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Thursday, 13 February 2014

Harassment from seetec

Ok so I hope people will read this and give me some advice!

I have been signed off since November and I am therefore waiting to see the quacks from Atos. I am currently recieving ESA.

However, since new year's eve I have been harassed by seetec. I wrote to them on 7th January telling them I think they are trying to trick me into saying I am fit for work and I asked them to provide evidence that I emailed them (at at time when I was ill), begging them to help me find work. They ignored this letter completely and have obviously failed to prove I sent this mystery email! I also demanded they communicate with me by letter from now on as I want to keep a record. This has been completely disregarded.

They carried on sending me letters with new Work Programme course dates, even though they told me the course was cancelled for me. 

Another problem I had was after I sent them my Doctor's certificate - they said they had not received it and that my benefit will be stopped, despite them sending me a text to say they have received my 'fit note' (PS: sorry, but how stupid does 'fit note' sound, when you get such a thing for being unfit??)

They rang my nan, asking to speak to me and left voicemails on my phone. I refused to call them back. Why should a poor person have to spend their call allowance on them?! My nan told them they would have to contact me by letter. They ignored this. A few weeks later, they called my nan again demanding to know where I am and to provide them with my address. They KNOW my address!! Again my nan refused and told them to write to me. I got another voicemail from my former adviser yesterday.  Ignored!

Finally, today I received a letter saying I have to attend a mandatory appointment at seetec on Wednesday or risk having my jobseekers allowance sanctioned. Just one problem with that - I have been on ESA since November.  Can someone tell me what to do next? I don't want to ring as I have phone call phobia! How can they sanction my JSA if I am not on it? Will it affect my ESA?
..

Monday, 20 January 2014

Inept F*ckwits.

In November, or possibly early December I phoned the DWP. The woman on the phone was too thick to understand what I was saying and after I repeated myself for the third time, she hung up. This made me mad with rage. I find phone calls difficult as it is due to nerves, so to be greeted with such rudeness has not helped. I rang again and spoke to a man who was much more helpful, though he couldn't really deal with my inquiry, as the DWP had previously given me wrong information.

I was so enraged by that chav on the end of the line that I complained. Then six weeks later I got a letter...they couldn't trace my phone number on their system apart from the call I made to the man...and questioned him instead. Obviously he denied being rude, because he wasn't.

Yes. They questioned some innocent man. Inept fucking arseholes.


Anyway...

Following on from my post before last, I wrote to the DWP telling them I was suspicious of their motives. I also told them I want them to only respond to me via letter now, so I can keep a record. So two weeks later, what are they doing? Ringing my bloody Nan to ask for my number. They have my number already. Then they're ringing my mobile and leaving voicemails. How hard is it to write me a letter, you cheapskates?

Unless this is an offer of a fabulous part-time job where I don't have to interact with stinking freaks, then I am not interested.

Monday, 6 January 2014

To outline my difficulties, here is a list of my interview disasters.

First Job interview offer was for Littlewoods, which is no longer there. I was 17, at college and wanted a job like all my friends, despite being the shyest one, who had communication dodginess. A man rang me to give me an interview time...but I panicked and didn’t turn up. Just couldn’t face it.

Second, was for Sainsbury’s when I was still at college. It was a group interview and I got an attack of selective mutism. When I got to the one-to-one bit, I was shaking so much; the woman interviewing me thought I was too nervous for the job. I ended up going home crying           . The people who did get the job were illiterate. Oh and I later heard this manager lost her job after being caught embezzling!

The third interview was after I quit my first uni in Canterbury (I quit because of some kind of mental breakdown). This is the worst bit: my grandmother had given me a lift there, and as the interview time closed in, I began to get really nervous, and was shaking. My nan reeled round on me and called me ‘mentally ill’, said I was going to become like my father. I ended up in tears and had to go to the interview with a blotchy face. The manager looked a bit disgusted by me, but the interview continued as normal, until he asked why I left uni. I explained that the time wasn’t right – I’d rather work. He told me I’d made a mistake, and that I should go back. I didn’t get the job. It was shit anyway, some crappy warehouse/cheapo supermarket in the middle of nowhere.

Fourth: River Island. I came down with a nasty cold on the day, so had to sit there, nose streaming, looking divine. I dressed wrong. I wore black trousers, shiny black shoes and a fitted blouse, but apparently for clothes shops you have to dress like you’re going clubbing, so I totally failed the bit where I had to explain the decision behind my outfit. Also they were shocked about my age. ‘old compared to the others’ (I was 22!). Then guess who got the job – a boy who’d spent the interview looking at the floor, chewing gum, who’d admitted his mum had styled his hair. Oh so that’s where I was going wrong...

Fifth was for Sleep Right: A man lounged on one of the beds behind, telling me the shop was shit and had no customers. The bloke interviewing me was just a kid, swore all through it (so profesh!) and then finally asked me to do some percentages in front of him. I explained I have dyscalculia, a numeracy learning disability. He then pushed a calculator in front of me, but I had to explain, that they don’t make a difference. ‘You’d better go home’. I agreed. On the way home, I faced an ear-bashing from my Nan. Well, fuck off, she has dyscalculia as well (but she didn’t bloody tell me that until much later).

