3 months). I had to have a phone conversation and 3 separate meetings before they issued me one, as no-one knew what it was, or the finance guy wasn’t there, or they said it didn’t exist, even though its published on transport for London website. I was also volunteering, travelling an hour each way (£8 each time), later to find out they could have paid for this.
    I just feel that people can be in a vulnerable position, financially and emotionally, and having staff that are not always sensitive to this, not trained enough with the recent changes, using an ancient computer system which slows things down limits this service, and paper applications, makes the whole process frustrating. The fortnightly 20 minute meeting which could be used much more effectively, as the 3 minute conversation and 17 mins trying to type in the information does not make people feel valued or supported.
    Rant over. I feel so much better!

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  64. Keith

    I can completely sympathise with your situation and I hope you have found work now. I, too, find the Jobcentre extremely unhelpful and patronising. I’m 28 and up until 2 years ago I had worked all my life. Then I was let go due to needing time off to heal from breaking my foot – I was doing an NVQ at time an it ended everything right there because suddenly I had 5 year experience in Childcare but no qualification so I had to look at changing careers.

    I decided to go in to Sales, but this is a horrible industry to work in.

    I don’t really know where I belong career wise. I have a college education, in ICT and English Language and Literature, but have never worked in IT. I would like to work in a role that focuses on the written word in some form but again, with no experience I can’t get anywhere – despite my spelling and grammar being stronger than that of most business people, company logos and documents tend to be filled with errors.

    I was sent by the Jobcentre to attend a group interview at a new Premier Inn as a Receptionist but it starts in 2 weeks time and the Jobcentre refuse to help me with travel expenses – my partner is out of work, we have no money and I can’t afford to get t this job without help so I don’t know what to do. I eve asked them about this Bike to Work scheme they are offering but when I enquired they just said ‘we can’t help you with that, you’re on your own. Take out a loan’.

    I’ve never had a loan in my life and will never take one. And it will take 6 weeks to sort out a Working Tax claim, so I have no idea how I am going to get to work – and if I don’t go my partner and I will lose the joint claim.

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  65. Saskia Fernandez

    they take all yr js if your in 10 hr job ..and put u on a crappy work plan and u only receive 25 quid unlesd they sanctioned you and aswell as doing jobsearch at homr you have too attend workplan job search its a joke

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  66. Rob

    I am a training and HR manager with 18 years experience.
    Unfortunately I was made redundant in February 2015. Obviously I started signing on, although despite having a 2 year old I was told I was illegible for council and housing benefits. Meaning that my daughter and I were left to live on just £12.87 per day, before rent and bills.

    Unfortunately I live in sheffield where there are very few jobs matching my skills and experiences. This meant I was looking at HR/Training roles in Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham etc.
    even the few roles based in Sheffield required me travelling to the company’s head office for the interview

    I managed to secure six interviews which were all outside the South Yorkshire boundary and therefore eligible for the (TIS) travel to interview scheme.
    I visited the job centre and was told they MUST provide me with the cheapest form of transport and insisted on giving me rail warrants.
    I provided proof that if I was to drive to the interviews it would work out as a total saving of £164 versus public transport. Despite this they insisted that I must use rail warrants.

    Having been unsuccessful at interview stage for these six positions. I had managed to secure a further 8 job interviews. I spoke to the job centre about getting TIS for these. I was refused as I had been unsuccessful with the 6 previous interviews. I was told that I would need to CANCEL the 8 forthcoming interviews I had sercured and I should start looking at “stacking shelves in Tescos” to get back into work, then use my wages to fund travelling to interviews for my ‘dream job’

    I highlighted to the job centre that there are a number of issues in me doing this.

    If a hiring manager sees a CV with more experience on it than them selves they are likely to think one of two things:
    1. This person may be out to take my job
    2. This person is only going to use this role as a stepping stone until they find something more suitable, and will be gone in a couple of months.
    (As a HR Manager I have been THAT hiring manager in the past, having those thoughts/doubts when reviewing CV’s)

    As an FTE (full time employee) in an entry level job, when would I be able to attend interviews for my ‘dream role’?
    High levels of (potentially unauthorised) absence within a probationary period would lead to dismissal and therefore put me back to square one and back on JSA.

    Regardless, of this the job centre were adament that this should be the only course of action. So I played ball and started applying for shelf stacking and warehouse entry level £6.50 per hour roles.

