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To be scared to sign on?

(13 Posts)
Destinysdaughter Wed 05-Apr-17 20:16:02

Back story, had a good job working for a charity for 9 years, got made redundant, went abroad for 4 months then became an unofficial carer for my dad who had dementia. Not worked for a few years now and had moved from London to the Midlands where there are much fewer job opportunities. Have applied for jobs but with not much success and I think both my age (50) and my lack of recent work experience goes against me. However I have a real reluctance to sign on as I know how many hoops you have to jump through and how they treat you like shit, and I just can't face it. I'm also scared they will try to force me to do a job I don't want to do. I'm down to my last pennies now but just can't bring myself to do it. Been selling jewellery to survive and eating vegetarian food. I just have a huge mental block around it and feel a sense of shame and don't want to be considered a 'scrounger'

Please talk some sense into me!

StillDrivingMeBonkers Wed 05-Apr-17 20:20:03

They don't 'treat you like shit' at all actually. The one period I had to use them, they were immensely kind and helpful. They don't 'force' you into anything. There was no hoop jumping.

TBH with you, your attitude needs a bit of work to shift those misconceptions. If you're hungry enough you'll do any work offered to feed yourself and keep a roof over your head. JMHO.

AndHoldTheBun Wed 05-Apr-17 20:20:22

Sign on. You are not a scrounger but you do need some help- take it! You have EARNED that help/support, if you want to look at it that way, by being a carer to your DF smile

Destinysdaughter Wed 05-Apr-17 20:27:17

Wow almost diametrically opposed opinions, interesting... I am lucky enough to have a 'roof over my head', as I'm living in my family home, although it's a bit dilapidated. There's just not so many career opportunities where I am. I have signed on in the past so I do know what it's like but it feels like attitudes towards benefits claimants have hardened dramatically the last few years. It's more about how I feel about myself being in this position tbh.

HalfShellHero Wed 05-Apr-17 20:28:58

I empathise with you OP Ithe does appear that way but you are entitled remember that and dont tolerate any rudeness!

ComtesseDeSpair Wed 05-Apr-17 20:29:33

I know it's not popular to say so but I've had two periods of redundancy (one of them post-Tory cuts) in my working life and both times the Jobcentre have been nothing but polite and sympathetic. I had train fares to interviews in London (was living up North at the time) paid for me to the tune of hundreds of pounds.

Staff are demoralised and no doubt see a lot of pies takers on a daily basis which isn't going to help their attitudes towards people who might just be a bit lost but who they perceive to be shrinking. You are entitled to sign on and claim what's due to you - they won't force you to take completely unsuitable jobs, though you do have to be realistic and only decline to apply for stuff you can't do rather than anything you just don't really like the sound of.

ComtesseDeSpair Wed 05-Apr-17 20:32:42

That should read pisstakers - they might also take pies too though, I dunno.

HermioneJeanGranger Wed 05-Apr-17 20:34:41

If you're down to your last pennies, surely you take any job you can get?

CactusFred Wed 05-Apr-17 20:37:16

I'd put aside those conceptions and give it a go. There are some hoops yes, but if you're genuinely looking and are realistic then you'll be fine.

Sounds like you need the money and you're entitled to it!

BettyBaggins Wed 05-Apr-17 20:47:33

Bare in mind that some areas are now UTC (Universal Tax Credit) areas and if you are in one any job seekers benefits will now take 6 weeks to go through. Good luck with the job hunt, I have been in a very similar situation to you but just avoided signing on.

I sympathise with how you feel, it's not easy rejoining the work place after some time out, my new colleagues are old enough to be my DD!

ComtesseDeSpair Wed 05-Apr-17 21:09:56

Have you looked into support work or care work, OP? Just with recent experience of caring for your dad with dementia, it could well help you get a more senior position than those with no experience. I also mention it because of the way you've described living: does managing by selling jewellery and using up savings over a period of years mean you don't have any housing costs, hence wouldn't be as affected by the possibility of irregular hours which can be the case with that sort of work?

Gingernaut Wed 05-Apr-17 21:17:41

Whenever I've been unemployed, here in the West Midlands, I've not had much trouble at all.

Dress as you would for a smart casual job interview, be polite, explain why you haven't claimed benefits before, make the right sort of noises about being keen to find a job, show them proof of the jobs you've been looking for and they pretty much leave you alone.

You might want to take that chip off your shoulder as well.

edwinbear Wed 05-Apr-17 21:24:12

I've been signing on since being made redundant in September. I've found them to be nothing but polite, professional and helpful. The handful of times I have been really demoralised by my lack of success I've found my advisor to help me pull myself together. However, this is probably because he has been able to see the sheer volume of applications I've made (130), all carefully documented on the Universal Job Match thing. He can see I'm applying for things way out of my field and really doing anything I can to get back to work. This includes applying for jobs which mean an 80% pay cut from my previous role.

He wasn't so patient with the chap who went before me last Monday who clearly isn't that bothered about getting back to work at all.

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