First Day

Today was my first day back at work after having 5 month off for Maternity Leave.

I’ve been dreading it for a while, full of anxiety about returning to work with people who caused a lot of problems for me. Also sad about having to leave my 20 week old baby for a huge chunk of time.

The job I do can be as easy or as difficult as you make it. I always aim for as easy as possible simply because I don’t like making life any harder than it has to be.

My job is unique and challenging and sometimes I deal with people who, for whatever reason, can be angry, aggressive, mean, shrill and screaming, crying, happy, sad, and the rest of the emotional spectrum in between.

I deal with the elderly, businessmen, children, ladies who lunch and everyone in between. I once gave Dame Kelly Holmes directions and didn’t even realise until she walked off!

I’ve been physically assaulted 3 times in my job. I’ve been verbally assaulted more times that I can even count. You have to have a relevantly thick skin on some occasions.

I wondered if today I would be verbally assaulted and if so what derogatory term would be used. And I was, and I wasn’t surprised by the fact. On fact it wasn’t that bad of a phrase. The worst I got today was “you’re fucking unreasonable”, which of course I wasn’t, but he was cross and now had spent more than intended because he didn’t purchase his ticket before travelling. (Make sure you purchase your tickets before you start your journey!)

It went by quicker than I expected and it was less painful than I thought it would be. However I was still counting down the minutes the moment my shift started. Being away from my girl for so long is hard and I dislike it, and if we could afford it I’d give up my job and be a Stay At Home Mama.
Maybe one day I will be able to do that.

Best start buying those lottery tickets, and saving more pennies than I spend!

Porn Star Wanted

A while ago (for the second time in 3 years) I signed up to every recruitment agency and every job board website going, because I desperately wanted to leave my job.

Thankfully I got a secondment and refreshed my CV and took some time away from the current job. Then I got pregnant with Emma, which allowed more time away.

However some of the email notifications I forgot about, and now every so often I’ll get a phone call from a recruiter or an email round up of jobs advertised.

Usually I skim read and delete, unless there’s something worthwhile with the right location and money.

Today, this landed in my inbox.

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I’m not quite sure how I managed to get this type of job advert from a search based on customer services and account management!

That’s some kind of service and management eh?

I don’t think I’ll be applying.

Why I think Iain Duncan Smith is an idiot

So Cait Reilly has won her Court of Appeal claim that being made to work for free at Poundland was unlawful.

As Grumpy Cat would say; GOOD.

If you don’t know the story, then let me summarise for you. Cait Reilly, finished her degree, couldn’t find work, went onto Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) and was told she had to do this work placement or face losing her jobseekers allowance. The work placement was basically unpaid. After all, minimum wage for over 21s is £6.19. JSA for up to 24 year olds is a maximum of £56.25 a week.

If Ms Reilly worked for 2 weeks, at 35 hours a week, then she should have been paid a minimum of £6.19 per hour worked, which works out roughly £216.65 (gross payment) per week, instead she received JSA. Let’s say she got the top £56.25 a week that is a difference of £160.40, that’s £320.80 for 2 weeks work she did. That’s actually quite a lot of money.

Iain Duncan Smith has hit back at the ruling calling it “utter madness” and that he has no intentions of paying compensation to any claimant who declined to join such a scheme and instead have their benefit payments docked as a result.

My response to IDS? You sir, are a raging *insert expletive of your choice* idiot.

I fail to see how Politicians can implement such schemes, having never experienced the utter humiliation that millions face at the Job Centre each week. They’ve never NOT had a job, or not had any money. They’ve (most likely) never wondered how they would put food on the tables for their families, or pay the household bills. Never stressed or worried and looked into bankruptcy as an option to survive.

This time four years ago, I was ushered into an office with about 20 other people and given notice that we were all facing redundancy. A few weeks later, I was made redundant. I was fuming. I was upset. I was worried. I was stressed. I was a mixed bag of feelings and my emotions were ALL over the place. We had just put down all the deposits for our wedding which was 7 months away, The Husband has just gotten a job (after 7 months of looking after his degree was completed), it was only £6 an hour, but it was a job and meant that we could finally go ahead with it all and not struggle financially. We were lucky; our joint income would have been around £44k. Yes, we had saved and scrimped to get our deposits together, and now we were looking like we’d have to (at best) really cut down or (at worst) cancel and lose our money. We cut down. Our income went from £44k a year to just £12k a year.

