Response to the Angry Aussie

In response to this post, because I was going to leave a comment but it got long-winded and I don’t know if there is a word limit for comments.

“…they came back with “we’ll punish anyone who meets the quota with random applications”. How exactly do they think they’re going to do that? Can you imagine the overhead when there are tens of millions of applications to check every month?”

Not to mention they don’t make any effort to do this now. I was on Newstart allowance for 6 months last year, had an appointment every month at both Centrelink AND a job “provider”, neither of which took a copy of my list of job searches, or made any real effort to help me get into either a job or, at the very least, some relevant work experience. Considering I just moved to a new town it would have been nice to have known some potential contacts, etc, but hey, I’m “work ready” so I should be able to sprinkle my magic *employ me* dust and the job fairy will make it so! The Centrelink appointment was literally: walk in, tell the door person why you were there, sit down, wait 30 minutes or more, be called up, sit at a person’s desk, hand them your form, they would initial and stamp it without even reading it, hand it back to you and say goodbye in a rushed way that made you feel like you had been wasting their time, that whole 2 minutes they saw you.

Anywho, finally, after one unsuccessful interview, and hundreds of no response/rejections in those 6 months, I get called in to actually work for Centrelink in one of their call centres, and I have to take the job because thems the rules where yer a dole bludger, even though my application was for general casual work, with nothing stated about call centres on the form, sneaky buggers.

During the training we were essentially told that nobody really does check the job search efforts. Each division – the office, the call centre, the job “provider” – telling anybody who asks that it’s another division’s responsibility! Nobody actually does any real work! All I was doing was clicking a button and suddenly somebody was getting paid in a day or two, or else there was some problem or other I couldn’t help them with and I’d have to transfer them to be on hold for another hour or so until they could speak to someone else who may or may not have the appropriate training to help them. Such a terrible, terrible system. So I quit after 3 months, not only because it was making me hate both the government and the people it governs, but because talking to one stranger is usually draining enough for me, let alone 100 strangers a day. Being an introvert with social anxiety isn’t exactly something employers look for so I can’t tell them that, not when there are only a few jobs relevant to my skill set and 100 other equally good or better people are applying to the same jobs.

Interestingly, the pay for the call centre was $35/hr. The government doesn’t have enough to pay the unemployed/single parents/etc a living wage, but enough to pay their workers to put up with all the abuse from those suffering folk. Not enough for me to stay, obviously, but others have. There were people who had worked there for 5-10 years, maybe more. I didn’t know whether to be impressed or saddened. I felt like they should have all been going on strike until something was done to fix all the things they were all complaining about.

Hell, if they had given me a job more appropriate to my skills, I would have gotten through their backlog of faxes, snail mail and emails in a week and the call volume would have reduced as well because of it! Quite possibly a slight exaggeration, but I am not a Gossiping Gertrude, I get my fucking work done and I will secretly want to punch you if you interrupt me with “you should have been at lunch 20 minutes ago” or “*ring ring. ring ring. ring ring*” or “oh my god, look at this photo of sexy *random disgusting celebrity*!” or “my mum just commented on my Facebook photo, I want to fucking kill myself omg lol!”

No, life is not about doing things that make you a handy resource for society and therefore feel fulfilled – it’s about making you stressed beyond breaking point so that you become depressed and/or develop a natural murderous rage.

Unfortunately I have been unable to find another job, but my partner earns too much for me to qualify for the dole now and I’m glad for that, apart from the daily disgust I have for being a grown adult relying on another grown adult to support me.

Thanks, government. Thanks for helping me find a job that didn’t make me want to kill myself and everybody else, so that I might have long-term, full time, employment with a satisfactory personal fulfilment level, so that I could help pay you for roads and health and education services consistently until I reach 90 years of age or whatever is going to be retirement age by the time I get there.

Yes, I would like to work. I want to be useful. I just can’t be of use when I keep being given jobs that do not suit me. I don’t understand how, in an age reliant on technology, there are no jobs advertised as “Customer service officer – email responses only” and the like. If people were given jobs that were suited to them, they would be done so much more efficiently. If we were given help at a time when we really need it, say, when we have been unemployed for a year and having to speak with employment providers to obtain miniscule funds to pay rent, it would be nice if somebody actually pointed you in a direction and said ” this, does this sound good? I will make sure this happens for you if you can prove yourself in this role.” How is this not what happens? Why are these people employed to sit around adding a ridiculous border to your resume and reprinting it, somehow now with spelling and grammatical errors that weren’t on there when you put the file on your USB stick and handed it to them? Seriously, this happened to me. She printed off 12 copies of the newer, crappier resume and told me to hand them to potential employers. Frankly my dear, I would rather step in front of a car outside your office, with a note in my pocket, written on the back of one of those resumes, explaining how you were the reason I did it.

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Bye Anonymous

Remember when the internet was anonymous? You went to a website for something you were interested in and found out there was a forum. You decided to join, and you were asked to create a screen name. You could be whoever you wanted to be.

The first time I did this, it was kind of an amazing thing. The previous decade or so of my life I’d spent hunched at a desk at school unsure how to talk to my peers, or perhaps unsure if I even wanted to talk to them, then suddenly the world opened up and I discovered I could say whatever I wanted to whomever I wanted via a keyboard. I could sit and think about what I wanted to say, or go away and come back, without anybody looking at me, waiting for me, visibly judging anything I might say if I did come up with anything, or judging me for not saying anything at all. It was fantastic.

Enter MySpace. Facebook. Youtube trying to make you use your real name just to log in and make a playlist of dorky nostalgic music. Extroverts have now taken over the internet, and I sort of want to tell them to bugger off. It’s no longer a safe place. While this new era of internet does give me the freedom to respond to people I already know without all that external pressure of a face-to-face meeting, I feel even more pressured to ensure I don’t say the wrong thing in front of the wrong people. I feel like something has been stolen from me in having my real name out there.

Don’t get me wrong, I like having those connections and knowing what all my old and new friends and acquaintances are up to, but at the same time I miss that hidden aspect of my life. Being able to discuss things with people I don’t know, who don’t know me, not even my real name. It was like keeping a journal or a diary, but other people read it and helped me figure things out, or even just shared their own experiences and that made me feel so damn normal.

My whole life I’ve felt like I missed the induction on How to Life. In a few years I’ll be 30, and I still have no clue how to interact with other human beings in a face-to-face setting without blushing or wanting desperately not to have to maintain eye contact. But I have Facebook. I mainly use it to play games and comment on posts of people I really know, while simply observing the lives of everyone else like some kind of creepy life pervert. I haven’t had a really good discussion with a stranger in a long time. I guess that’s why I’m here. Even if nobody reads this and I end up talking myself. It’s pretty nice to just say stuff. Stuff.