Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Blog it out

Nothing is ever as it seems to be.
If I have learnt nothing else over the last five or six years, it’s that.

I’m a well educated, intelligent human being whose skills tend to flow towards the creative. I’m driven, determined to reaching my self-set goals. For the last year I have run a small media support/ writing business in my adopted hometown. I haven’t run it successfully. Let’s be honest about that. When I started it, I truly believed that I would succeed, but I forgot that people prefer not to have to pay an external business for professional services like mine if they do not have to. And if they do, they are really quite indignant about the cost, believing that they alone need to find the money to pay for things. Heavens forfend I provide a professional service and expect to be properly compensated so I can meet my living costs.

In just over a month, or possibly just under, I will be removed from the NEIS program to be placed once again in the Jobseeking one. And I am dreading it.
Once again I will have to place my direct future into the hands of those who won’t support all my career goals, only those that can help them get money. Once again I will have to submit to government-sanctioned-slave labour that hides under the ambiguous term of ‘work experience’ because to refuse to do so equals punishment. I will lose my self-worth and self-esteem, if I ever had those to begin with. I will truly believe that I am worthless, that I have nothing to offer the world because I have chosen a career path that includes writing instead of something simple and straight-forward. In moments of my first meeting, my resume will be attacked so that it fits in with their form, eliminating any individuality or personality from the pages. What I’ve done will be minimised or hidden so that I appear ‘employable’. When I refuse to fit in with their world view, when I point out that it is my future, that I should have some say/control over where it goes, I am ridiculed. I am reminded that these people know what is best for me, that they are only trying to help me. They don’t try very hard.
I have been in the system for about six years. I’ve been through two job networks who shredded my self-belief so much that I thought that there was nothing good about myself. I have had countless case managers, all believing that they will be the one to break my record of unemployment. They will try to recommend self-help courses to help me with the anger issues I may display, not realising that they have no actual qualification to do so. Nor do they realise that it is the environment that I am placed in that causes my behaviour shifts. Hell, I probably have a higher understanding than most of them on psychological issues, simply being that I am a writer and need to constantly research these issues.
I will leave meetings in tears, angry and resentful at those people who, in their belief that they are trying to help me, have failed to see that they are merely just stripping my life from me, making it something that I borrow, not live. Not mine, just something that I rent at the extremely high cost of my sanity.

I would try to publish this piece elsewhere, but no one would print it. Simply put, because no one wants to tell the truth, especially not the big one. Unemployment isn’t a big laugh. Most unemployed people do not lie, for fear of getting caught and punished. Most unemployed people are looking for something long term, but want it to be a job that they can be happy in. That isn’t something that agencies are really concerned about. I’ve been told that directly from one pompous ass who thought that I should trust him with my future, even though he accused me directly of being a liar because he got fed ‘bullshit stories all the time’ from other clients so why wouldn’t I be the same. [If I could have proved this little discrimination through the use of stereotyping I would have]
I blog because I have nowhere else to express these words. I find it hard to verbalise my feelings at the best of times, even to those I am close to. I find it extremely difficult to ask for help because these agencies have shown through verbal and non-verbal communication that I am not worth helping, simply because I refuse to conform.

To the unobservant it appears that we live in a world where very little care is taken to help people who need it. Our world is one where self-esteem, self-worth and anything resembling dignity is pulled away from us, out of reach until we are deemed worthy by someone else, a person that claims to play the role of a ‘devil’s advocate’ but uses that role to bully and belittle others who do not have the power to fight back.

Is it any wonder I’m depressed at the thought of my imminent future?


  1. Trish, I have to wonder when I read your posts like this, what is it that you do want? Can a job network possibly give it to you? Or are they stuck within the confines of their own rules and regulations. You know they can’t give you what you want, they know they can’t give you what you need. The only answer is to not have to work with them.
    I really believe it is not a "job network's" purpose to actually find you employment - and the name is actually a misnomer. They are mostly just private Centrelink agencies set up to occupy your time, tick some boxes, and claim cash for having you on their books - and people that work for the job agencies probably do so, because it means they're employed and would rather do that than ever find themselves on the other side of that table.
    Waiting for a job network to find you work, is like sitting there and waiting for train that’s never going to come. Accept that the train just isn’t going to come, and call a taxi instead – or better still drive yourself and get there in a quarter of the time.
    The world you speak of where all our self esteem, self worth and dignity is pulled away from us, until we’re deemed worthy by someone else, that’s society – and we all live in it! But that doesn’t sound like my experience, tell me… what can those that do care, as part of society, do to help?

    P.s. A month is 44,640 minutes - that's lots of time to waste waiting for the ticket box to open for the train that's never coming! Go hard!

    P.p.s A smile and a nod and some fake enthusiasm in the right directions goes a long way in my world, keeps me chugging along until I figure out where the hell it is that I want to go.

    1. Very true FF
      I have never found long term work from job networks, simply because we're both looking at things from different perspectives. I want a career, something that I can be proud of, but they're stuck within that 'get them a job, get them off our books' psyche, which causes conflict on both sides.
      I never wait for them to find me a job though. If I end up back with them I will continue to apply for the jobs that I want to apply for, wherever they may be. I will continue to strive for what I want in that creative/ work balance that I need the most to focus and perform well.
      As for the self-esteem stuff, it isn't easy to be there for someone who doesn't want to talk about it, or simply can't verbalise their feelings as well as they can in writing. I guess, just being there like you have been in the past (which I totally appreciate if I haven't said it before), telling me that yes, things are crappy and will continue to be so until I do what I need to to get out of the abyss :S
      As a society, I don't think that there is a fix coming through. I guess it's more of an individual thing to work on.

      Meanwhile, that's some fast maths mate!