Yes I got a redundancy payout, but that was rationed to cover my bills (thank GOD for PPI, which after 3 months of being unemployed kicked in). I had to go to the Job Centre and “sign on”. Every week I had to fill in my book with jobs I’d applied for and the outcome, I had to take it to my JSA Advisor who 3 our of 4 weeks was rude, patronising and encouraged me to apply for menial jobs that I couldn’t have survived on after paying to travel to work. One job cost more money for me to get to, than it actually paid!

After 2 weeks of signing on, I asked for another book to record my job applications and was asked why I needed a new one. (Some of them are not very clever!) Obviously because the old one is FULL, which I pointed out and was met with “why have you applied for so many jobs, you only need to do 3 a week”. Each week it was the same. I’d turn up 15 minutes before my allocated appointment time, wait an hour to be seen and then be spoken to rudely, patronised and often in tears by the end. For £47 each week. Was it worth it? NO. Did I have to do it? YES. Why? Because they were the ones who signed my monthly insurance claim forms to continue paying my bills.

It got to August and I informed my advisor that I was getting married and moving. I did everything in writing. Confirmed the date I was getting married, and they sorted it all out and moved my claim to another Job Centre, which unbelievably turned out to be worse than my own Job Centre. Waiting up to 2 hours to be seen, shouted at on occasion, rudeness, being patronised to name a few things. My mental health suffered.

I got married, a small ceremony, small reception, all done on the cheap. I gave copies of my marriage certificate to the advisor, the Job Centre manager, it was all put on my “file” and I sent off my marriage certificate to the Job Centre “head office” in Belfast with all the necessary documentation and changed my name, then I received a letter 7 weeks after I sent everything through stating that I was no longer entitled to any JSA as I was now the sole responsibility of my husband. I appealed and asked them how I was expected to survive, my husband was on a minimum wage job and was told “not our problem quite frankly”. I still had to sign on (now every 2 weeks) to get my insurance forms filled in so my PPI would continue to pay my financial products. It was degrading and humiliating the way I was treated.

About a month after, I received a letter stating that I had been overpaid £101 because I had failed to inform them of my change of circumstances. I went ballistic and my complaint letter was 3 pages long (in size 10 font) and it was sent to the Job Centre Manager, the Appeals process, the head of the DWP at the time, and for good measure I sent a copy to the Prime Minister. It was 3 pages of facts based on how I was treated, how paperwork was lost, how rude staff were, how much it cost me to keep calling Belfast to chase things. I went to town. A week later I received a letter from the DWP saying that I didn’t have to return the overpayment and apologising, and a letter from the Job Centre Manager apologising and promising to investigate.

Throughout this whole ordeal, I still had to go every 2 weeks to be humiliated and demoralised. I applied for almost 700 jobs, anything paying more than £7 an hour, I applied for. However in the height of an economic recession, I was turned down for most of them. In 7 months I got invited to 11 interviews. 11 out of almost 700. Yet every 2 weeks I was constantly asked “why haven’t you found a job yet”

At the end of October I was told I had to attend a compulsory week course on how to get back into work. I wasn’t sure how this was going to help me, simply because hardly anyone was hiring. More people were being sent in droves to the Job Centre thanks to redundancies. Ironically I’d applied for a job as a Job Centre Advisor. I thought that if some of the trained monkeys who humiliated me every week could do it, then I sure as hell could too! I was turned down, ironically being told “you’re over-qualified for this role”.

I failed to see how this course was going to help me. I had to pay to travel to get to the course, pay for my own lunch and not get anything out of it.

Thankfully someone called to offer me a job. It was a basic job. I sat in a call centre and answered phone calls for 8 hours a day. It only paid £6 and after paying my bills and transport there was no money left over for food or household bills. We applied for Working Tax Credits (which eventually shafted us, but that’s another story!) just so we could pay The Husbands father some rent and utilities and also so we could eat each week.

