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Unemployed Woes

Being unemployed is so fun, I don’t know why everyone doesn’t do it. There’s no job demanding my time. I’m able to just sit back and have fun on tax payers’ money. Said virtually no one ever, let me assure you.

Certainly, there are those out there who do work the system. They exploit what they can, so they don’t have to work. They almost make an art form of it, with Centrelink believing they live somewhere they don’t, they pay X amount of rent when they actually pay Z, they aren’t in a relationship when they are. They spend their money on drugs, and alcohol, and plead to their family for bread to feed their children.

Most people aren’t like that. Most people living off of Centrelink are out there, applying to every job they can. They’re forcing themselves to go to interviews to jobs that they don’t want, because it will be better than nothing. It would certainly be better than relying on a system that doesn’t care about you.

I’ve recently finished my study. This means that I have to make a transition from one Centrelink payment to another. I’m going from Austudy to Newstart. Just as I went from studying full time, to realising that I’m unemployed and virtually unemployable, I’m now having fun dealing with the monetary side of things that will allow me to keep myself under a roof, with enough food to live.

Barely anyone on Centrelink wishes to stay on it. I have many friends who have no choice, who are unable to work more than they do due to chronic illnesses. Most of those would much rather be able to exist on their own and cut out Centrelink entirely. If only it were an achievable option.

Going to work everyday can be easy compared to meeting the expectations of Centrelink. At least then your free time is actually free, and you don’t feel any guilt for spending your money on something fun, something truly for you. I know that right now I would certainly much rather have a job, or at least one waiting for me, than deal with Centrelink. At least if I had a job on the line, I’d know that I’m going to be paid sometime soon. Whereas I am currently sitting in a well of anxiousness with no idea if I’m even going to be able to pay my rent next time it’s due.

Centrelink is supposed to be a system that’s there to support those who are down on their luck. It should be there to lend strength to the weakest members of our society. As such, you’d expect that it would be easy enough for people to reach out and get help from them. If only.

My own tale is just one example of how hard it can be to deal with this system that doesn’t care about people. The fact that I have spent the past two weeks on edge and close to tears more often than not because of it. That I have another two weeks likely to be spent the same way.

Going from one payment to another should be simple. I already exist on their system. I’ve been on Newstart in the past. The only thing that has changed is that I am no longer studying, and instead looking for work.

Towards the end of my time studying, I had a “to do” task on Centrelink’s website. It wanted me to arrange a phone meeting, regarding my switch from Austudy to Newstart. Except, I wasn’t able to arrange the meeting. I tried, multiple times on multiple days, but it was only offering me two days for the phone meeting, and telling me that both those days were unavailable to have a meeting on.

I called up at 8am, to speak to someone. I have had issues in the past where if I try to call even a few minutes later, I will simply hear a busy signal, and not be able to get through at all. It has been a while since I have needed to call at all, perhaps they have fixed whatever issue was causing that. However, I prefer to err on the side of caution.

Over the phone, I managed to schedule an appointment for the next day, between 1 and 2. I spent most of that hour with my phone in hand, only leaving for a few minutes to hang my washing out, at 10 to 2. Naturally, that’s when they rang.

So, I rang Centrelink to try to make another appointment. I was told that the “to do” task I’d had wasn’t meant for me, that it was instead for people under the age of 22. The lady I spoke to this time told me that the phone call I’d missed would have informed me of that, and that instead of having a phone appointment, I merely needed to wait until my study finish date, then make a new claim for Newstart.

I did as much. This time, I had another phone appointment, which I made certain my phone never left my hand for the entire hour I waited for their call. It was short, simply making an in person appointment for me at my nearest office (after being convinced that an office nowhere near me was my nearest). The appointment wouldn’t be for another couple of weeks, and in that time I’d need to get a medical certificate (to prove my anxiety and depression to them) and a form because I’m now a sole trader trying to sell myself as a writer and editor (which is working so well that I’ve had one job in the past few months since I got my ABN).

I showed up to my appointment on time, with my forms in hand. I waited in a rather long line to see the person who was organising where everyone should go to wait for their appointments, or to help themselves at the self service stations.

