Rant! (beware, long blog entry)

I quit my work placement today.

I quit for a couple of reasons but the overriding one was the thought that I was taking the place of someone else. Someone that the supermarket could employ and not someone who needed to fulfil the requirements of some government scheme aimed at providing me with work experience, thus actually adding to the jobless totals rather than helping the jobless get back into work.

It had become obvious to me also that the supermarket was taking advantage of the current situation concerning jobless totals to cut their staffing costs and bring in unpaid labour to fill staffing gaps. I say ‘obvious to me’ because I did speak to the floor manager before I left and his view of it was, as you would expect, very different. He felt that his company were doing a good thing by offering unemployed people 4 weeks experience and that there are no obvious shortfalls in his current staffing levels. Let’s just say we agreed that we have different views on the matter.

So I left there around 9am this morning with a heavy heart really. I had enjoyed my short time there, I had met some wonderful people that had welcomed me and offered guidance. One or two were even shocked at the way I left because we were all getting on so well but my conscience got in the way and for my own peace of mind, I had to leave.

It makes you wonder how many jobs would be created if all these work experience sessions were cut. It was planned that I would do 37.5 hours a week for 4 weeks, there was another person on the same scheme doing the similar hours in the same supermarket. If that supermarket felt it could offer unpaid work for 75 hours a week, surely it could provide paid employment for an extra member of staff therefore taking at least one person off the jobless totals. How many more businesses are doing this when they might be able to offer paid employment instead? The only people to really benefit from this scheme when it concerns businesses are the business owners and shareholders because they are getting work done for nothing which they would otherwise have to pay for.

Enough ranting! I did mention I had a couple of reasons for quitting. The other is purely personal and something that some may find rather lame but I detest working on Saturdays! No employer has ever been able to pay me enough to work regular Saturdays. In this work placement I was required to work a full day on Saturdays. The simple thought of giving that time away for no reward at all did also get to me a bit.

I think my reason for not wanting to work on Saturdays goes back to my childhood, my father had to work Saturdays for many years in his job and I hated it! Our only time together as a family was on Sundays. I’ve no other reason for not wanting to work Saturdays but I never have and I hope I never will. In the past when I have had to work on the odd Saturday I’m uncooperative, unhelpful, belligerent and generally not the same person to work with as I am Monday to Friday. In the past if weekend work has been a part of a job, I’ve always chosen to work Sundays rather than Saturdays, work that out if you can!

After all this, I went back to my work advisor and hopefully he will smooth things over for me. We had a short discussion on what I could do next and hopefully I can complete my work experience at the Oxfam Bookshop which I volunteer at on an ad-hoc basis at the moment. I went into the Oxfam Bookshop and discussed it with the manager and she would be delighted if this could be sorted as it would suit everyone’s needs. Mine as I would feel far more comfortable working to raise funds for someone who actually needs the money. Oxfam Bookshop, Norwich, as they are always looking for volunteer staff and hopefully the government, as I would be fulfilling their need for me to do some work experience.

Then to top the day off, I’m heading back to the bus stop to come home and I get a call from an agency I registered with over a year ago. They have a vacancy they would like to put me forward for, they have my CV, is it current? (no, I emailed them a new one as soon as I got home) and would I be willing to work a long term contract if I was offered the position? (duh!).

So now I sit here after a whirlwind morning full of emotions and anger mixed with a certain amount of hope that things may be about to change for the better in my little bit of the world. I still feel very used by the supermarket and the government, I’ve made my little stand for the working man, I expect I’ll get punished for making that stand one way or another.

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  1. I’m sure you will get punished. I don’t think it was really a good idea to quit it. The placements are there for a reason and although it might not suit everyones needs, quitting again and again just shows that you aren’t employable.

  2. I hope the Agency are able to offer you long time employment, Trevor, and that your luck is turning…
    I’ve never registered for Unemployment, being lucky enough in the past to have another job to go to…BUT this was a few years ago, and the current high Unemployment figures makes this seem improbable now…Fingers crossed I never find myself in your position as I’d probably do the same. Surely unpaid Job experience is for those who have never worked in their lives? … xPenx

    • Pen, Unpaid work experience is supposedly ‘voluntary’ but as I have been unemployed for quite some time there is a certain amount of obligation on my part to ‘volunteer’. I guess it was my choice to choose this supermarket and gain experience in retail. I did have misgivings right from the start and on my first day I did talk to floor staff about how I felt that I was taking the place of a ‘real’ employee. The longer I was there the more I felt this to be the case until finally my conscience wouldn’t let me continue. In a way I wish I could have fought my conscience as I was really enjoying the experience.
      I hope you never find yourself unemployed as well, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

  3. I’m sorry to hear that, Trevor, and I too hope that the agency finds something for you. There is nothing worse than doing something that doesn’t feel right for you, and if you’d have stayed things probably would have got worse… hopefully the bookshop will work out better for you.

    • Thanks aquatom, at least at the bookshop I know I will be helping someone that will benefit from my time. It rankled me to think that the only beneficiary’s of my time at the supermarket would be shareholders and bankers who got us in this position in the first place. There was no job waiting at the end of it either, I had been told this from day 1, so I knew there was no gain for me in any of this.

  4. whoa. Trevor.

    i can’t find fault with your beliefs, but am worried about how you may get “punished”.

    i hold good thoughts for you and hope that the bookshop works out and that the agency is able to find you something. holding good thoughts for you Trevor…

    • I think my punishment, if any, would be financial. I’ll have to wait and see.

      Thanks for the good thoughts Bex

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