Unemployment; an issue sadly I am having to deal with along with many others. Unemployment is on the rise we can only hope it gets better soon, but is there really any hope of that?
Where are you jobs!?
I search every day for jobs on a number of websites, first looking through all jobs then narrowing my search down to specific areas just in case I missed anything or the website didn't show it for some reason. Despite searching within a 30 mile radius of the city I live near half the time I get the phrase "There are 0 results from your search", especially on the job centre website. The job centre have told me nurmerous times to "widen my search", but as of yet I've found nothing wider than searching all jobs.
Any jobs that are available gain hundreds of applications, making the employers job much more difficult and I guess at times that may lead to certain CVs being ignored even though the person is qualified for the job and has a good CV.
But is the main problem simply the lack of jobs or is there more to it?
Ah, the good old job centre - there to help the unemployed get a job, right? I think someone needs to tell the staff that, although to be fair some places/staff are worse than others.
When you first sign on they don't appear to care much. You go to your local job centre every two weeks. Then after a few months they seem to get worried that you've yet to find a job so they ask you to come in weekly. Then a few months later they assume you've no hope and it's back to every fortnight and it really goes downhill from there.
Shortly after signing on you go to a group meeting where they claim to help you find work. They tell you everything you already know and throw in a few statistics that make no difference to anyone, although when I went they did manage to depress me by telling me it was really hard to find any jobs and your main hope was being in the right place at the right time. Where ever that might be.
Even now it baffles me how an earth they managed to make that meeting last well over an hour because by the end I realised that they hadn't actually given us that much information at all.
So what next? Keep signing on. To start with staff check through a booklet you must fill in to prove you are looking for work and they do a job search with you and print off any suitable jobs. But over time that gradually stops. They may glance at the booklet, but that's about it. You sign a piece of paper and get told when your money should be in the bank and when your next sign on date is.
Once I waited about 20 minutes only for a guy to push a piece of paper forwards to sign to prove I'd been that day then that was it. I was there less than 30 seconds. I didn't even get a hello.
Needless to say, I think the job centre needs to make a few changes.
The job centre isn't the only company out there who claim to help you find a job. Connexions is a main one, but they tend to deal more with people who have just left school.
There is also a company Avanta that run other companies of various names across a large section of England. They offer a work program to help you get work experience, which is a key part of being able to get a job as most employers are looking for previous work experience.
On the plus side they did get me on a work placement with a company and I now volunteer at the place since the work placement has ended. But do they help in any other way? The short answer is no. I spent the first few weeks at the work program job searching for 6 hours a day. Yes, 6 hours, Monday to Friday! On a Monday morning no site has updated the latest jobs and there's never any from over the weekend so that's one day wasted. Every other day even going through a weeks worth of jobs on 10 different sites you're done by 10.30 at latest.
They did a little bit on interviews and on CVs, but the staff had different ideas about how a CV should look so even that wasn't very helpful. They did allow you to go around town for a short while every so often to ask nearby companies about jobs, but in a town full of shops that's only useful for those wanting retail and 99% of the places were fully staffed.
One point up for trying to tackle unemployment, two points off for not only being unhelpful but keeping you 6 hours a day to sit infront of a computer unable to do anything else.
Previously unemployment was a problem, but when the Government changed more people could then get job seekers and since then unemployment has risen. People who may have been forced to go for any job before are now happy living with getting job seekers. Course, there are still many out there that do want a job and just can't get it and for them job seekers is a great help, but other than allowing more people to have money it seems they haven't done a lot to help.
Qualifications, work experience, qualifications, work experience:
What does it take to get a job? A very important question. Well it seems qualification and work experience are the two most important things to have, but how much does it take before employers consider you as suitable for a job?
Employers obviously want to know you're going to work hard, but to get work experience you need to get a job and, of course, for that you need work experience so it's difficult. There is the option to volunteer and this may mean you aren't getting experience in the area you want, but at least it is a start. However, the main option for most people is a charity shop and many often have enough, or sometimes too many people and won't take on any more. Volunteering can also cost you a lot in travel. Some charities pay you back for travel, but it's not always an option and the job centre refuse to pay you back. They will however pay your travel for so long if you get a paid job.
For any job you need to be qualified and that is where college comes in. When on job seekers you can get on certain courses free, but you are limited to what you can do and the amount of hours you are allowed to do. Anything is helpful to show you are willing to try, but you may find the perfect course for what you want to do is one you have to pay for.
I worked, I got good GCSE grades, I got some more work experience, I went to college, I got more work experience and now I'm at college again while volunteering to gain work experience, yet still I haven't been considered for an interview and I know I'd be able to do every job I applied for and it is clearly written that I could in my CV and covering letter. Am I missing something or is there just a large number of over qualified people who are getting the interviews instead?
I did a level 3 qualification then later got told I'd have been better off not going to college. The reason is apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships allow you to work, be paid and earn a qualification. Many are aimed at those between 16-19 and you generally aren't accepted if you have a level 3 qualification or higher as they are at level 2, which seems unfair to me. The Government is apparently trying to bring in more apprenticeships, but I haven't noticed any change.
Personally I think apprenticeships are a great idea and I'd happily go for that if I could, but currently there that's not possible and, as with jobs, usually only one person gets the apprenticeship which still leaves many people with no work.
I do have friends that after months and months of trying have finally managed to get a job, but each has had problems with the job centre and they have gone to college to get more skills. Others are just volunteering and looking for a paid job.
There are many people out there living on benefits, but there are also those like me and my friends who have tried or are trying to do what we can to get a job and are having no luck. Perhaps the job centre were right about one thing at that meeting, it is about being in the right place at the right time.
Is there more they could do to tackle unemployment? Definitely.
I think the job centre needs to do more and they certainly need to improve their website as searches aren't always related to what you've searched. I also think they should team up with colleges and offer some free short, part time courses for various areas (e.g. admin and retail) that give qualifications and run often so that everyone has a chance to gain a qualification and learn some skills, or at least get current courses ran more often and advertised through the job centre so that people are aware of them.
It would also be a good idea to not only run more apprenticeships, but offer it to more people. Or they could bring in a new type of apprenticeship so that people can gain a qualification that's recognised by employers, but the apprenticeship only lasts a few weeks or months rather than being a year or more. That way companies could take on more people doing an apprenticeship rather than having one person for a long time, which gives more people work experience and a qualification. If the job centre set it up or monitored it they could also see who was willing to work as anyone who wants a job would surely be happy to have an apprenticeship (so long as it's suitable. E.g. if you want to do admin you get an admin apprenticeship.). Places like the job centre and similar organisations could help find a suitable company for you too as often you have to find the company yourself.