When I finally got to see her, I was told that I didn’t have an appointment. She double checked with her team leader, who agreed that I didn’t have an appointment. They told me to go home and just upload the forms I had to hand in. I did so, though I was worried about not showing up for the appointment that I knew I’d had.

I missed a call from a private number while I was walking out of the Centrelink office. When I got another call from a private number yesterday, however, I barely gave it the chance to ring.

Hello, I’m ringing in regards to the appointment you had on Friday which you didn’t show up for.”

Can I see the future, to know that I was going to get such a call?

I was so miserable on Friday that I wasn’t able to write a review. The weekend didn’t help me feel much better. Even today, I’m feeling utterly miserable. I have another two weeks before my next appointment. My anxiety is convinced that something will go wrong. That I’ll be denied Centrelink. I have no money to my name until I get paid by them again. Any savings I had was spent on rent for the fortnight. On bills. I’m currently looking at two weeks of barely doing anything. Of existing on two minute noodles. I’m glad my cat has enough food to last the two weeks, or I don’t know what I would do with myself.

Anxiety is a horrible companion, and it only weighs heavier on me at the moment. I don’t know that I’ll be writing my Friday reviews for the forseeable future. Indeed right now it’s hard enough for me to get this written down, to explain why I can barely breathe, let alone write.

There are those who might exploit the system, and use Centrelink with no intention of ever getting a job. Those few are the reason the rest of us struggle to afford rent. To buy food.

The system is broken, and it’s not the only one. It’s a broken system that doesn’t care about those under its care, reliant on it in their moments of weakness. As a broken system it does its best to break those honest few who are reliant on it. It can be hard to realise the truth, to know that you are trying your hardest to look for a job, when people look down your noses at you, and the very system in place to help make this time easier for you is insistent on putting you down, on making you feel a drain on society.

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Blog Posts

Happy Halloween

There’s a cauldron with a cat’s face near my feet which is filled with many delicious sugary treats, and while I am happy to give it away to trick-or-treaters, I imagine that come tomorrow the only subtractions made from its insides will be when I crave something sweet.

I talked about Halloween in my first blog post on this site, and now it’s time to revisit the subject. Today I plan to talk about how things compare now to then, as well as give a brief overview of my October.

Unsurprisingly, given I only just started this whole thing up, I haven’t exactly had an influx of people demanding my editing services. Although even one little email might have been encouraging. I’ll get there one day, I’m sure. At least I have had the chance to further practise my editing skill with one of my assignments at uni. So far I’ve edited eight short manuscripts, with two left to do by Friday. Definitely getting there. Similarly, I have only a few edits left of my manuscript, and once that and my peer reviews have been handed in, I am officially done for the year.

I don’t know about you, but I am absolutely terrified to be leaving university. Of course, there’s still a part of me that’s worried that I might fail or otherwise not do as good as I might want to. Overall, however, I’m far more scared of what’s to come. I’m sure I mentioned before that I plan to move down to Melbourne eventually, where the publishing houses are… well, more. It’s not going to be an easy thing though. Which definitely sucks, because I’m actually really looking forward to being down there.

Moving is going to be hard. My whole life is up here, for starters. Not to mention, due to a certain four legged being covered in fur, and a bit of a hoarding mindset, I’m going to have to drive down. (The license is something I’m in the middle of working on. It will get there.) The move itself is going to be hard, but before that I’m going to need a job.

It is so hard to get a job today. It’s ridiculous. And getting a job that you can hold down? Don’t get me started. Recently, a friend of mine moved up from Sydney. Her area of work was in hospitals, but she didn’t really have an “in” up in Brisbane. Thankfully, I had that in for her. All I could really do was send through expressions of interest, passed on from someone who works in a hospital. But it was enough. She got an interview, and she got the job. That’s not exactly the end of her worries, however. She, and the vast majority of people she works with, are on 3 month contracts. Sooner or later, there’s a chance that her job might not be her job anymore, if she doesn’t get a permanent contract. Those aren’t exactly easy to get.

