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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

no fairy tales -stories from the unemployed

unemployed, with 4 stories -the guardian

As usual, the protesters’ signs tell the story – none more so than the one that says, “A job is a right. Capitalism doesn’t work.”
I don't want to be on benefits for the rest of my life'  Taylah-Nicole Douglas, 17, south London
I've been unemployed my whole life. I did one year at college, but I dropped out six months ago because I live on my own in a hostel, so I need to work. I wasn't making any money at college, EMA [Education Maintenance Allowance] wasn't enough, and things would have got a lot worse after it was cut. I was struggling, so I realised I had to find work.
The problem is, I can't find any. I've only got three or four GCSEs. So I apply for a job, they say they'll get back to me, and they almost never do. I've made 50 applications in six months, through Jobcentres, and on the internet. But I've only heard back from about five, saying: "Sorry, you haven't been successful." I haven't had any interviews. There was one for a chugging [street fundraising for charity] job, but it turned out it was on the other side of London, and so I would have spent more money on travel getting there and back than I would be earning.
I don't think I have any friends who have a full-time job. This year, half of my class – seven or eight of us – dropped out of college. I think one person out of eight now works in Topshop part-time. The Jobcentre say there's no jobs going. They say it's better for me to stay on benefits for the moment. And that makes me feel like rubbish. I want to work. I would work if I had the chance to. I do a lot of writing, so, ideally, I'd like to do something media-based. I don't want to be on benefits for the rest of my life.

 STORY 2. 'After rent I've only got £30 to live off for two weeks'

Ria Shaquan Dwyer, 17, south London

I started writing for a youth magazine called Live. I've also done some work experience on fashion shoots. But I really need more than just work experience – I need to be paid. I live alone in a hostel, which costs £55 every two weeks. I get benefits, but after I pay my rent, I've only got £30 to live off for two weeks.
I've never actually had a job. It's hard because I don't have any GCSEs. I'm going for anything, though. I've made uncountable applications – at least 200. But you never get an email, you never get a phonecall. It gets to the point where I think, I'm going to give up. But then I remember if I give up, I'm not actually going to get a job. So I keep on going.
Employers need to start taking on people who may not have the right qualifications, but can still do the job. Look at me: I can speak perfect English. I can read and write, but I didn't go to school. And because I don't have English and maths GCSEs, I'm labelled dumb. And actually, I'm not dumb.

'I'm moving back with my parents to help look after me'
Lizzie Polack, 23, York

I have spent most of the summer applying for jobs, mainly in admin because I have experience in that, having worked for my university accommodation office. I did a biology degree, and then a diplomacy masters degree, and I would like to go into international relations, but those kind of jobs require internships which I can't afford to do.
My idea was to do an admin job for a couple of years and save some cash, but the problem is when you apply for an admin job they all wonder why you're not applying for a politics job.
If I got a job where there was career progression I can see myself doing it for an extended period but it's just getting my foot on the block. At one interview, they said: 'You're obviously academic, why do you want this job?' It's frustrating when they say they don't think a job is good enough for you.
I'm moving back with my parents and they're going to help with looking after me, but I don't want to be a burden on them. I'm old enough to get a job and it's pathetic that I can't. I've never had any experience of working in  a bar or restaurant but when I move out of home I'm going to try and get anything I can. It's not what I was hoping for but any job is better than no job.

'The last time I had a proper job was five years ago'
Lydia Marmorstein, 24, north London

The last time I had a proper job was in June 2006, when I was a filing clerk for a chartered accountant. I suffer from chronic fatigue, so I only lasted a month before they fired me. My illness means I'm more tired than most people, and I'm in a lot of pain. As a result, I couldn't work straight through the day, and I had to take a lot of breaks. And so they asked me to leave.
Since then, I've been focusing on recovery. I've volunteered in charity shops, and tried sending off my CV to 30 different employers — but I've only had around two interviews. I've also just started a part-time course at Birkbeck.
I noticed that many jobs don't pay very much, but increasingly look for a lot in their employees. They might look for graduates, but not actually pay a graduate salary. They want people to be available all the time, to change shifts at short notice, and to come in at weekends and evenings. That's a tall order at £6-£7 an hour.
I worry because while there's all this unemployment, and it's rising, they're also trying to cut benefits. What are all these people, including me, going to live on if all these benefits keep going down? They're already pretty low, and they're already hard to live off.

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