There are possibly other ways as well to tackle unemployment, but even just doing some small improvements like having a site that shows you the jobs it should would be a good start. There is a lack of jobs and creating jobs may not be an option, but something needs to be done. Unemployment is rising and there are far too many people without jobs who are willing to work, but sometimes it's the little things that make a big difference.
Let's not mess about over this proposed housing benefit cap. It's clearly targeted at the poorest living in the most desirable areas of our inner cities and a form of gerrymandering, the movement of householders into other boroughs for political reasons to strengthen the vote of the sitting MP or government in power, or so the Tories hope. They were not happy they didn't win certain areas in London in the general election and this is their riposte. But, for the first time in history, some Tory MPs are nervous about a getting rid of whole chunk of poorer people from their mannors, people not being able to make their rents if this legislation come sin and so Tories actually forced to stick up for the unemployed and needy for once. Cameron will need a seriously smart piece of slight of hand to make this one work, the pathetic gesture of cutting child benefit equally poorly handled. You knew these austerity measures were really about the next election when he didn't cut the heating allowance for comfortably off old folks, 60% of the Tory vote.
I think its is fair to say that the grafting general public have been taken aback by the amount of housing benefit being paid out (around £50 billion per year) and the fact you could pretty much get any level of rent paid by the state if you were unemployed has come as a shock. I don't know anyone who has a £400 per week rent bill, let alone getting it free on the state at those levels. But, apparently, 82,000 people do and most are unemployed and living in London, which makes this Tory attack a real minefield as the majority of those families and people will almost certainly be newer arrivals. The Tories attack on the public service in London will also hit these communities hard, 60% of all black Londoners working in the public service, a vital area of employment for them and where they are treated fairly.
www.londonspovertyprofile.org.uk indicators topics ethnicitylowincomeandworkwantingworkbyethnicity
Whether the Tories meant it or not their Welfare and public service cuts are quickly going to be seen as racist in places like London, bumbling Boris Johnson's ethnic cleansing comment calculated and true. Thatcher pushed London's white working-class out to the suburbs in the 1980s and now the Tories are going to do the same to London's immigrant population, the empty suburbs filled by London's top hat affluent once again. And there are lots of wealthy people in London who want to pour into those areas, the directors of the top 100 UK company's seeing their salary rise a mind-boggling 55% in the last year alone!
Coupled with the rise of the government's housing cuts and so fewer places to put people, the National Housing Federation has warned that this will actually push up rents even more and so hundreds of thousands of people in the inner cities will be under pressure to move into areas also short of housing. Thatcher had no intention of building new council house stock in the 1980s and Blair failed to do much better in the late 90s, the reason why rents are so high in city centers.
Personally the housing benefit issue has not really affected me during my shortish periods of unemployment although my brother, who I live with, did use it for six months. It's very useful benefit if not exploited and saves people losing their houses in many cases. But it's very easy to get addicted to getting your rent paid free in expensive areas, your biggest bill by fa, and so locking people into those areas. In fact without housing benefit, core public and private industries would not be able to retain staff. You would have to make at least 75 grand a year to make £400 a week rents and there aren't many of those jobs going spare right now. But housing benefit also ties people down to certain areas, paradoxically increasing high unemployment in those areas, perhaps Cameron's real point. This tough move is more about a deterrent for five years from now than today, the housing benefit bill rising an incredible 50% in just ten years under Labor. It's clear its time to close that loop-hole where unemployed people can migrate to London and live in nice areas whilst others work and effectively subsides that lifestyle. Incredibly, one-in-nineteen Londoners are now asylum seekers, the city a magnet for this relentless traffic. Of the 600,000 asylum seekers that have come to Britain under New labor the unemployment rate in the ones given the right to work is nudging 70%, poor English skills and shame bought on to the women of the house if the try to work not conducive to high rates of employment in this group. This policy is not sustainable and action had to be taken. For once the Tories were right. Anyone that is working hard, whatever their nationality, and in receipt of some housing benefit should be left alone and respected that they are trying to graft and make ends meet. Anybody who is taking the piss should expect comeback.
Getting back to my experiences of unemployment they have mostly been my doing, unwilling to take crap jobs and always dreaming my charm will earn me a good job in interviews, hubris not the word. To be fair I have a 100% success rate at interviews when I'm going for jobs I'm skilled at and so pretty confident to always find work. As you know with my writing bullshit gets me a long way.lol. Only this week I secured next months employment, ironically fora job cutting council. Rather surprisingly only 6% of the total welfare spends is on Jobseekers Allowance, the only one I have claimed. Its somewhat ironic as although I am in a Tory constituency and they want to cut public services big time Tory Central office is giving those towns and cities that are blue more money so they dont have to cut as many of those jobs, saving the cuts for Labor cities.
The guilt starts when you start sending in application and CVs for jobs you don't really want but feel obliged to because you are in receipt of benefits. What's strange about this recession is middle-class people are actually contemplating signing-on, especially middle-aged professionals in the public service, the ones that have redundancy and unemployment credit and debit card insurance which means they have to sign on to get their mortgage paid for the first six months. When you do sign on you never see posh people in the job centre as they would rather die than mix with the proles here. Job Centers are very depressing places and all the motivation you need to find work quick. Only one-in-eleven jobs actually come from the job centre though. Well this time the well-healed may have to swallow their pride as it looks nasty next year. Take any job your offered guys! Physical work is always better for you than office work, out sourced cheap labor the way British companies are going now.
In Northampton, like any other town or city in England, times are tough and 80% of vacancies now come through employment agencies, the Thursday jobs edition of the Chronicle & Echo down to just five pages for a town of 240,000. Most of that temp work is industrial or basic admin and there are 150 applications and CVs for every decent full-time job advertised here. In the old days when I went backpacking for 6 months a year I would always find temp or full-time work in the winter and summer on my return to pay for the next trip but its all change now, most of the temp work done by Eastern Europeans, purely because of the pure volume of them chasing the temp work. They, like us, hate doing this type of work but there are more of them and the next one picks up the rifle to take their turn at picking crumbs of the biscuit line. I was not surprised to learn that 90% of new vacancies created under Labor went to foreign nationals.
