Monday, September 30, 2013

300th POST!!! Where I speak of my day and job stuff

[First Off 300 Posts WOOOOO]

So today was a busy day for me well sort of at least 3 hours of fun walking up and down the mean streets of Clacton (just a clich├ęd phrase Clacton isn’t that mean it just has some problems) anyway it started with a trip to my local MP who I have found myself almost constantly having to go to in my dealings with Seetec. This time it was about a four week sanction for being sick and phoning in to Seetec which should have been fine but wasn’t. In case you didn’t know what SHOULD happen when a job seeker is on the Work Programme and is ill they should inform their Work Programme Provider who then has a statutory requirement to inform the job centre which then will sent out an absence form.

Well that did not happen it all fell over when Seetec were required to do something that didn’t lead directly to a payment so the process fell over resulting in a four week sanction. That is despite a written reason for my absence and an official appeal both sent to the DWP. It is things like this which drive me mad to be honest especially in the face of the current media storm calling the unemployed scroungers and these new Conservative plans. The government want us to play by all these rules heaped on rules but I get Seetec telling me they won’t help with the costs of attending interviews outside the local area despite my job seekers agreement requiring me to travel up to 90 minutes to find work. Next thing you know they will try sanctioning me for attending interviews in London, it is not as crazy as it sounds.

So last time I signed at the job centre for my JSA I got this notice that from next time (also known as today) I would be required to sign at Seetec instead of at my local jobcentre. Now the first thought might be that makes sense and streamlines things but I find myself worried by this. An interesting thing that happened at the signing ,which as far as I can tell is still done my a member of JSA staff, is that when I went to hand over my job evidence I was told that it would be unnecessary and that Seetec were now responsible totally for looking at my job seeking evidence.

What is the problem you ask? Well what Seetec consider a suitable job and what I consider a suitable job are very much polls apart. I have lost count of the times my advisor had said things like look at this 20 hour a week minimum wage job why don’t you apply for that? And I have to answer again and again that I would be losing even more money than I am now on JSA if I took that. Make no mistake people Seetec and other WPP (Work Programme Providers) are about getting you ANY job, so they don’t care that you are the potential main bread winner with a young family they will try their hardest to palm you off on a 10 hour a week cleaning job because “well it is a job and something else might come along”.

If Seetec can now decide what job evidence is valid or not and send out even more false doubts it is just another tool in the arsenal of intimidation, they could actually look at my evidence at a monthly review where I’m required to apply for at least 10 jobs with a general proviso to look for a local opportunity and say hey that admin job in Chelmsford, or that student support assistant job at Queen Mary Students’ Union in London doesn’t count because we told you, you’re not allowed to apply for jobs out of the local area. They try to do it now and I think after a recent incident where I barely managed to get my interview expenses back they are going to be trying to do it even more. Be warned, be concerned just remember in the end to be strong. 

Found this thanks to a retweet on my Twitter timeline I did not make it.
I just find it makes a lot of sense.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Seetec - Update On The Struggle

So an update to endless problems with Seetec/Work Programme. Last time I was trying to get help with attending an interview in London for a promising administration job, £43 is a lot to magic out of the air when you only get £71 a week. Seetec however were being incredibly obstinate and were using a variety of reasons like the Enterprise oscillating their shield frequency in an attempt to deny me help and indeed a chance at a job.

Their main go to is Seetec don’t pay for jobs outside the local area (my local area is one of the most deprived in the UK). Now I remember my induction and initial interviews with Seetec when I forced onto this useless WPP with a history of bullying me and at no point did they say, “hey we know times are tough and competition for jobs is crazy but we only want you to look for jobs locally” because if that would have happened I would have called bullshit and raised holy hell. Like with a lot of things that Seetec say they tend to fall apart when they get examined.