Sixth. It was for an admin job in the next town. When I got there, my interviewer was not available – I’d have to have someone else instead...who turned out to be one of my school bullies, and she simply laughed in my face. I fronted the bitch out and sat through the interview, but she made it clear that I, as a shy person was not going to get the job.

My next interview was for an unpaid job so I am not giving this one a number. I got it. Funny, they love me if they don’t have to pay me...After that, I said ‘fuck this shit’ and returned to a better uni. (in case you are wondering, the interview for uni went very well)

Seven: River Island (again). It took me an hour to get to the interview in another town. The interview went ok, I suppose, fashion jobs are for bullshitters though, and I am a straight-to-the-point kind of person, so I couldn’t sit there pontificating about style when asked my opinions on clothes. There was a task to ‘dress David Beckham’. I didn’t have the first idea what that twat wears. Here’s the best bit though – after the interview, on the bus, I checked my emails – they had rejected me ‘after careful consideration’ sent one minute before the interview had even commenced!!! Been boycotting them ever since.

Eight. A curtain shop. ‘Tell me what you think about curtains’.
‘Well...they serve a purpose don’t they.’
Didn’t get that job.

Unpaid job in a shop, interview went ok...

Nine: Some company in London’s Docklands. I had no clue what to say, and the bloke (who looked like he had Coco Pops glued to his cheeks) was only interested in talking about himself. All he said was ‘I think you are too educated for this job’. Sigh. I only have a BA, how is that too educated for fuck’s sake?


Unpaid job in museum. Again, interview went well...apart from the bit where I said I don’t want to sing to kids, not even if I was paid...but yeah I enjoy that job. It’s what I want to do.

I want people to understand the difficulties I face. Not only are interviews hard to come by (I've applied for about 1,500 jobs in this last 19 months and only had 3 interviews, not including voluntary job ones) but that I really have difficulty with chronic shyness in ALL interviews.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Tricks

The Jobcentre are up to their dodgy tricks again. I got a call on 30th December and again on 31st, which was basically a woman from the DWP saying she received my email from a month ago, in which I am supposed to have said I need help looking for work...

Except I don't remember sending anything of the sort...in fact there is nothing in my email's sent items. One month ago, I was put on ESA, until 10th January, and was told that I don't need to sign on, and have to wait for a DWP medical. In the meantime, I am temporarily not fit for work.

So anyway the woman told me to ring my adviser. Only I don't have one now, since I signed off. She also said I had to go back to the dunce college course in January, as there is no getting out of it. Well I know there is no getting out of it, but the fact is, I am not supposed to be doing it now. Not only that, my old adviser cancelled my course dates!

So I am just going to ignore these women. I am going to write them a letter. 

This whole thing has worried me, and I don't like this, the feeling they are being really devious, making up that I've sent them emails, trying to force me into things that I am not meant to be doing right now. I can't have them trying to stress me out this year, especially not when I am signed off for mental health reasons. 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Unemployment and Dyspraxia


I was recently told I probably have dyspraxia and I am currently waiting for a referral, which I am told might not happen unless I go private, because there is no decent NHS expert in my region (great). For arguments sake, I am going to say I do have it, in this blog post. I, like the woman in this article have always been good with the written word. Like this woman, I am dyscalculic, which is also a symptom of dyspraxia. The woman in the aforementioned article said this:

“Within the job market, particularly the current economic climate, the things I'm weakest at – practical work, numeracy, science, high-level administration – are the most valued. Meanwhile, my strong skills – written and verbal communication – are taken for granted or sneered at. Those seeking careers using them are told they should be the last to expect financial backing.”
This is true for me too – except verbal communication, which I find really difficult when faced with strangers. (Read ‘difficult’ as ‘nigh on impossible’) That also links to what I said in a previous blog post about people with introvert personalities being discriminated against by employers (which seems to reflect society as a whole). My skills do not match what employers want, and I’ve been scoffed at in the past, when I’ve been asked what I can bring to a company.
The problem with dyspraxia is that this affliction can make one look a bit...slow. Although I (according to tests conducted by my psychologists) I am gifted at puzzle solving, and have an 'extraordinary grasp of words', I have a problem with slow processing, and executive dysfunction. I guess it's because I am afflicted by sensory overload, and have to overcome that, before I can adjust to the task at hand. I need time, that's it! My main issue is with gross motor-skills, as opposed to fine motor-skills. As in, I can sew, but can’t catch a ball to save my life. When I volunteered in a charity shop, and they asked me to pick something up for them behind the desk, I’d have to think about it hard - remembering they mean my side of the desk, not theirs. If they said ‘down to the left, there was a 50/50 chance I might turn to the right instead. (Logically I know that left is and right is but actually matching that logic to what my body wants to do is a different matter. Then there’s the problem of dropping things – I spill things, drop them, grip too hard, grip too soft. I am physically weak and awkward, I lack spacial awareness and distance perception, so this results in me doing things wrong a lot. This led to the manager giving me some very funny looks. I quit that job soon after. But I am also worried I would be appalling at administration. I lose things and am terminally disorganised. Until recently, I thought this was just me being a bit thick and absent minded, but no, it turns out to be another dyspraxia symptom. There are also other symptoms that won’t really affect work, but I will mention them anyway – sensitivity to touch and light. These are actually also signs of autistic spectrum disorders – there is an overlap, which makes a lot of sense for me.