I have enough writing work and cash in hand bits and bobs to pay my way through the summer but I do rely on favors to find winter work now. All of our remaining employment agencies (seven closing in the last year alone) know my face and I reckon I have done over 100 different jobs and bookings in my life time. I don't live extravagantly and so don't chase the nice things in life (even cuttign down on the beautiful women)and so can get by on the minimum wage. Better to be free than tied down by mortgages and a nagging wife and needy kids!
I have no issues over mass immigration from Eastern Europe to Northampton as these guys and girls want to graft and are putting some British workers to shame. I'm 100% for any immigrant group that wants to come here and do that, all this nonsense about taking our jobs never applicable in low skilled jobs, work every mans liberation. But I am negative towards immigrants who don't want to work here and I'm sure you know exactly who they are and don't need telling. Most of you are spitting feathers over it every time you open the tabloids but too scared to voice your opinion in fear of being called racist.
In the summer unemployment is ok as you can find things to do and places to chill. I remember as a kid when I first got fired how ashamed I was not working. But when you were in your teens you were paid slave wages for exactly that reason and it's still unclear why the minim wage for 16-year-olds is not the same as it is for 18-year-olds. But as you get older you grasp the nature of capitalism and realize from the day you start a new job they are already trying to get rid of you, productivity and divisions of labor far more important than your career chances. What you must do when you are fired is worry about the idea you could have stopped that happening. Like a marriage some jobs just get samey and you subconsciously want them to run out and you need pastures new, a good sacking often the route to a better job. Few have the bottle to give up a safe and secure ok job to chase the job they really want.
If your not dealing with unemployment well the get into a routine for the week. Rent your films on Monday and have a take away on Wednesday and sex on Fridays, with the lady in the takeaway if you need the discount. A nice fry up on Sunday morning also helps! Those Chinese girls are frisky! Ring your favorite telly in the TV mag early on in the week and take look forward to your chosen sport on Saturday. Don't watch day time TV or you will have given up and never work again, radio far cheaper on the eleccy bill. Cut n paste all your dooyoo stuff on to ciao as ciao are paying twice what dooyoo are and there are no guides here to get all the crowns (oh, you noticed) lol. Keep fit if your middle-aged because a good walk better than a rest and cakes from your comfort cupboard. It's the snacks in between the meals that makes you fat. But most importantly don't blame yourself for getting fired or being let go as that's the point of capitalism...getting more from less. The worst of it is the Tories are in and they are coming down hard on the long term unemployed and sick, forcing them to go for jobs they cant get or wont interview well for, with a threat of sanctions on benefits if you dont go. It would not suprise me if they are the Tories want to send people for jobs they cant deal with so they can enfoce those sanctions, the money saved from people signed off the austerity saving for that department, which protects those guys jobs and cuts..
THE FINE LINE BETWEEN BRAVE & STUPID
When my son was born in late September of last year, I resigned from my job, intending to spend some time with my young family before taking up a fresh career challenge in the New Year. My job was headed in a direction I didn't want to go in, I was bored, disengaged and far from being able to give it my best. In those circumstances, I thought it only fair to myself, my colleagues and the business to make a fresh start somewhere else.
Given that I was voluntarily leaving work into the teeth of the worst job market for a generation, some of my colleagues and friends thought I was mad, whilst others thought I was being extraordinarily brave. As I said my goodbyes and walked out the door on my last day, I suppose I felt a combination of both. That said, I had the substantial safety net of a fully paid-up six month notice period, and full confidence in what I honestly believed were a highly marketable set of skills that would prove irresistible to potential employers.
A GRIZZLY BEAR OF A MARKET
I started actively looking for work in mid-November, having thoroughly enjoyed the brilliant experience of spending six unhurried weeks with my newborn son. The idea was to blitz the job market, start work in January and effectively get "double-paid" for at least three months of the notice that had been paid to me by my previous employer. Things started promisingly enough as a number of interview opportunities presented themselves, but none of them panned out, and before I knew it, the holiday season was upon me, signalling a traditional two month lull in the recruitment market.
My confidence took a knock. The delay meant that, realistically, I would not be able to start work (assuming some successful late January interviews) until March. Although we had substantial savings that would ensure we could keep afloat when the notice money ran out, all of a sudden, things were not looking so bright - the decision to quit, on balance, was starting to look more mad than brave at this point.
In addition, what I had not appreciated was that I was in a buyers market where employers had the pick of the available talent and were taking their sweet time to make up their minds. Even interviews for interim roles - three to six month contracts - were being subjected to two or three intense interviews over a period of weeks rather than days, as companies, in the face of financial uncertainty, prevaricated over hiring anybody. So there I was, in what looked like a mess of my own making, facing the prospect of being unemployed for longer than I had ever been before, and trying to figure out what on earth to do about it.
STRUGGLING TO COPE
I have always been the main breadwinner in my family. My wife does not work and takes great pride in being a stay-at-home mum. We decided early on that we would gladly take the scenic route to achieve some of our life goals if it meant we could raise our kids without the need for childcare. That put added pressure on me to ensure I could provide, especially as we had now grown into a family of four. However, the decision to leave work was taken after much family discussion, and my wife completely supported my decision. We were in it together.
Strange then, that despite this support, despite leaving work voluntarily, I felt strangely emasculated. In order to keep busy, I was doing odd jobs around the house, helping with the kids and the housework, but always with one eye on the e-mail and telephone, waiting for the next opportunity to come through. Despite a laundry list of DIY projects to get through, I felt a strange lack of urgency in getting on with them, and instead, lived my life in a sort of limbo - on hold, with no real aim, goal or purpose - at least until I got a job offer. I could not motivate myself to do anything constructive. As the days passed into weeks, and the weeks into months, time seemed to fly by with nothing really to show for it. Occasionally, I would drag myself out of my dull torpor and get something done, but there was no plan, no strategy, and certainly no sense of purpose.
After taking the opportunity, in the first few weeks to undertake a thorough overhaul of our finances - critically evaluating and auditing everything from interest rates on bank accounts, our investment products, our energy suppliers, insurance companies and the like, I turned into a pretty good imitation of the Son of Scrooge. We simply stopped spending money, especially on big ticket items - to ensure that the cash I had been given would stretch as far as possible. At first, this seemed like common sense - in fact, we recouped around £500 in overpayments to various utilities providers, but after a while, it turned into the fear of spending anything - at all. In my overzealous quest to budget, scrimp and save and live below our means, I ended up forgetting about the "live" part.
