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moodygirl86

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About moodygirl86

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  1. Went for today's appointment and the coach was nearly 15 minutes late seeing me because she was in a meeting with her manager. I'd have known that without being told as she started nagging me again about using Jobmatch to record my jobsearch activity. She asked for my paper record which I gave her, then she asked me the question when she was halfway through. COACH: "Don't you use Universal Jobmatch to record this? You don't have to write it all down." ME: "Writing it down is the easiest way of helping me remember everything I've done, and apart from that the UJ diary has a character limit and it crashes and loses everything when I hit the return key." COACH: "That's fine but everybody has to record their jobsearch in their Jobmatch account. It's the way forward, as I've explained before." ME: "And as I've explained before, that's not what the regulations say. You can record your jobsearch however you choose, and this is the literature I was given at the start of the claim that says you can write it down on paper if you want to. It does say Jobmatch is the best way, but even this acknowledges it's not the only way." (I then showed her the bit I mean.) HER: "That's fine for now but it's checked by the District and it could look like you're not really jobhunting; and it means we can't get in touch to send you job alerts." (I call BS). ME: "If you've got a job you think I should go for, you can email me." HER: "Coaches can't send emails." (Well, coaches have sent me emails with jobs before so she's clearly telling a lie. ME: "Coaches have before." HER: "Was that on Jobseekers' or Universal Credit?" (What difference does that make?) ME (truthfully): "Both." HER: "It's discouraged." ME: "Yes, discouraged. Not forbidden." She backed down then, saying it was fine for now but the rules were going to change soon. I'm seeing her again next Monday so I'll ask for a manager if she starts up again. Mind you, it's obvious the manager she was with must have been giving her a hard time and telling her to be tougher on claimants. I phoned up the call centre when I got home to check she hasn't referred me for any unfair sanctions or put anything negative on my notes. The bloke I spoke to said he used to claim himself so he's familiar with the tactics they used, and he refused to allow access to Jobmatch for the same reason. He also assured me they can't legally have you sanctioned behind your back - there are no doubts on my claim and if there were, she would have had to tell me verbally when I was there, which is reassuring.
  2. I just forward my coach the automated confirmation email you get when you've applied, and I only do that if it's one they've matched me to (the only ones they actually check). I have to go to the library to use a printer so I can't really afford to print off half a rainforest. Technically you can give your jobsearch evidence verbally if you want to; it's just most of us don't because most people don't have that sort of photographic memory. What I find interesting about this Jobcentre is, all the members of staff I've spoken to have the Same. Robotic. Manner. When I was on the dole in Birmingham, no two members of DWP staff I met at that office were the same. You got nice ones, nasty ones, sympathetic ones and bored ones. Here, they all use the same technique of ignoring anything you've said that they don't want to hear. It's frustrating.
  3. I said that, and she said it was so she could see what my CV looked like. I actually had a paper copy on me, which she refused to read. I asked why an electronic version was more valid, and she couldn't answer that one; just said I could go and she'd see me when I next attend (Monday 28th). I'm fortunate to be quite naturally forthright and not easily bullied, but it just makes me so angry that they're lying to people who may or may not be aware of their rights. The fact she wouldn't accept the paper version is just proof that they only want to monitor and control you, and they're more interested in that than genuinely helping jobseekers. More to the point, the fact she ignored my experience tells me she doesn't want me to find long term work as then I'd be out of her clutches and it's one less person on the dole. They probably think if everyone found work, they'd be unemployed. Well, not my [edited] problem. Ain't that their attitude to us?
  4. Not to mention that if I really did fit the stereotype of some skiver who needs spying on 24/7, logically I also wouldn't bother neatly writing down what I had done in such vivid detail. The coaches at this JCP aren't very helpful either. I started a (short-lived) restaurant job earlier this week after attending an interview the JCP had told me to attend despite having no experience in that sector at all. It wasn't only the threat of having my UC stopped that made me attend, I also genuinely wanted to try it out to see if I liked it as it was something new. Unfortunately, despite the promise of training, they threw me in at the deep end and expected me to be able to serve customers at the till while simultaneously getting their life story from them, and still completing the transaction in under 10 seconds. (One of those trendy American restaurants where it's not enough to be polite and friendly to the customers, you also have to act like a cheerleader on acid). I couldn't seem to do anything right, and on Thursday I was let go as I wasn't quite the right fit. To be honest, I was mainly relieved as it was a very exhausting job, physically and mentally. All my previous experience is in call centres and offices, where I find it easier to stay calm under pressure because you're on the phone and at least if someone's rude to you, it's easier to fake being cool if they can't see you. So when I attended the Jobcentre on Friday, the coach I saw was reading the notes the contact centre had put on when making the appointment, including the explanation of why this job had ended. And what was the first thing she said? She's got a waitress job she wants me to apply for! FFS. I told her I wasn't refusing to apply, but I had no experience or aptitude for it, they require you to be an excellent multitasker (at which I'm mediocre) and if she keeps sending me for waitressing jobs, the same thing will happen. It might look good on her getting me into work quickly, but if it's a job I only last three days at, that's not very helpful to me, is it? I said "My experience mainly consists of admin, call centre-based customer service and sales; surely you must have jobs like that I can apply for?" She replied "OK, have you thought about being a barmaid?" I swear it went in one ear and out the other! They've also asked me to bring my login details for my Reed and CV Library accounts. They can go eat ****-flavoured cake.