I took the job so I didn’t have to be humiliated each week. I could continue looking for a better paying job in the meantime and the shift work meant I could go to interviews.

I remember sitting in some dingy training room with some other people, I was the only one smartly dressed. The course instructor came in and set up, as I got the call. The moment he started to introduce himself, I stood up and said “sorry, I’m not doing this. No offence, but its crap, and I’ve just been offered a job which I accepted and I start in an hour. Bye!” and I literally ran from the room. It was the most liberating thing I’ve ever done in my life. I remember it was snowing and I remember calling The Husband and screaming down the phone that I had a job!

3 months later I got a new job, which paid more money, still only half my salary before I was made redundant, but better in so many ways than £6 an hour. It had great benefits and the money increased after training and I was guaranteed a pay increase every year thanks to the industry being heavily unionised. 3 years later I’m still here, only £7k off my old pre-redundancy salary. The Husband is still at his job and has worked his way up, and whilst we are not flush with cash, we manage each month.

So Iain Duncan Smith, I challenge you, to perhaps do an undercover boss series. Go undercover for 2 months, in disguise and sign on; experience this awful system that you seem to think is acceptable. I’d be interested to see if you changed your views.

In the meantime, I applaud Cait Reilly. Good for you!

The current system doesn’t work for the people who genuinely need it and is abused by others who make no effort at all. You put in ridiculous systems, make ridiculous cuts that actually don’t make any sense (don’t get me started on the Child Benefit capping) and then complain when the legal system rules it unlawful and paves the way for people to claim compensation from you.

So much for saving the country money! These cost cutting / money saving schemes you’ve implemented could end up costing the country up to £40m!

It needs to change and Iain Duncan Smith and his government cronies need to sit up and take notice.

FOR SALE : one pair of used panties

Ok, so the blog title is a lie. I’m not actually selling my worn panties. Although based on the research I just did, it seems as though I’m in the wrong job! Apparently there’s a market out there for used/worn/soiled/musty/wet panties. Whatever floats your boat I guess.

My best friend and I have some really bizarre and strange conversations. We have done since we were 14, which is why, I guess, that we’re such great friends. We can talk about everything and anything and not worry about being judged or ridiculed.

Tonight’s conversation was about jobs. Finding stuff that we really want to do and stuff we really enjoy. I jokingly said she should become an Ann Summers rep, or write erotica, or even became a phone sex operator (they make big bucks!).

I watched a documentary on phone sex operators and most women do it from home, and can make a fair amount of income. Think about it, you spend all day on the phone, you can catch up on your ironing whilst telling someone that you’re not wearing any panties and that you’ve been a naughty girl and need to be spanked. It seems that some men pay big bucks for these types of phone calls. So essentially you’re getting paid to stay home, in your pyjamas, catching up on your ironing and making the odd moan of “you like that?” down the phone. Easy money I’d say. If it wasn’t for the fact that I’d laugh my arse off, I’d totally do that kind of job.

Anyway, I digress. I told my friend that she could probably sell her used panties on eBay. It seems that there’s a market for that too. Mind you, I’m not surprised, if there’s a market for men who want to be sat on by 300 pound women, then why not dirty panties. I even found out that there’s a market for used underwear that’s been squirted with breast-milk. Mommy issues maybe?!?

Think about it, you can get some really nice feminine underwear for as little as £1. (it’s not like you plan to wear it for a long time anyway) You wear the panties,and then someone buys them. On my research I found a woman in the UK who sells her used under garments for £23 a pair. There’s a profit to be made here. And it cuts down on laundry, because you won’t need to wash your pants. You just pop them in an envelope and mail them off.

Somehow I don’t think either of us will change our careers from what we’re doing now to selling our dirty panties on the Internet, but in this economic climate I guess it’s an option.

Imagine explaining that job on your CV.

One Week Down

Today I completed my first week in my new job, and I must say that I rather enjoyed myself!

It was a busy week but it was still brilliant.
Excel is my new best friend so it seems. But only when it has pretty colours.

Next week is going to be even busier and I can’t wait to embrace it.

It’s possible that I’m mental. Most people complain about their jobs, I quite like mine.

Mental.