As the opportunities alarmingly dried up, I toyed with the idea of a complete career change, but the options we discussed - opening a nursery, writing professionally, running an internet café - seemed unrealistic flights of fancy given the much superior earning potential of my legal career, as well as the many years of study and work I had invested to get to where I was. Occasionally, a call from an agent would spark some hope, only to hear that the potential job was a six month contract in Luxembourg, a three month stint in Milton Keynes, or in a branch of law entirely unfamiliar to me - it seems the recruitment agents I was working with were getting as desperate as I was.
That said, keeping in mind that I was effectively paid through to the end of March 2010, the pressure and sense of worry seemed - on the face of it - entirely artificial - we had the resources to tough it out for a year or longer if necessary. However, many friends and fellow professionals had warned me that being "out of the market" for more than six months would result in a significant professional handicap - even in the current economic climate, so even though there was no financial imperative to get back to work, the clock was still ticking.
It is no exaggeration to say that looking for work is, in of itself, a full time job. That holds even more true in a tough market. The rewards come to those who exercise and seize initiative, are willing to look hard and long for the opportunities, and are flexible and willing to adapt. Every morning, I spent a few hours trawling through company web sites on the internet, visiting job portals, scanning the professional trade press, tapping up contacts and doing my level best to try and sniff out the opportunities before others did. Good things may come to those who wait, but only what's left over by the people who got there first.
However, I was coming up against recruiters who knew they could take their time, knowing full well that the bird in the hand wasn't going anywhere, so they could afford to wait for the two in the bush. I found the whole process very frustrating, morale-sapping and depressing, but the only option was to persevere and work through it. In the end my stickability was well rewarded, as I was offered a position with a company I had interviewed with in early January, but whose selection process has lasted three months, five interviews and face to face chats with no less then eleven people. After the gruelling interview process, the bouts of self-doubt, impatience and hand-wringing angst, it was a blessed relief to be employed again. Ultimately I got what I wanted - a better job, better prospects and a genuinely exciting new challenge - but in retrospect, it would have been less stressful to look for work while still employed.
I appreciate my story is atypical and that I have been very lucky to find work in the current market. I still have friends who have been unemployed for the best part of a year. But regardless of why they are unemployed, the experience of being out of work is strikingly similar - uncertainty, anger, frustration, depression, self-doubt and a feeling of uselessness are all familiar bedfellows - especially amongst those with families. It helps if you have a good support system, but for me, the best advice is to try and push through it, believe in yourself, stay positive and persevere.
© Hishyeness 2010
Today is not a good day, I came home to hear that my partner who has been out of work since mid January of this year will soon have his unemployment benefits stopped. He doesn't receive a huge amount as it is but losing this vital income every fortnight is a potential disaster and has me worried about the future.
We don't live an extravagant lifestyle by anyone's standards, we eat well and have a comfortable home and like to have days out at weekends occassionally, other than that we don't splurge our hard earned cash or take risks. Now however with only my income to survive on even the smallest little treats and pleasures may have to go, thank god we don't have any children or other dependants to worry about.
I totally sympathise with my partner as I was made redundant 4 years ago and though I was only out of work for 6 weeks I found the experience soul destroying. Being told you're no longer wanted at work and then having to go through the torrid time of applying for endless jobs only to receive endless rejection letters for your troubles is enough to depress the most optimistic of people.
My partner has never been out of work for so long and we can only blame the credit crunch, up until the end of last year he had a steady well paid job and was very happy there. Now he fills his time when he's not scouring the job market and writing endless application letters, looking after our home and ensuring I have a clean flat to come home to and a hot meal on the table. I love him dearly for it and for his determination not to let this beat him.
Of course there are times we both feel dejected and fed up with it all, we're only human and of course it's bound to affect us but having each other keeps us sane and being able to talk about things openly only helps even more. We've been through worse situations in the past which have driven us to tears some days but we got through them in one piece eventually and I know deep down we'll get through this too.
We've been together 4 years almost and have never had a holiday together for longer than a weekend but that's not what's important. We love living together and despite our financial worries have never had a row, we have disagreements like all couples do but never anything heated, we have too much respect for each other to resort to behaviour of that sort.
I'm not a religious person but I find myself praying very occassionally that things will get better soon and that my partner will find a job. He deserves it and the peace of mind it will no doubt bring.
© Liz3yy 2009
It is so easy to become so disillusioned with so much when you're unemployed.
I've been unemployed for about 9 months now, having finished my Masters last year.
CONTEXT OF WRITING:
I know most people after finishing a period of study (I went on to do my Masters straight after my Bachelors - so was 7 years studying whilst juggling various part time jobs, of which I had to quit in May last year so I could complete my thesis research overseas), would be relishing the time out, kicking back, doing the liver some serious injustice at the pub and generally enjoying the freedom of not having to study as soon as you get home.
My experience was different. Having had a lot of financial problems during my masters degree (through no fault of my own) - I juggled my masters degree and three part time jobs. I managed to pay for everything I needed to, my fees which were over £10K and clear bills. Once I had finished my masters, I needed to start earning straight away for basic survival.
I went into auto-pilot, scouring Guardian jobs, various NGOs (My field is working with charities - particularly with women and children, securing and protecting their rights - through abuse and conditions of conflict and post conflict countries) and various organisations here. I sent out application after application, thinking that surely someone would want a recent postgraduate and would be willing to take me on....
Not the case.
THE FIRST SET OF JOB REJECTIONS
At first, I was convinced it was something that I was doing wrong. I went to see various people - the job centre wasn't one of them, but university careers advisors, my old tutor, a friend of mine who is a recruitment consultant, a few job agencies to ask them what was I doing wrong with my CV? I took along some sample personal statements too and was open to the fact that clearly I was over selling myself and sounding arrogant or underselling myself and appearing to be a meek and mild employee. The fact that I read my stuff and couldn't see anything wrong, convinced me I had bad judgment as clearly I wasn't seeing anything wrong with it and others clearly were.
I was reassured I wasn't - although I'm not sure how much this helped to be honest. My recruitment consultant friend tweaked my CV only slightly and read my personal statement, baffled as to why I wasn't at least getting to interview stage. I'm not blowing my own trumpet, but I knew what I was writing couldn't be THAT awful as so much time, thought...etc was going into them and I was getting other people to proof read them, not the friends that would just say yes it's fine because they don't want to hurt your feelings, the brutally honest friends who I knew would be give me constructive advice. To anyone else out there - definitely get your CV and personal statements checked over - so many places offer this as a free service - Guardian jobs have a CV checking service which I believe is free.
