A typical day begins when my alarm clock’s snooze facility has tired itself out and all the good intentions of waking up early have dropped down through the hole in my bedroom floor. If it’s a good day I might start with a run or an exercise video, so I can feel some sense of achievement. If not, it starts with a fry up, because I have all the time in the world to cook bacon and eggs and toast.
I try to organise my time efficiently, to plan lots of things to do each day, but I quickly realise that I need to space these things out to fill up the time. One job each day, surrounded by humming, breathing, walking, tv, radio, chats, snacks, it’s surprising how the days can fill up and I almost begin to wonder how I managed to fit a full time job into my life.
I spend a few hours updating my CV, before sending it out to the three recruitment agencies that are working hard to find me a job. Two emails come back with an out-of-office reply as my consultants are on holiday and the third has no reply at all. It no longer surprises me that I have been out of work for a month now.
I email one company to check that they received my online application. They did not. I apply again.
I need to do three job-seeking activities each week to qualify for my job-seekers allowance. I worry that if I do many more than this I might run out of activities within a couple of weeks. I wonder if the government will allow me to roll-over my activities should I run out of routes to take to find work. Sorry Mr Cameron-Clegg but I applied for 100 jobs within the last two weeks and now there are no more jobs for me to apply for, can I still have my allowance next week?
Every other Friday I have my sign-in meeting at the Job Centre. I chat with a consultant about what I have been doing to find work. It turns out that he is only working under a temporary contract and is actually competing with me for the same jobs that I am applying for. He says that he thinks the interview he had that morning went really well. I feel quiet outrage.
Today, however, I received my first payment from the Department for Work and Pensions. £66.67. I’m not entirely sure what this means, I have not yet received the letter informing me of my entitlement, nor have I been told at any of my meetings. I don’t know how long this is supposed to last me. I book myself a hair cut for the next morning and order a couple of new dresses online. There, that was a fun way to fill up some time.