  5. (BUMPING WITH AN UPDATE) I found work in February but the organisation made cutbacks so had to leave in September. I moved cities and am now signing on at a different Jobcentre. Every time I go there, I speak to someone different. They all lie to you and say your jobsearch *has* to be presented in your Jobsmatch account, but they do back off when you quote the bits from the Toolkit that contradict this. Not only that, but the "Your work search" section of the paperwork they give you when you first claim specifically says: Recording your job search You also need to keep a record of what you do each week, so you can discuss this when we meet. The best way to record what you've done is to write it down online or on Universal Jobsmatch (http://www.gov.uk/jobsearch). You can also use our "My work plan" template, or keep your records on paper or in a diary. So as per the underlined bits, even the literature given to claimants seems to acknowledge that it's optional to record your jobsearch on Jobsmatch, and that a paper based record is still perfectly acceptable. Do they think we're so stupid we haven't noticed that? But all it says is that Jobsmatch is the "best" way. Highly debatable of course, but "best" is still the operative word. What gets me is they have no shame about bull****ting you. I know if I was doing that to clients in a job - even if I was forced to do it by bosses - I'd at least have the grace to be very embarrassed indeed if the client caught me out in that lie. I think they're all robots at this particular JCP because they don't even disagree with you, they just carry on like you haven't spoken. I hope I never have to complain to a manager because I have a feeling it's the manager who's training them to come out with these scripted responses.
  6. Happy to help. Being unemployed and dealing with the red tape involved is no fun, but I hope it does help others to know they're not alone in dealing with it.
  7. Hey Workaholic! I'll try and answer your questions as best I can: Yes, it seems that under the UC system, you submit your claim online and Capita staff then ring you to arrange the meeting. This should be done within two working days of the claim being made. They told me to take a copy of my CV to the meeting, that's when she asked me to email it to her JCP email address. I've been asked to do this every time I've claimed in the last few years, and this also happened under JSA. That's not something that worries me personally, though I can see why many people wouldn't be happy to entrust a coach with this info! She said we would review it on next attendance. I don't know when that will be, but the copy I sent her was a JCP approved, scaled down version that one of her colleagues did a few years back - she can have that one and tie herself in knots working out how to tamper with it more than it's been and I do my own jobhunting with my own version that I like better and sells me better. Method to my madness. She just asked all the questions while drafting it up, so I don't think she was trying to trick me into agreeing to anything that could bite me later. It was only when the UJM access came up in conversation that things started getting uncomfortable! I don't think she's malicious in that sense (though I could be wrong); she's just not used to being challenged, especially not by those she sees as being of lower social status - ie, unemployed. But that's when I showed her the examples of how I'd record my jobsearch, which was when she acknowledged I had done a lot and it wouldn't be long before I got some work.
  8. Cheers Nystagmite, I'm sure it will! Even if I don't get that particular role, I've never been out of work for too long anyway so I feel fairly confident something will change soon.
  9. Thanks Theronstar. I saw her again yesterday as she's booked me onto this Seetec course for the next couple of weeks. It actually doesn't sound too bad - you get a guaranteed interview with RBS at the end of it, so not the punishment she was making it sound. She was lovely yesterday, saying I was obviously very proactive and it wouldn't be long before I found something; and she didn't even moan when I explained that I'd still be looking for work until RBS actually had interviewed me and made a definitive offer of employment. She even cancelled one of our meetings she had booked! I reckon she knows she's misjudged me and I won't get any more trouble.
  10. Exactly Mr P. If you or I got let go from a job for not being productive enough, that could affect our entitlement to benefits if we needed them. Yet she's admitting she can't be arsed to do her job? The hypocrisy burns. Funnily enough, she's not the first person in that JCP who I've heard complaining about having to do work while she's, you know, at work. Just this morning while waiting outside, the security guard inside was ****ing about on his mobile phone and didn't unlock the doors for us until 09:02. If I'd ended up not being seen due to lateness, I would have blamed him. One of the other claimants snapped him on his own phone and said he's going to report him to the security company, so I hope he gets spoken to. I'm not generally a fan of grassing people up for petty things like mobile use at work, but if it affects others, he needs to save it for his own time.