So, was the case of just ploughing on. I found my Masters degree definitely a plus in what I was applying for - the fact that people wanted that postgraduate degree meant one more tick in the essential criteria box. However, experience may be what I lack - having only three years of international experience and three years here, considering I'm only 26, I didn't think that was so bad. Clearly I'm wrong. So I guess I kept trying to weigh up how much energy and time (if any) I should put into the application if they're asking for 5 years and I only have 3. Some people still read it, others simply shred it.
On the lead up to Christmas, I managed to secure a temp job for a few weeks leading a drink drive campaign, which I really enjoyed. One thing about being unemployed is that you miss the daily interaction with people. I hate the fact that I had become a recluse. I did my job hunting from home and hardly saw people. I got to the stage where I didn't have enough money for a travel card into central London and only made those trips if I knew I had about 5 things to do at the same time otherwise I couldn't justify the cost of travel. It is an isolating and lonely world.
The other thing just having this temp job for a few weeks, also made me realise that when meeting up with friends, I had nothing to say. People always ask you how's work, and the response is usually that you're busy, talking about office politics, gossip, funny things that happened.... I felt like I had nothing to contribute. My day was in front of a PC scouring for a job, day in, day out.
New Year was awful. No job to go back to. Everyone is a little down anyway, post xmas blues but I found it so hard. Having already suffered with depression, it's so easy to fall back into that cycle of life being so meaningless...
I went through peaks and troughs... peaks where I would wake up one morning, be determined to find something and apply for it that day, determined to find something temporary. Troughs, the days where you feel so tired and sick of it all that you just can't summon the energy to write another application or even look. Your eyes are sore from searching and you really start to doubt your own capabilities and strengths. You find yourself reading something and dismissing it straight away thinking that you can't do that.
I hadn't applied for Job seekers. I must admit, this is my own pride getting in the way. Since 16, I've been independent financially and never asked my parents for money so just couldn't bring myself to go to the job centre. This is silly I know, as I've worked, and earned the right to have someone support me now while I find work. Not like I'm at home eating popcorn and watching DVD's. Yet, I couldn't bring myself to do it. I had these images of the centres being filled with Vicky Pollard's and sneering attitudes.
My 140th job application rejection was what did it. I only know it was 140 as my laptop ran out of memory and I had to start deleting files. I started going though my jobs folder and curiosity of how many I had applied for got the better of me. I wish I hadn't as that was pretty depressing.
(I use the word job rejection here loosely, what bites nowadays is that people can't even do you the courtesy anymore of actually saying "thanks for your application, but no thanks" - which actually makes you feel so little in the scheme of things. That someone can't even do you the courtesy of emailing you one line, so you don't have to wait in hope, that you're told straight up. Although, this has backfired too - where you assume you've been unsuccessful, apply to a handful of other jobs and then two months later, are called for an interview for a job you've forgotten about now as you assumed you hadn't got it. Then the person on the other end of the phone gets all huffy over the fact you can't remember... Maybe it is just me, but after 140 applications, I do forget...)
The 140th was for a job with the UN which I got and was told, two months later, had been pulled due to lack of funds.
I went to the job centre last week - and applied for job seekers. The process was a bit lengthy but as I've just started, I can't comment much on the service so far. It wasn't full of Vicky pollard's although I must admit, I found it weird, 16 year olds, myself, 40 year old professionals now been made redundant are all under the same roof. A real melting pot in that respect of people. (Advice to anyone else in that situation - there is a time and place to be proud, this isn't one of them. Use the service if you need to).
I've lost count of the amount of people that have told me "well it is the recession" - I know times are hard. But I was unemployed way before we were in the recession.
The other few things that I find hard are the organisations that advertise the job, knowing full well that they already have a person in mind. It's insulting. I've been for an interview where I was told to wait in the office and outside; my interviewer was telling the chosen candidate for the job that she just had to go through formal procedures (i.e. external interviews) and would start her induction tomorrow.
The final one is where three recruitment agencies have told me to take my Masters degree off my CV. As employers are less likely to employ me as I'd cost more and they think I'd jump ship as soon as a better job comes along. I understand this to an extent, but feel so sad, that I slaved away for two years studying and working, to be told that is has no value.
I still interpret on an adhoc basis for the NHS and Police which I love - but it is so adhoc, if everyone is healthy and are law abiding citizens, I don't get any work.
I'm still applying like crazy - I get days where I just don't want to get out of bed as I just feel so fed up. But I'm carrying on. I know a job wont land in my lap and I'm really grateful to friends who listen to be sound off each time.
Hang in there is all I can advise. Don't doubt yourself, what you are capable of and those skills and qualities you do have. It's just going to take time.
Unemployment is something that everyone dreads but unfortunately it has happened to most of us at some point in life, sometimes through our own fault and other times through the faults of others.
So having graduated last year I knew that getting a job was not going to be particularly easy. I had not secured a grad job, but I figured that there was still jobs out there would be interested in an ambitious graduate like myself. I soon came to the harsh reality of life and the current situation started to sink in that there are no jobs available. I had emailed maybe a hundred different firms, mainly accountant ones due to being an ACCA student, and also signed up to everyone job agency I could find. I wasn't even able to get an interview, which was probabaly the most depressing aspect of it all.
It seems to me that the only area there are any jobs in was Telesales and these were the only offers I got. Having worked in a call center a few years back for just a short period of time, I know that call centres are very bad places to work. Not only is the pay an absolute disgrace you get abuse from the other end of the phone. This is not a suprise though as if someone cold called my house I would put the phone down on them as well. I was prepared for this, but I figured that I would get slightly more satisfaction from being unemployed and put more effort into looking for jobs.
I finished uni at the end of June and was on a sort of honeymoon period for the first couple of months, with the olympics on and only once the olympics finished I realized that I needed a job. That is when the feeling of depression started to kick in. I had uni friends who were prospering in their jobs and earning high amounts of money and I was stuck on Jobseekers, which I will move onto in a moment. It is this feeling of depression that was keeping me going and applying for jobs, but there were times when I thought whats the point, and really don't know what I would have done.
