Playing the game…
My most recent visit to my Workfare provider passed off without incident and was actually quite pleasant. I’d been asked to prepare a CV, and the excercise was to rewrite it in the light of changed thinking on format, making it more job specific. This I did, and my advisor went through it and could find nothing wrong with it, other than it was a bit vague, which he accepted was due to the fact that the CV was written in a bit of a vacuum as far as a specific job was concerned. My ‘homework’ this time was to rewrite the CV, this time with a specific job in mind.
All this is fine and dandy, but even my advisor accepts that the kind of jobs I’m suitable for aren’t those that are going to recruit on the basis of a CV alone, and more often than not with the kind of job I apply for CVs are specifically excluded – it’s application form only. Never mind, I’m doing what’s asked, and that seems to keep my advisor happy… For the moment at least.
There was however one change this week, when he asked me if I’d like the appointment letter for my next appointment printed, or e-mailed… Silly question, printed of course! If he wants to get hold of my e-mail address he’s going to need a much more sophisticated approach than that!
At least he has made no attempt to keep copies of my CV, but then the copies I show him have a copyright notice at the bottom together with an overprinted copyright notice diagonally across the whole of the A4 page in light red.
I must chase them up on my withdrawal of consent letter, as the time limit for their response is well and truly up, and if these things are to stand any hope of being respected there is a need to follow them up to show that we’re serious.
Like many things in life, the Work Programme is yet another of those games where you have to jump through often apparently silly hoops. That it’s a silly game does nothing to diminish the genuinely serious consequences that failure to adhere to the rules involves, but it’s a game none the less. Knowing, and having regard of the rules is one way of staying ahead of the game and avoiding a sanction, but letting them know that you know your rights makes it difficult for them to sanction you unjustly, which is what is apparently happening to some people, who even then aren’t challenging the decision with an appeal. The very fact that you have let them know that you’ve spent a little time finding out what your rights are means that they will be that little more wary about trying to sanction you – and if they do try, to make sure that they get it right. If you then as an individual then comply insofar as you complete their absurd tasks every time, they are unlikely to even try.
I had a bit of a giggle on Friday though when I went to sign on. My usual Welsh speaking advisor was away this week, and they’d got another Welsh speaking member of staff down from the upstairs office to take my fortnightly signature. I arrived at the reception desk and one of the G4S security guards had obviously been briefed to expect me, recognised me bgy name and ushered me straight to the desk where the stand-in advisor was waiting to deal with my claim. The advisor shook my hand in greeting and whilst the admin of my claim was being dealt with we had a short conversation on the merits of smart phones versus the ancient kind – he’d suggested I note my next appointment to sign on on my brand spanking new smartphone that I had placed on the desk whilst I signed. It took me a minute or two to enter the details, (I’m still getting used to the gadget) but got there in the end. Job done, I got up to leave, shaking hands once more with the advisor. All in all quite a surreal experience.