Ok basically the point of this post is to state the problem with employment and dyspraxia and how I need to be on something like Employment Support Allowance rather than Jobseeker’s Allowance, as I need all the support I can get, especially given my depression and anxiety history, my undergoing assessments, and the fact that doctors are messing me about and delaying diagnoses. It would help me a lot, and I’d handle my life a lot better.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Failures and What Nows

            I didn’t get any of the Christmas temp jobs I applied for, for the second year in a row. And when it gets to December, it feels like there’s no point in bothering much, seems better to wait until the new year. But it also dawns on people that a whole year has passed and you haven’t achieved much. 19th November marked a year since my graduation ceremony, but I am still yet another unemployed graduate. Most of my fellow students have gone on to get jobs. Out of all the people I went to uni with, I only know one who was in the same situation as me, until about September, when he finally succeeded at an interview. For me, I am still languishing on the dole. It is hard not to give up hope. After so many rejections, the only thing that keeps one going is the need to apply for as many jobs as possible or risk getting my money cut off. I worry what is in store for me next year – worried I will face sanctions, that I will keep getting rejected, that I will waste another year of my life, and then what if I actually do get a job? It’s such an elusive thing, that I would probably freak out, and be overwhelmed if I actually did get one.

            Meanwhile, I am now on ESA. They ‘awarded’ it to me yesterday. But what do I do? Where do I sign on, if I even have to? Do I actually get more support looking for work? All I know is that I will end up on the same Work Programme ‘courses’ that people on JSA do, which are absolute shite. Then of course, I will have to change back to JSA come 27th December. Personally I think I should stay on ESA, as I think do need more help than the average jobseeker (not that they actually do help people at the jobcentre). This is due to my social interaction problems, panic attacks and other things I am undergoing tests for. I’ll need to speak to my doctors. I don’t know what the future holds for me.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Sickness Shambles

I was signed off work last week, and did not attend my review. I went to my GP the next day as an emergency, and she signed me off for 28 days. Which was ok...until the Jobcentre decided to complicate things. Because the medical certificate declares me unfit for work until Christmas,  it means I have to sign off JSA, go on ESA, then if I am declared well in a month, then I have to sign back onto JSA.

So...first thing I did after the doctors was go in to Seetec to explain why I did not attend the review the previous day. My adviser did not accept my doctor's note - just said that I will only need it if a decision is made to sanction my jobseekers. Sanctioning cannot be prevented with a doctor's certificate, as the system is too 'black and white' to cope with it... (sanctioning, as it turned out, did not happen). I was so unsure of this, so I contacted them again - she then said the same - adding that I was meant to take the certificate over to the jobcentre! Why didn't she bother to tell me when I saw her? I had then wasted two days in which I could have shown proof of my illness. Finally I went to the jobcentre. They asked for my JSA singing book, then the woman took it away, saying that as my certificate was for 28 days sickness, I could not be a job seeker any more, and that I had to go on ESA. I thought this was ridiculous, as I was still looking for work. I've now had to ring up to make a month's claim for ESA, hand in my doctor's certificate and fill out a questionnaire on my illness.
I don't know what this means for my near future - poverty seems inevitable. What if I don't pass the questionnaire? What if they decide I am not ill, and therefore I lose 1 month's worth of money over Christmas? Can their decision override a GP's? Then what? When I am better, I will have to resign for JSA, just before Xmas which will delay the claim. Then in the new year they will probably make me start all the same Seetec work I've just completed, all over again. Hopefully not, as I have the certificate for that. I just don't want all this to affect my mental health. Also I am still waiting for Employability to contact me (they help depressed people look for work) and also waiting to see a dyspraxia specialist. It is all slow, too many bureaucrats fucking about, and meanwhile, my life is going nowhere. I just need help getting on my feet.

UPDATE: I had a replacement date for my review, but as I had signed off JSA, a rang to confirm whether I'd still need to come in or not. The receptionist said to come in. When I got there, I ended up waiting for 25 minutes, watching my advisor talk to colleagues and eat. I didn't want to just go over there, as, truth be told, I was scared, and having some kind of anxiety attack, plus wasn't sure if it would be rude to just go up to her desk univeited and plonk my arse down, Then she finally saw me, and said 'oh, you didn't have to come in. I didn't know why you were sitting there'. Idiot.