Now I've mentioned the job center again and I will mention them again, cause I could go on for pages about what I think about the service that is provided. Why is it that I was made to feel like a criminal, and the enemployed are treated like scum as soon as they walk into that building? I was very polite to all the employees there and they were very rude back, but this is a normal thing as they are rude to everyone, as maybe there are some of them that feel higher up due to them having jobs. I take back what I said before, when I said depression is the worst part. The job center is definitely the worst part of being unemployed. The £47 a week they were providing at the time was better than nothing and defnitely kept me going, but I live at home with my parents. I remember recently watching a clip on the bbc site about a young girl who is living away from home and how she breaks down the £47 on what she spends each week. It is a very sad story and she is one of many out there who desperately want a job, but due to their luck they just can't secure one.
My advice to anyone out there is to just keep their head up and keep going, cause really there is nothing else you can do. Once you stop then you've given up and the harsh reality is that no one is going to offer you a job. I was lucky that my friend knew someone who needed an account and I was able to get an interview and secure the job, and I am very grateful to my friend who gave me this opportunity.
Eventually if theres any justice in this world an opportunity will pop up and even if it isnt fully what you want to do you need to grab it with both hands, at least until something better comes along. Keep yourself busy, by going to the gym as a healthy body means a healthy mind and at least you will better than you are improving your fitness rather than lying about at home doing nothing. If you are not getting any interviews, then maybe start doing another qualification to help yourself in the future or finds ways to improve your CV. Really it could be something small that is stopping you from securing employment and in the words of Alpacino all the inches add up and can make the difference between winning and losing....between living and dying.
Having been in temporary work for the last few months I am now unemployed again for the third time in the last year. At first I went into my usual panic about having no money and my parents thinking I'm a 'loser' (which they don't!) before realising I can turn this 'crisis' into an 'opportunity' to improve myself, my future job prospects and actually enjoy myself! Here are some tips for those of you unlucky enough to be unemployed during this so-called "recession":
1) Get out of bed at a reasonable hour, the same time each day. Sure, you don't need to get out of bed at the crack of dawn if you don't want to, but getting up at a good hour (for me it's 8.30) will give you more time to look for jobs and enjoy your day, and won't upset your body clock, so if you do get a job that requires an early start it won't feel like such an ordeal!
2) Get into a job-seeking routine. Start by finding out about all the jobseeking tools available to you and the ways you'd try to find a job, such as websites, newspapers that advertise jobs, the jobcentre etc, and make a list of these. Every day go through the list and treat each one as a task (or less frequently depending on the 'task') ticking them off as you complete them. This is mine for example:
*I check these websites daily, and send off CVs/fill in applications for appropriate jobs:
Jobcentre Plus website (search jobs in last 24 hours)
Gumtree jobs page
NHS website etc...
*Twice weekly I ring round all the agency's I've previously registered with to let them know I'm still available and see if they have any new work in.
*On Thursdays I get the Evening post which is very good for job vacancies.
*Once a week I get into smart clothes and go round my agencies again to see if they have work, and look around town for signs in shop windows etc with job vacancies.
*Once a week I check websites of organisations I'd like to work for to see if they have any vacancies, and also search the internet for any job fairs or events coming up.
If you get into a good routine you will be able to do your job searching more quickly and effectively. I spend about 2-3 hours a day on this now and have the rest of the day to enjoy.
3) Apply for Jobseekers Allowance and Housing benefit if you're entitled. I've done this for the first time recently (in the past I've been too proud or thought I wouldn't be unemployed for very long). It's much easier than I thought and the advisors at the Jobcentre are friendly and can offer extra support and tools to help you find a job. It can take a while for the money to come through but it is backdated to when you first made your claim (which you can do easily on the internet and they phone you back for more information). Apply as soon as you become unemployed, even if you get a job the following day it's still worth it just in case you're out of work for a while. Apparently JSA is going up to £64.50 a week for those who've paid NI in the past.
4) Look at training and grant opportunities. You can search these on the internet or find a local careers centre that can advise you. The Princes Trust is good for those under 25 (or sometimes 30).
5) Hone your interview skills and update your CV. I-resign.com has some good tools, or get a friend to help you bring your CV up to date and attractive to employers. Write up some possible interview questions and get your friend to practice them on you. There is sometimes a certain art to being interviewed, or even getting one, so the more you're prepared the better your chances of success. Also, apply for as many jobs as you can and get some interview practice this way. You may get interviewed 10 times before you find your ideal job, but by then you should be much more skilled at interview and more likely to get it.
6) Enjoy yourself and find a cheap hobby. Once you've done your job searching for the day don't need to feel guilty about enjoying yourself! Spend some time doing something (free or cheap) that you love, such as art, gardening, cooking, or just dancing around to music. Being active is important so go for a walk if the weather's nice and get some sun! Or borrow a fitness video from a friend (or buy from a charity shop) and get releasing those endorphins! It's easy to get depressed and demotivated when you're unemployed but keep active and try to stay positive and it'll make the whole experience a lot less traumatic and soul destroying! I've downloaded a free belly dancing workout video and am walking everywhere (as I now have time to), and am actually getting much fitter! I'm also cooking everything from scratch which saves me money as well as giving me a healthier diet. Just remember to keep your day varied - don't spend all day every day in front of the TV or looking at websites if you can help it.
7) Find freebies and be frugal! Set yourself a challenge to live on a certain amount (or nothing) a day, or find free things to enjoy. Most local libraries offer internet access for an hour or 2 a day for free if you don't have it at home. Art galleries and museums are often free and make an interesting change. Look on money saving websites such as Money Saving Expert for freebies and cheap deals. Offer to babysit for a friend in return for a meal. Join the Freecycle network and clear out your unwanted clutter, whilst getting something you need. Get a free trial for online DVDs and become a movie buff. Borrow books from your library. There are loads of free ways of enjoying life, you just need to find out about them!
8) Think positive. You didn't like your old job anyway? Needed a kick up the arse to leave it and find something better? You're catching up on much needed sleep? There are lots of positives to being unemployed if you have the right frame of mind.
9) Don't give up. You don't need to collapse into a mushy unemployable useless blob. Try and keep motivated (though its natural to have off days, just deal with them as best you can and move on). Don't let rejection or the fact you're not getting interviews get your confidence down. You're not the only person in this situation and with so many unemployed and so few jobs it may take a while but you will get a job in the end, and hopefully one you will love even more. Good luck, you can do it!
