Thursday 17 May 2012: The world is mostly good
(Sorry, peeps, it's an epic essay!) People are more good than bad, I believe. Today I have reason to be thankful for the honesty of the majority.
Firstly, I had an appointment this morning at the job centre plus, not to sign on, but to get advice about looking for a job. It's a condition of getting job seekers allowance, but last week when I signed on they told me I wasn't entitled to any benefits as I hadn't paid enough National Insurance. I had been thinking that if I wasn't entitled to anything there was no point in going through the merry dance letting them 'help' me find another job. However, in the end I decided I would keep the appointment just for the experience of it.
So yesterday I spent a long time on the phone listening to hold music, and how valuable my call that was in a queue was, but maybe I would like to ring at another time. But every time I got the same. I was trying to get to the bottom of how I might have not paid enough NI and whether for the sake of my future pension I needed to top up or fill any gaps.
Eventually got through to NI and nice man told me there was no problem and I was fully paid up, and definitely entitled to benefits but he was not the benefits office who I couldn't get through at all to.
So off to job centre this morning thought I would try there. Again I report that the staff were all very friendly, the atmosphere was pleasant, I spoke to several people there and all were very helpful. The advisor in no way was condescending and said he could see when I got out all of my papers from my nice yellow folder labelled "CV/Career" that there was pretty much nothing he could tell me, that I knew what I was doing and was unlikely to be out of work for long since my qualifications and strategy for finding work were sound. And also the things that he had on his system were not really appropriate, so he wouldn't insist on me seeing him every 2 weeks.
Also I told him that I believed I was entitled to benefits and showed him my proof of my NI contributions from my yellow folder. He went off with this to a colleague who sent an email and said someone would ring me within 3 hours on my mobile to sort it out.
So all fine, felt pretty pleased with the day so far. Very virtuous also as I had walked the 20 minute journey to get there and so had a nice stroll back. I passed LIDL and thought I would pop in see what they had on offer, get a few bits. Had a nice browse of their odd assembly of bargain items and while I was half way round my mob rang. I got a bit flustered knowing it would be the benefits people and thinking I didn't really want to conduct my business in the supermarket. Had to put my things down to get my phone out of bag. Anyway it turned out to be a quick call, very apologetic, they had made an error and I was entitled and my backdated money would be in my account tomorrow.
Well that was great, feeling very chuffed. Pottered around a bit more, put a few more things in my basket. Little chat with the lady on the check out (it was really empty), further stroll back home, cup of tea and a scone, bit of a nap. Then I thought I'd have a look at some of the other job websites that the chap had suggested that were on a piece of paper in my yellow folder that it turned out I couldn't find anywhere... and then I REMEMBERED putting it down on a pile of bags of compost when my phone rang. But I had no memory of picking it up again or of having it when I was walking back from LIDL with my two bags of shopping...
What a shock. I'd left a folder with my bank statements, NI number, proof of ID, signing on forms, pay slips, CV on a pile of bags of compost about 3 hours ago. I leapt in my car and went straight to the shop, straight to the compost bags in a vague hope that no-one had seen it. No chance. Then asked a security guard who started out being a bit officious and then switched into kind helpful mode. Then he and I went and asked the lady on the check out who I had spoken to earlier if anyone had handed anything in. NO! I asked if there was anyone else who might have it handed to them, and she said one of her colleagues might. So security guard found him and he said... "Oh yes, yellow folder, says CV on it? I put it out of the way safe". Phewwwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeee!
This thing about women multi-tasking is such a lie ;-) Actually I think it is early onset Alzheimer's.
The picture, BTW, is a brand new primary school that they have just removed the hoardings from that I took on my walk to the job centre. It looks really nice. No pupils yet, but it doesn't look far off being ready for intake. Not sure if they will wait until after the summer or if it is a replacement for another school close by and they will all move wholesale. Great playground facilities.
- via AndroBlip