Good Morning, Jobseekers
Another job centre course, this one a little less insufferable than ‘Jobseeker Mandatory Activity’ – no ‘motivational’ speaking here, but computers, newspapers and files and noticeboards full of jobs, which at least has the decency of recognising that evangelism is not a solution to unemployment. There is, however, one little catch. At the end of each weekly session the ‘jobseekers’ have to sign and pop in an envelope five ‘speculative letters’ to send to prospective employers. Naturally these are given directly to us to photocopy. There’s an object lesson here in how cynicism actually blinds you to the fast one being pulled on you. Everyone sits there, either loudly moaning, refusing to turn off their mobiles or (mostly, including me) staring at their shoes, and accordingly all seem to miss the significance of the following paragraph, although it gets explained to us in detail. The grammatical infelicity should be the least of our worries:
‘In these competitive times, any help available to obtain employment is most welcome. To this end, may I alert you to the Government’s work trial initiative which you may be interested to know, that if you have a vacancy available you may be able to offer me a trial period to confirm my suitability for the position on offer at no payroll cost to you.’
As a compulsory element of this course, then, everyone is offering to work for their dole. And nobody even seems to notice. I didn't, until I looked at it a few hours later. This isn’t really the fault of the staff (I got given a partly justified bollocking on the comments of my last post on these matters for having a go at those who have to do this for a living), who make it all pretty clear; but the result of how the allegedly savvy, smart cynicism of contemporary Londoners actually has the opposite effect to the one intended. Nobody’s listening, so nobody notices what's happening under their nose.