“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country…” — Henry David Thoreau, Walden (1854)
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.” — ibid.
I attended my second appointment yesterday with my Work Program-pimp. I was reasonably satisfied with the way my first meeting had gone (you can read my account of that meeting HERE).
I had, I believe, successfully laid the groundwork for what I hope to be the outcome of my being assigned (unwillingly and under duress) to the Work Program: to be left alone.
I’m absolutely convinced that the whole thing is a scam and that the WP is no more likely to get me a decent job than my cat is.
So my priority is to avoid all the crap that the WP will try to lumber me with (all designed solely to increase the amount of money they hope to make off me)–the CV workshops, the interview workshops, the ‘enhanced’ job searches. the ‘confidence building’ workshops–and all the other worthless, soul-destroying bollocks that they’ll try to stick you in unless you nip it in the bud.
So, I went to this meeting with the attitude of a man who’s planning to make his way through a minefield.
After greeting me and inviting me to sit down, the first thing my advisor brought up was the Data Protection waiver that I’d refused to sign at the first meeting.
Had I reconsidered?
I had not; in fact, I told him, I feel more strongly than ever since I spoke to my union rep about the WP. Let me give you an example of why, I said.
I pointed to a phrase in the waiver that stated: “We may pass your data to our partners in the work program…“. That alone makes signing the waiver a non-starter, I told him.
I have no idea who your partners are or what their agenda is; they can decide to sell my data to a marketing company or a polling firm or some sales organisation and you’ll never know about it; more to the point, I’ll never know about it.
He looked resigned and nodded along.
I actually felt sorry for him; he’s not ‘evil’ or even ‘bad’. He’s simply a rather naive and gullible young man who’s probably really happy to have a job at all and is just trying to do his job to the best of his (somewhat limited) abilities. I’m sure that he actually believes all the happy, clappy bullshit that the pimps spout in their brochures and PR.
This is not a young man who’s given a great deal of thought to Marx’s theory of surplus labour/value.
Anyway, after he’d finished filling-in the various boxes on his computer screen, he tried again to turn me into a cash-cow (although I’m certain that’s not the way he sees it): would I like him to book me a CV workshop session?
Is it mandatory, I asked?
No, he said.
In that case, I’d rather concentrate on visiting potential job sites around the borough.
Did I have anywhere particular in mind? he asked.
I do, I said; I’m planning to visit a warehouse where I think they’re hiring.
His face brightened and he chirruped: I can book you into an ‘Interview Techniques’ workshop!
And what would be the point of that, I said: I think I know how to deal with an interview.
Oh, but the workshop can prepare you for ‘trick questions’, he said.
At this, I laughed out loud. Trick questions? For a minimum-wage packing job? It’s a warehouse, not the bloody C.I.A., I said.
At this, he had the good grace to look sheepish. Well, how about an enhanced ‘job search’, one-on-one session?
Look, I said; those are aimed at people who are unfamiliar with the internet, with browsers, with websites and with conducting searches. For me, it’d just be a waste of time. And that’s where we left it.
Next appointment in 4 weeks. The Cade Work Program Nullification Strategy® seems to be working a treat. 4 weeks between appointments? I reckon I’m already being cut loose and from now on, they’ll spend as little time as possible on me. Good.