  11. UPDATE: Ha ha. Just got back home from the "interrogation". Think my new coach is going to be a bit of nice, bit of nasty depending on her mood. I shall have to see... My appointment was 09:05 so I made sure to arrive early. The building was still closed when I got there and this person was running late so one of her colleagues (who I've met before and was always OK with me) took all my ID and explained everything. When the woman I was meant to see arrived, she drafted up my Claimant Commitment and we discussed all my work experience, then she asked me to email her my CV. Which was fine, no problem there. She then arranged my next two meetings with her and explained that UC doesn't really do "signing on" in the old style way, you just need to attend whatever appointments they ask you to. OK so far but here's where things got slightly heated: She asked if I had a Universal Jobsmatch account, which I confirmed I do. As Theronstar warned me would happen, she said I would need to give her access. I politely explained that I did not wish to give access, but she could type in my email address into her system, which would confirm I had an account, and that I would always keep a written record of all employers I had contacted. HER: "Why wouldn't you want to give me access?" ME: "I didn't know I had to give a reason, to be honest. It's optional and I've chosen not to." HER: "Well I'm ASKING for a reason! Why not?" ME: "Because it's not secure for keeping your jobsearch on there. I don't want to risk a sanction if it crashed and lost all my jobsearch records, so I'm sticking with a paper record." HER: "Well how can I send you vacancies if you don't allow me access?" ME: "You can email them to me, that's what K (my old JSA advisor) used to do." HER: "Well I'M not K! MY name is T!" ME: "I know your name is T. That doesn't preclude you from sending emails now, does it? Does the system filter for T names or something?" HER (perhaps wisely ignoring my sarcasm): "It will make more work for me, and so will sifting through your paper records." ME: "Well not to be rude, but that's not really my issue. Your Toolkit specifically says in Chapter 3 that claimants cannot be mandated to give access, and that we can show our jobsearch records in whatever format we choose." HER: "Well you're right, it's not mandatory, but I still don't understand why...ANYWAY! (loud sigh). Moving on..." She rolled her eyes as though I was the thickest person she had ever met, but if she thinks she can shame me into doing what she wants, it won't work. I was actually struggling to keep a straight face and not giggle, as she was so petulant. She then put me on a four-day group session at JCP for next week and threatened me with Seetec, so I think I'm being punished for that one. Sadly for her though, I know the bloke who runs the JCP sessions and he's always really nice so I don't actually mind. All I have to do is turn up, listen to what he says (just explaining the rules) and chat with some of the other claimants, hopefully passing on this valuable knowledge if the opportunity arises. After that though, we moved on to discussing everything else, and she asked me what sort of work I want to do, what I'd done before, how I was going to find work. I explained all the things I'd been doing, and showed her my written record of what I had done so far. She did look grudgingly impressed and admitted, "You won't be unemployed for very long, then." She asked how long I spent jobsearching a day, and I explained that it took me a couple of hours to tailor every CV to each specific employer, so at least six hours, sometimes seven or eight. I'll see what happens with her. If she gets arsey again I'll just ask for another coach. Preferably K as he specifically said last time that he knew he could trust me to do an appropriate amount of jobsearch with minimal supervision.
  12. Hiya Nystagmite. That's right, it does. The request was made in a confirmation email by the Capita employee who phoned me on Thursday night to arrange the meeting. It looked like a standard one they send everyone, so I assume anyone arranging a UC claim is asked to provide these. What a cheek! I'll see what happens tomorrow, and at least I know I'm legally in the right on this. I think it's disgusting that they are relying on and exploiting people's lack of knowledge about the system. The good news is that since the economy tanked in 2008, most of the staff in my JCP have come to know me as I've been on and off the dole and most recognise that I genuinely look for work if unemployed and don't give me any ****. It's just they've arranged the meeting with someone I haven't met before (I don't recognise the name) and I have no way of knowing if she'll be reasonable or not, but hey. No good me assuming the worst before I've even spoken to her, so I'll trust her unless she gives me a reason not to. And I've been keeping a detailed log from day one of the claim even before I've been given any DWP booklets, so she will hopefully see that I'm quite low-maintenance and just take my ID and arrange the appointments without a quibble.
  13. Thanks, will do. I remember the bloke who didn't like the way I'd written out my jobsearch was making his threats about "taking action", which is when I took pleasure in telling him that wasn't true, according to the DWP's own toolkit (Chapter 3, Paragraph 82). The manager happened to be nearby and laughed "Blimey, she knows it better than we do!" Killed two birds with one stone, as the jobsworth realised I wasn't going to be pushed around, and so did his boss. To be fair, this particular bloke was a lot politer whenever he signed me on after that. Friends have asked me if I'm not concerned about being labelled a troublemaker if I seem too well informed about my rights, but I can't say that bothers me. It's very important that everyone knows their rights! The only people that will object to this are those who want to exploit you, and why would we want to bend over backwards to please them anyway?
  14. Frighteningly Big Brotherish. Thanks for your reply Honeybee. I'm also going to read up on the UC regs Theronstar has kindly posted. If I have to, I'll also argue that it's one of the conditions when you sign up not to share your login details, so that request is unreasonable. I'll look forward to hearing other people's experiences of this.
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