Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Officially seeking work

Just a boat
I have at long last had to bite the bullet and become acquainted with our local Jobcentre Plus (JCP). Despite the fresh decoration and modernity of the surroundings, what a depressing, soulless place it is - I wouldn't change jobs with the people who work there for anything. Obviously they have to ensure that I am not a parasite upon the state and fulfil all the criteria for their assistance, but it is done in such a complicated and unhelpful way.

The adviser I talked to could neither type nor spell, and I had to dictate the word 'dietitian' very slowly, letter by letter. The job does not appear in their database, and so I am coded as looking for work primarily as a Healthcare Manager (Dietitian) and secondarily as an Occupational Hygienist (Dietitian Assistant), neither of which is remotely true. She had never come across the language 'Hebrew' before and I had to explain what it is, and how to spell it. I am not optimistic that I will receive any useful advice or assistance from JCP, but I might possibly get some money, which may go some way to making up for the experience of going there. Mr A says I should just talk to Smurf and work a few hours in the pub to make as much money as they will give me, but without the pain. I shall see if JCP can come up with anything useful that might help me first.

I wasted a morning on an application for a job that was withdrawn in the afternoon, but there have been another two since then, neither of them local. I have spent some meaningful and useful time exploring options for delivering 'Store Tours' at supermarkets on behalf of Coeliac UK. Patients with coeliac disease and members of their families can sign up to go round a supermarket with a dietitian, and talk about gluten-free shopping and healthy eating with coeliac disease. I can earn expenses while doing something useful, but it will no doubt play havoc with my interaction with JCP. It would probably take the entire duration of my jobseeker interview for that particular adviser to type the word 'coeliac'.

In the process of liaising with a dietetic department (in order to ensure that I have enough 'customers' for my store tours) I may be offered some unpaid work using Excel spreadsheets, which will keep me busy and give me some contact with the real world of dietetics, even if it may not increase my chances of getting an interview. Similarly, another piece of work I am doing is at the request of the university course manager, who is editing a book about choosing dietetics as a career, and I am writing the chapter about deciding where to study. My sister D has been working on my behalf as well, and I have been encouraged to take some further steps that are well outside my comfort zone of operation. It all helps if it leads to employment.

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