If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the empty desk a sign of? wondered Einstein. Had he been at my local unemployment office the other day, what would he have thought of the hand sanitiser that was sitting on MY side of the desk? I was trying to look interested in what the welfare ‘officer’ was saying behind her bullet proof glass (no joke – and very inconvenient, all I could hear was Justin Timberlake on the radio behind me, meaning I had to lean forward a lot and develop lip-reading skills), but I couldn’t because all the time I was wondering why my side had been provided with a cleaning object. Am I dirty? Am I finally, irrefutably, now officially, part of ‘the great unwashed’? And why did the dispensing part have a great big brown knob of dirt on it?
I also noticed the stubs of three airplane tickets to my left, and a long hair spreading over the part of the desk I was trying not to lean on.
The airplane tickets were to Berlin, the current owners of Ireland.
Justin continued to croon, I leaned away from the brown bit on the sanitiser and began to nod my head vigorously to imply understanding.
I came out with a headache, and did NOT buy a scone.
A victory over red tape and the incredibly unnecessary complication that is the Irish public service system. Billy has come through! I have some funding towards my very expensive diploma. How to celebrate? Needing eggs and it being early and not shower time, I threw an unflattering tracksuit over my nightdress and walked to the shops bra-less, letting my F cups flap in the breeze. I felt free, loose and on top of the world. Would try it more often with less people about but floppy F cups will not an admirer gain.
Leafing through my glossy folder whilst Billy and Mary argue about my ‘pending’ status I notice that I am to be treated to an ‘Action Plan’ for my job hunt. Great. My ‘one on one’ with Billy will also include ‘pathway options’ – oh the excitement of all the things they are going to treat me to!
‘So what are you after,’ asks Billy, still furiously clicking on my details, seemingly to no avail.
‘I was told to come here for guidance,’ I retort, wondering if this is the pathway referred to in my notes. ‘I’ve applied to do a training course and tried to get some funding towards it, they said no at social welfare but at my engagement thing I was told this would be a possibility so I asked to speak with your area to see if that was the case.’
‘They have no idea in social welfare,’ says Billy, unhelpfully. ‘I’ll print you a form, the training place fills it in bring it back to me and we will see.’
‘Can you also help with internships? I’ve applied for a few but have heard nothing. Are you able to call them and see what the story is?’
‘We used to be able to do that but now we can’t, only social welfare can do that. If we do it we’re taking their jobs.’
‘Social welfare said they couldn’t ring anyone for me.’
‘You wouldn’t believe the politics in this place.’
Not for the first time, I wonder how I can get a government job.
I would like to begin by stating that despite making a list of healthies from my various cook books last night, and despite purchasing some of these healthies (pears, kiwis, various nuts and seeds for snacking, ingredients for my Lebanese salad which is a regular make I must admit) I also inhaled a scone the size of my face earlier.
I had to, for I had to deal with the social welfare again.
I turned up to my ‘guidance’ appointment at the allotted time and walked into an office run entirely by old and obese people. My being ten minutes early seemed to cause some consternation amongst the staff, and the older lady that barely greeted me at reception went running away almost immediately to find somebody called ‘Billy’ (names have been changed to protect the useless). This left me with an obese lady who had been standing at the reception as if propped up, who then looked out the window and shuffled away. Then an obese man sat in the reception chair and wondered aloud how people sat ‘in this fucking thing’.
I took a seat beside some boys who smelt like cigarettes and was immediately called in to an office to see Billy.
Do you know who Lily Savage is? He didn’t look like her but with a Dublin accent, sounded a bit like her. He looked like Lily’s creator, Paul O’Grady, but seemed to have computer printed pictures of a wife all over his bulletin board, alongside, bizarrely one of a very young Jennie Garth of 90210 fame (who knew she used to be so chubby?).
Billy and ‘Mary’ then proceeded to have a long and deep and meaningful conversation about the data base on Billy’s computer NOT stating that I had been ‘engaged’ despite being to an ‘engagement gathering’ (see previous blogs for that golden nugget of time-wasting). Cue lots of keyboard bashing which achieved nothing except sighs and declarations by both that I was ‘pending’ – something which appeared to be a Very Bad Thing.
I had been handed a folder, I looked through it and discovered that it had glossy colour photographs of the office I was marooned in and a printout of a Powerpoint presentation about what they were supposed to be doing in this office for me. In the Key Words and Actions slide it did not say ‘pending’.
I was very much scone hunting this morning, as I like to do of a Wednesday, when I have to collect my social welfare payment at the post office. The post office is within a shopping centre, allowing you to take your pennies and spend them unwisely all around you. I stuck to my list, and bought my expensive bleach as per advice from Lilsister and Mammy, the toilet cleaning experts, who roared with laughter when I explained that my toilet was not sparkling, despite the semi-expensive bleach I have been using. ‘You cretin,’ they screeched, ‘spend the extra forty cents and watch the toilet clean ITSELF.’
Bleach in hand, I had a quick look at the deli counter and discovered that my sandwich-relating husband search needs to be more discerning in its locations. THIS particular deli was full of large haired ladies buying fish.
To the scone counter, where I was horrified to discover only fruit (I swore when I was a child I would never eat currants, and I am proud to say I stick to that) or – gasp! – BROWN ones!!! There were no huge white ones covered in icing sugar.
Cursing at this enforced dieting, I took a brown one and came home, covered it with jam on one side and butter on the other, and inhaled it greedily. It was sufficient, but not full of joy.
I feel a little empty.
Been at a computer training place to sign up for an expensive but practical course to make me more ’employable’ once they’re finished with me. There is a place that sells cakes downstairs so it’s a great location.
Course is fantastically expensive but not to worry, our welfare system does help some people in training courses so off I toddled to my shiny social welfare office with the fancy new name, to symbolise how all the welfare components are there for YOU, the unfortunate non-tax payer who shouldn’t be allowed to live because you’re not paying tax.
The upshot is that YES, you can apply for partial funding once you provide a letter of offer of employment.
No, I said, this is a TRAINING course, not a job.
Yes, they said, so as long as your employer provides a letter stating your role is dependent on you doing the course, we will pay towards it.
No, I said, the point of the TRAINING course is to train you to GET a job.
Once you have the job we will look at paying towards the course.
If I had a job I wouldn’t be on welfare asking for help with payment would I?
Is there anything else we can help you with?
Bought a scone and a ‘come on you can do it’ writing magazine afterwards.
Will get fat(ter) and poorer as writing magazine was not cheap.
Boxing class was horrific as always last night, but no suicidal thoughts during so that’s always good.
I am now heating up the oven to stick in the bloody courgette and peppers for roasting, so I can add them to my poxy cous cous leftover salad from yesterday, still seething with red onion, other crappy (ie healthy) vegetables, herbs, garlic and lemon. JESUS!!!!
I did note in the shower however that my bottom belly, which now has LINES on it from flopping about so much, appears to be getting smaller. No obvious improvement on my top belly, which I think would be referred to as a ‘muffin top’ on the mean streets of Dublin.
Operation fixthecrapthatismylife.com continues with a meeting today at a computer training college to hopefully do a course to enhance my aching computer skills, assuming I do not die of a heart attack when I hear about the fees. But I think a little confidence will be gained by doing the course as I am most rusty on anything except banking databases which are all different, and insanely outdated most of the time.
This will hopefully lead to fabulous work opportunities (as if such things exist in modern Ireland today – check our (doctored) employment figures anytime!) where I will receive the love and adoration of my alleged colleagues as they admire my toned and flattened Liney and Muffie bellies.
After that, who knows, the very stars!