I've been accused of being a liar, performed demeaning duties under the guise of education, discriminated against and told that what I want for my life doesn't matter. As a result of this, my self-esteem and self-worth have wiltered while my bank account dwindled.
So, why did I subject myself to these horrors on aq regular basis instead of walking away?
Simply put, because I had to. There wasn't a viable choice. That's what long term unemployment is about. You have no real options other than to do what other people tell you to, become who they tell you to be. If you don't want to do what they say and pull out of the system, you have no income at all, which in my case, would have led me to move back in with my parents. That's so not an option. Love them, but I think we'd drive each other mad within a week.
The system has its benefits sure. You get cheap public travel and medication and a meagre income as long as you do what they ask of you, but that's about it.
I've heard stories about people who've cheated the system. If these stories are true then the system DESERVES to be cheated. After all, who would believe a long term 'dole bludger' from regional Victoria really applied to NASA to be an astronaut. Yep, apparently that happened.
In the past I've been afraid of speaking up about the ill treatment I've undergone through these institutions because I was told "That's the way things are" and I believed it.
Over time I've realised that other people have been subjected to other ugly behaviour from these institutions (up to and including religious descrimination). I even tried to write an article for the local paper about all of this, but it was never printed. It was possible that it would run, after all the editor asked me to rework the original piece, but in the end it never ran.
People on the dole are referred to as lazy, self indulgent and unwilling to work. That's the stereotype that my job networks have fallen back on in order to define me. For the record, I have never been that person.
I want to work, I just want to be in a role where I'm happy and respected, not demeaned and will eventually quit because I'm not happy.
I refused to change who I was to get a job. That included a staunch refusal to kiss ass to get a meaningless job.
I regret little. Only the not speaking up part.
But yeah, that happened to me.