My friend was lucky that she had me. Sure, I have some friends down in Melbourne, but none of them are exactly in the position where they could help by sending me expressions of interest for jobs in my field. Or even any job, really. Which means that I’m going to be relying on Seek. Which is fine, I’m sure many people manage to get jobs through job sites. Or else the sites would no longer be active. Right? My biggest problem is that I might not get many places willing to do Skype interviews.

I’ve also recently had some fun determining how I’m going to continue getting Centrelink payments after uni is finished. To cut a long story short (perhaps I’ll get into the longer story one day) the Centrelink app was telling me to do something which it wouldn’t let me do, which apparently I didn’t need to do. Instead of sorting out to switch my payment over from Austudy to Newstart now, I simply have to wait until my Austudy expires, then make a claim for Newstart. At least hopefully that person was right, and I’m not going to have several weeks or months waiting for Centrelink to give me a payment.

So yeah, I’m not particularly confident about my future right now. But, for now, enough about me, and the void of uncertainty that I’m currently looking at. It’s my favourite holiday!

Not that I’m doing much for it. I have the aforementioned cauldron of sweets, should anyone appear at my door and utter the correct password. Otherwise, it has been and will continue to be, a relatively chill day for me. I have, however, seen some wonderful costumes today. There was an absolutely stunning Emily from Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride when I went to buy my sugary treats earlier. Worm coming out of her eye and everything. There was also a lovely zombie there. I even saw a witch at the News Agent when I topped up on sugary liquid (vanilla coke) to get me through the day. Okay, so not that many, but all the ones I’ve seen were absolutely wonderful. Not to mention, I saw a Ravenclaw, and any Harry Potter costume will always manage to bring a smile to my face.

Now, costumes and trick or treating aren’t the only things that I have been excited for this spooky season, as those of you who read my first blog will no doubt know. Halloween events have abounded. I definitely enjoyed the Overwatch event while it was up. (Okay, so it’s still up for now. Technically. It will be down sometime tonight though, I believe).

The Mystery at Hogwarts app event, however, hasn’t really been inspiring me. I was right when I thought there would be one. Of course there would be one. The problem, in my mind, however, is that there were so many of them. I feel as though I can barely continue with the story line itself, lately, due to how many events they have had. Instead, I spend all of my time on the game just in lessons, earning whatever I need to at the time in a desperate attempt to obtain all of the limited edition pets and skins that they have on offer.

This isn’t necessarily possible for someone who sleeps, goes to university, (I can only imagine how a job would intervene) and isn’t willing to shell out money for the in-game premium currency which refills energy. At the moment, I am also particularly annoyed at the app developers who put a bunch of people against a bunch of other people for a single limited edition item. I can certainly understand the idea behind it, don’t get me wrong. However, the annoying thing is that some people who particularly care are bound to be grouped up with people who don’t, or even people who are no longer playing the game.

Okay, so maybe I’m just salty that I’ve been screwed over twice. I even did end up using gems to refill my energy a couple of times to try to get the exclusive spider pet. I didn’t bother with the cool goth skin, however, not when there was one person in my group of Slytherins who hadn’t earned a single house pride point. I’m rather disappointed in some of my fellow Slytherins right now, not going to lie. Most of my disappointment, however, is reserved for the developers who seem to just be happy with the money they’re getting from people desperate to get all of the exclusive items.

There have been some other games I play which have had Halloween events. Sadly, however, I haven’t been playing many of those games. Mostly due to a combination of university assignments, and my determination to collect all of the event exclusives in Overwatch. (Achievement successfully unlocked, by the way.)

So, this has been an update on October from your friendly neighbourhood book addict. Coming up next is November. The lovely month of NaNo. I would imagine anyone who is likely to read my blogs in this coming month should expect a lot of exhausted posts about writing. Or perhaps a continuation of the random blogs of whatever passes my mind at the time. Hope everyone who reads this (and, well, everyone who doesn’t as well, I’m not going to discriminate) has a happy Halloween. A truly wonderful Samhain for those of you who celebrate it in the Northern Hemisphere. And for those who celebrate such things in the Southern Hemisphere, happy Beltane.