Monday, April 09, 2007

Street sweeping

Did I mention that I’ve been privatised? After signing on for 18 months, the Jobseeker is obliged to join a private agency. There one becomes a ‘client’. It is a comfort to the unemployed that even we are worth something to someone.

A peculiarity of these employment agencies is that they have NO jobs to offer. The client attends the agency simply to be motivated to find her or his own paid employment. If the ‘client’ succeeds in becoming gainfully employed and remains in that job for at least three months, the agency receives a series of payments from the government’s coffers. The sum is approximately £4,000.

There’s a temptation for persuasion to turn into pressure. This is a snippet of a conversation I had with my advisor keen to meet her targets.
Her: ‘I just need you to get a job you can do.’
Me: ‘Well, I suppose I could do street sweeping, but it doesn’t mean I want to.’
Her: ‘Why not?’
Me: (After a moment’s bemusement) ‘Because I don’t have the stamina.’
Soon followed by the thought: why the fuck am I talking about street sweeping?

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