    All the feedback gained from these applications was that I was ‘too experienced and over qualified’ for the roles advertised.

    I brought this to the attention of the job centre. Explaining they had put me in a rock and hard place. Refusing me TIS is preventing me from applying for roles I’m experienced in. And applying for entry level roles which I’m not experienced in was resulting in me not getting the job. The job centre then advised me to fabricate a CV to make me more ‘appealing’ to hiring managers of entry level roles.
    I asked “are you suggesting that I lie on my CV as to make myself experienced in warehouse work, I will have to get rid of 18 years management experience from my CV. I was told that this would be needed to get me into a warehouse job.
    Great advice that….. CIFAS state that under The Fraud Act (2006) it’s illegal to lie on your CV/job application and maximum punishment is a 10 year prison sentence.

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  67. I was told I wasn’t getting any more money for interviews. Period. I attended an interview which required me to go from Glasgow to Leeds. They gave me the money grudglingly, after me explaining that as a recent graduate, I would need to be prepared to travel to interviews and relocate to get a job. Shortly after the interview, I was offered a Job in Edinburgh. I asked for travel costs until I was paid, which they couldn’t realistically refuse.
    14 weeks later, after redundancy, I was back in the Job centre again, in exactly the same situation, explaining the same thing again, to the same person. They gave me money for an interview in Dundee, but was told “This is the last time you are getting travel expenses.”

    So now, I have to turn down interviews, and there is no relevant work in my field at my experience level locally. I’ve been hamstrung. Companies that are basically telling me that the job is mine, as long as I interview face to face (to prove I am who I say I am), I am having to say no to, because the job centre will not allow me to travel on their coin, despite paying my NI.

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    • From what I remember of my experience asking the JobCentre to cover my travel expenses (because it was outside the area I lived in) is that they have a limited budget per jobseeker, so if you’ve used up your allowance, the JobCentre won’t keep paying up. One suggestion I have is for you to ask the HR Department of the companies that interviewed you if they can pay for your travel to the interview, as many will. When I lived outside Central London and had to travel quite far to get to interviews, I was pleasantly surprised to find out many companies are willing to cover that expense. All you need to do is write to their Human Resources staff, explain the situation and politely ask if they can do it. Do keep copies of any paper tickets you buy, or at least photograph them so you have some proof of payment for the claims. Good luck!

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  68. Jodie

    I’ve recently had to sign-on, only it’s Universal Credit now and not JSA. I have to wait six weeks to receive any money and they won’t pay for travel prior to the interview, you now have to bring in proof of travel after your interview in order to be reimbursed.

    You can see where the issues might start here. After three weeks of signing on, the adviser looked exasperated when I told her I hadn’t been able to attend any interviews, on the account I have no money. She then gave me a very patronising dressing down about how I need to meet the strict job-search requirements for credit, “as it is a privilege not a right” (apparently), and “I was the one who chose to claim. Had I not wanted to job search, then I should not expect to be given anymore money”.

    (Without going into the woman’s awful attitude), the whole process has left me feeling very frustrated!

    It’s an impossible system for those who genuinely do want to get back into work. Especially those who want to find a suitable long-term job.

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    • Jodie, the system of being reimbursed for travel for interview was the same eight years ago, that is, bring receipts back after the interview, as it is now. It’s fair enough that the JobCentre wants proof that you actually did go to the interview. Also, please beware the JobCentre only helps out with travel to interview if the interview is happening well outside the area where you live. I don’t know if it’s different now with Universal Credit, but double-check that with your adviser.
      Some companies that invite you for interview are willing to pay you back for your travel, so do inquire with their HR Department, but the system is the same as the JobCentre’s: they pay you back AFTER the interview and only if you give them receipts.
      If you do genuinely want to get back into work, you need to go to interviews when invited. If you don’t even have money to catch a bus or train to go to interviews, you need to flag this up with your adviser to see what can be done to help you, or borrow money from a friend for the travel fare. I can’t blame your adviser for looking exasperated. If you don’t go to interviews, you’ll never get a job. She’s right in that JSA (and Universal Credit) is supposed to help you out but on condition that you’re actively trying to find work. It’s not a perfect system, and I agree there *are* a few awful advisers with an attitude out there, but I don’t think that is the case here, to be fair.

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