I am sure most of you will be surprised to learn that I have been involuntarily jobless now and again. And it will further astound you to find that some of my supervisors at various jobs have voted me "Not Useful". I know, it is shocking, those of you that know me probaly can't imagine my losing a job, as prim and proper as I am, but my employment history was pretty much a roundabout of hiring and firing for most of my life. My first firing was really bogus. My parents thought it would do me good to work at Cedar Point Amazement park for a summer. Now the word is out that the majority of Cedar Point employees are gay, it is the Mecca of gayity. But this was before they got all their Lithuanians and Romanians to work there and they had to hire local low lifes like myself. So this was my record low of seniority. I showed up to work and I was going to be a pizza maker, which was my trade at age 17. But they issued me a bunch of trousers with the pockets sewn shut. I was incapable of resolving this so I asked my manager if my pockets were sewn shut because they presumed I was a thief or if they suspected I was a chronic pocketpool player. The manager got defiant and I told her that there wasn't any bitches there hot enough to get me wound up and that they must of thought I was a thief. It was a hot day and my throat was parched from arguing so I took a drink straight from the tap of the pop fountain and that pretty much did it. I did get a cheque for like $4 in the mail from my service. My next firing wasn't from losing my temper but rather planned. I was working in a big chain "Self Service Shoe Mart" which basically was low quality shoes for lower quality people. It was fun to catch shoplifters and try to get with older women. I got in a fight with a customer who had made fun of me for working there. I said, "You are the one shopping here" Because we sold $10 plastic loafers from China. I wanted to punch
him in the head. I spent most my time repairing vacuum cleaners for people. We always busted up our sweeper and then we would have to fix it because we resented Smitty making us sweep everynight. People would come in and see us fixing our sweeper and ask us to fix theirs since nobody else in town did it. But what got me fired is the company founder would sometimes tour the stores and if he saw something in topstock that wasn't represented on the shelf he would throw fifty one dollar bills in the air and say, "You are throwing my money away" and then tell you to pick up the money and if you did not pick it all up he would fire you for stealing. I had discussed this with my dad and when the opportunity came I was fired for bodily assault on that fat bastard. I shoed him in the ass. I said, "Here's what quality footwear feels like" and I kicked him right in the ass with my dress shoes from the territorials. He fell on his face and was wheezing. I was like, "Call the cops Mutha F$%#a and I call the press and everyone can see how you treat your gentile help". I was glad to be done with that job. I was getting some bad fetishes from always dying the womens wedding shoes and taking returns from hot women. And I could have dealt with it had I been on the internet at the time but I had no reliable source of foot fetish porn at the time and I was getting messed up. Plus when you are a man, a combat veteran, and have to wear a smock to work. A smock, can you believe that? Sooner or later you are going to have to use violence on someone to redeem your dignity. It is interesting to find out how much more productive your life is when you are out of work. I was able to beat Super Mario Brothers 2 and improve my crossword ability when I was out on unemployment. It is hard on ones self esteem to be jobless all the time. It wasn't like I was ever redundant or downsized from any job. Quite the contrary I was generally dismissed wh
ile my firm was hiring. I got a job at a dirty bookstore in Toledo by the University and I got canned for ordering legitimate books to sell there, unfortunately we did not do like Borders and have a list of rankings for the best selling books and videos. I was pushing my first novel on people and the manager did not like it at all. It was a strange environment, see I had to completely unlearn my retailing expertise that I had learned so far. People at the dirty book store do not want friendly help, they want tact and discretion. I mean if they wanted a Nina Hartley movie or wanted to know if Christy Canyon ever did a MMF interracial scene I was there to help. I set up a $1500 Tandy 286 and a Dbase to categorize all of the porno films in the place. This was cutting edge. But I was in college at the time and I refused to exploit Dwarves or little people or whatever them little bastards want to be called and I got in a fight with the manager about it. Working at a dirty bookstore was cool. These porn babes would come in for appearences and stuff. I got arrested for pandering obscenity a couple times so I was glad to get fired. I had a job prepping cars for awhile. It sucked too. Then it turns out that some cars have speedos that when you peg them they break and freeze at 120 mph. Customers get real irate when they come over to pick up their new car and the speedo is busted while pegged out. I guess they don't like their cars pretested and checked out, kind of like jealous grooms who don't like to think about their wives being test driven by someone else. It is really hard for me to behave at work. Can you imagine how much tempting stuff there is for me at the railway? These people give me 7 million dollars worth of locomotives cranking out 12000 horses and 120 goods wagons weighing 16,000 tons stretching 7000 feet and don't ever think about the fact that I have been fired from almost every one of my prior jobs for horseplay
or stupidity? It is astounding if you think about it. I never do anything wrong at work though, I got a kid to support and need money so I can't fool around. I really only habitually break one rule on a regular basis and that is about excessive use of the whistle and bell. I like to wake people up and especially blow the horn when going past churches on Sunday mornings. Everyone laughs about it and calls me up and says, "Was that you?" I almost got fired from another pizza chain because I had this thing about putting a couple pieces of Pork Sausage on basically anybodies pizza who had a last name who I though needed it. Just a bit of notice to people, especially after September 11th. IF YOU CALL UP A PIZZA JOINT AND SAY "MAKA SURE THERE IS NO MEAT OF PIG ON IT", you are going to get "meat of Pig" on your pizza. I know it is mean but I think September 11th made it all ok. I explained it to my boss when he asked what I was doing by the make table and I told him. But he was a retard and told our DM about it and the guy flipped out and almost fired me. Unemployment is fun if you get unemployed with flair and pizazz. Everyone gets fired from a job sooner or later and it can't bother you. You just make up a new fake CV and hit the bricks and get a new job. I will write all sorts of advice on faking a CV one of these days. Love and Peace
After I did my A Levels I started looking for work. I wasn't sure if I was going to go to university, and if I was, it would be over a year until I started anyway so I had to get a job. My plans of travelling the world and having adventures didn't happen, mostly due to my financial situation. I moved out of my parent's house when I was 17 and was living with my boyfriend. He was not earning a lot of money in his job and I did not expect or want him to support me. But how hard could it be to get a job, I thought? * I had a good educational background * I was computer literate * I had previous work experience I did not expect to walk into a wonderful job, but I thought I could find something that paid better than the minimum wage and was slightly more interesting than shop or bar work. Was I wrong or what? I tried so hard to find a job. I went to the job centre at least twice a week and applied for any jobs that I liked the look if. I looked in all the local papers for job vacancies. I joined two employment agencies (with much difficulty as they mostly had their books full with university students on their summer break). For the first few weeks I was enthusiastic in my job searching, after all, I was young, fairly intelligent and willing to work, so I thought something would turn up. _____________________________________________ .....Two months passed....... Out of all the jobs I applied for, I actually only got 2 interviews, neither of which came to anything. It was very disheartening to spend money on stationary and stamps (whilst living off £42 a week) and to not even get a response. After a while, I got worn down. I was fed up of the routine of applying for jobs and getting nothing out of it. I wondered who was actually getting these jobs that I applied for. They must have been perfect geniuses or something! I eventually found a job in a local pub, which I hated and was very