Anyway the upside of the story is that they finally paid back my travel expenses today which you might say yay but after arguing back and forth about it for over a week during the preparation for a very competitive job. This is what Seetec do to people working their hardest to find a job they put obstacle after obstacle in front of them. I can only hope that continually to fight them and to raise issues at the level of my MP and soon with my local job centre might result in someone actually taking notice of this. That is my hope it is more likely though that I will just be denounced as just one of these ‘scroungers’ which the government has successfully fooled the majority of the public into believing outnumber the honest hard working job seekers slowly drowning in a sea of debt.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Some Thoughts About Interviews

So things have settled down in the house of Shaft. Over the last few months even though it hasn't really ever felt like it I have been pretty lucky with getting job interviews but for those of us in the know getting the interview isn't even anywhere near half the job. If you ask my SEETEC advisor you can smile your way straight into a job and for some people with an easy smile and charisma (Han Solo people like that) but it is not that easy for the rest of us. I'm a serious person and I don't think that is something that should be a negative in the job market (unless you're a professional clown I suppose) but the only feedback that my SEETEC advisor is willing to offer is smile more and that I am too serious.

She says that I don't smile enough when I am at SEETEC and I can confirm that is true. Is it because the Work Programme is demeaning and that in the past while at SEETEC I was bullied by the manager and had no redress. That could be it, but then could it be because of that time when SEETEC tried to get me sanctioned (where the DWP withhold your Job Seekers Allowance because you failed to properly look for work) because I informed them I could not attend an appointment because I had got myself a job interview? Could it have been the many times where they refused to help with the cost of attending interviews which is in clear violation to the rules and regulations?

Really in the end who knows why I look so grumpy while attending appointments at SEETEC but that is beside the point as I like most sensible people try to put my best self forward at job interviews, due to that whole chance of them paying you money to work for them after the fact. For some reason which if you were to ask me I would say is down to the fact that the advisors have a very limited view of the job market and jobseekers and as I don't fit into that narrow band. I've gotten off topic this is about interviews which to me have always seemed a strange way of getting work.

In an interview you answer questions and it is all about how you come across to the perspective employer or their representatives. Fine in theory but taking a closer look is that really the best way to choose workers? In some feedback I have got back from prospective employers from administrative/receptionist roles is that they didn't think I came across as friendly, one even said that I did not seem enthused about working in an SU HE environment, they couldn't be more wrong in their assessment of me and that is the rub. On one side we are always told not to judge people by our preconceived notions but I can't help but feel judged by these interview panels as a non-traditional prospective employee. I have the experience I have the skills so when I read some of the feedback I can't help but laugh in that sort of way that contains no warmth or hope at all.

Anyway enough of this I need to go study for my next interview.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

FILM REVIEW: Blood The Last Vampire

Blood The Last Vampire is a 2009 Hong Kong remake of the popular 2000 anime. Directed by Chris Nahon and starring Gianna Jun and Allison Miller, it is described as action/horror/thriller which is pretty spot on. It was released on the 26 June 2009 in the UK.


A vampire named Saya, who is part of covert government agency that hunts and destroys demons in a post-WWII Japan, is inserted in a military school to discover which one of her classmates is a demon in disguise.


I remember Blood The Last Vampire it was a great film but shockingly short at 48 minutes. I figure it was worth checking this out as it would seem to be a fairly straightforward thing to turn this story into a live action, we’re not talking the latest Gundam or even DragonBall (because we all know how the latter went).


I was wondering what to expect, things like this can easily go wrong. I have watched the original Anime release but that was a long time ago so I don’t remember much about it but you certainly don’t need to have watched the original.

The pacing is pretty slow at the beginning with quite a lot of info-dumping going on but once that is out of the way things really get going and it shifts into high gear. There is a reasonably large cast of characters and there are a few other sub plots that tie into Saya’s story eventually.

Some people may be annoyed that the plot gets sidetracked by the General’s daughter and her contribution to the story. Her inclusion can be thought of as the Westernisation of the film to appeal more to those strange people for whom senseless violence and bloodshed is not enough to make a film. It works though it adds something to the story and in some way makes the whole Saya against the Horde slightly more believable.

So in closing I would definitely recommend this for the anime completists out there as a fun and action packed ride.

Great fight choreography
Fleshing out of the origin and background of the story (may or may not be canon?)

A copy of the original Blood The Last Vampire