bad for my health because it was so smoky and it affected my asthma. The men that drank in there were sleazy and had no respect for women. Apologies if any of the regulars read this, but you know it's true! I stuck it out for a while because I did not want to go back to being unemployed. After a few months working in the pub, I had had enough. My boyfriend overheard the landlady talking badly of me. That was the last straw. As I don't smoke, I never got breaks and as the youngest member of staff the other staff treated me like a skivvy. So one night (when they had a big party booked) I just didn't turn up and never went back again. I must admit that I did get a certain satisfaction out of knowing they would be struggling on a busy night (but maybe I am just an evil cow deep down!)Maybe I went about leaving in the wrong way, but I found myself unemployed again. I should not really have left it the way I did, because I could not sign on for jobseekers allowance (you can not sign on for 6 weeks if you voluntarily leave a job). So I was skint AND jobless. Over that winter I got really down. We did not have enough money to keep the heating on so I was freezing cold in the flat. I started sleeping a lot and getting up really late, then lazing around the house watching crap telly. I suppose I was the epitome of a lazy scrounger (apart from the fact that I was not receiving any benefits). This only lasted for a few months, as I went on a 12 week college course then went away for 5 months to work on a summer camp, and now I'm at uni (but those are all other stories..) I have experienced unemployment and it was one of the most depressing times of my life. I do not know how anybody could voluntarily choose to exist like that. But maybe if my only prospect in life was a dead end job, then the dole would be more appealing. After all, if the only option is a minimum wage job, a person is usually actually better off *
not* working as they get their rent paid, council tax benefit, and many services at reduced prices. That situation should definitely be rectified-it often seems in our society that it is the people who go out and work hard that are the ones who get hit hardest in the pocket. In a way I am glad that I was unemployed for a short time, because it has made me more determined to make something of my life and become qualified so I hopefully will not end up in that situation again. _____________________________________________ ** How to keep yourself from going insane ** I can not promise anything, after all in our world, a person is defined by their job and without a job many feel useless. But being unemployed does NOT have to mean a diet of daytime TV and cheap cider (although Trisha is addictive. Oh, and Neighbours..and Passport to the Sun! Ssshh!). I will give some tips here-not tips on how to find a job as I think we all know how to do that, but tips on what to do with all your free time. I know when my boyfriend would go out to work at 8 am, the sound of the door slamming made me feel really down as I knew I then had the whole day to occupy myself. * Staying in all day will just make you feel worse. Try to get out at least once a day. * Go to the local library. You can read daily newspapers and magazines for nothing, often use the internet for free, or just sit and read a book. Make the most of a great service. I used my library loads when I wasn't working. Use the internet to look for jobs, or just to look up information that you are interested in. * Find out if your council has any schemes for unemployed people. Birmingham city council does a Passport to Leisure for OAP'S, students and the unemployed. It costs £4 for a year and gets you 1/3 off swimming, the gym, sports and some theatres. * Do some sport, whether that is going for a walk or cycling (free!), swimming or
working out. Doing sport releases endomorphins, chemicals which make you feel better. * Set yourself some goals to achieve (other than getting a job!) When you are working, you will complain that you don't have time to do anything, so make the most of this opportunity. Read War and Peace, learn to cook Indian cuisine, practise Yoga, whatever floats your boat! This will give you something to get out of bed for and something to aim for. If you learn a new skill or develop an existing one, you will feel better about yourself and can enhance your CV. * Find out about adult education. Birmingham city council does thousands of subsidised adult education classes, from computer skills to life drawing to languages. Sign up for a course and you will meet other people and gain new skills. It may be best to go to evening classes, that way if you find a job you can continue to attend. * Do voluntary work. If you are on jobseekers allowance, voluntary work is encouraged as long as you are still available and willing to work if you find a job. Look in the phone book and there should be a volunteer's bureau. You can do all sorts of volunteering, from helping adults with basic skills, to assisting in a school, to providing entertainment in a day centre. Voluntary work will enhance your CV and make you feel worthwhile as you will be needed and appreciated in your role. It doesn't matter how much you do, whether it is one afternoon a week or 4 days as it is all appreciated. Just make sure you leave yourself enough time to look for jobs! Many voluntary placements pay you expenses, which may include things like travel and meals whilst you are working. You can also get a reference from it, and it looks a lot better on a CV than just giving the impression that you do nothing all day. * Ask at your job centre or career centre about any "back to work" schemes. In the January after the long winter I was
without work, I enrolled in a local college to do the Princes Trust 12 week scheme. I have written a full opinion on the Princes Trust, so go and read that if you are interested in what it entails! There are a number of different schemes aimed at helping people into work, which may be volunteer schemes, work placements or training. If you don't ask about them, you will not find out, so ask. _____________________________________________ ** Think about what you want ** Assess your circumstances. How have you ended up in the situation of being unemployed? Maybe you have been redundant, in which case you can not do much about that as the circumstances are out of your control. Maybe you do not have enough skills or qualifications to make you stand out from the other applications. You can use the opportunity and time you have now to think about taking your life in a new direction. There is a huge wealth of courses available now, and funding to help people become qualified. You may want to go to university or get a professional qualification, or work part time whilst studying. You could go travelling and take some "time out". Once you have found a good job you will not be able to do that, so try to see the positive sides of unemployment. You may just want to get back into work as quickly as possible, in which case just keep looking, but try to keep busy whilst you are looking. No matter what anyone says, looking for work is not a full time job! I hope some of my suggestions have been helpful. Remember, the majority of people will be or have been unemployed at some point. Although it is easy to get down about it, if you get too far down, it will take a lot to get you back UP again. Keep busy, see friends, redecorate your home (if you want!), and believe that you are worthwhile. Good luck!