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megpie71

August 2017

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megpie71: Animated "tea" icon popular after London bombing. (Default)
Monday, February 6th, 2017 11:39 am
Just got off the phone with my JobActive provider, AtWork Australia.

On January 30th, I attended an appointment with them, where I advised the Employment Consultant I was going to be undertaking tertiary study, and provided them with a copy of my timetable. I have a rather long and spotty history with AtWork - I've been on their books while doing tertiary study before, and one of their more ... endearing traits was their tendency to book me appointments at the office I was registered with (about a 15 minute drive from home) either at times where I was actually supposed to be in a lecture or tutorial, or at times where in order to get from the university campus to their office to be on time for the appointment (a 30 minute drive in good traffic conditions at best) I would have needed to be able to teleport.

I had hoped by providing a copy of my timetable to the Employment Consultant at my appointment on the 30th, I would avoid this particular problem.

I checked my email this morning, and discovered I've been booked with another appointment with them in March - at a time where I'm supposed to be in a lecture at the university campus. So I've just got off the phone from pointing out to their call centre staff that during the periods where I have lectures and tutorials I AM UNAVAILABLE FOR APPOINTMENTS (surely this should be obvious?) as well as the hour either side of those times. Apparently this information hadn't been entered into their system (the fact I was doing classes was entered in, but the actual times of those classes weren't. I'd be disappointed, except the miracle is the classes were entered in at all).

This seems to be a regular feature of their Employment Consultants - they're able to see what's directly in front of them, but they're not able to think past this to what it implies (for example: if someone is doing study, they're not going to be able to attend appointments during the times they're supposed to be in classes; if someone is working, they're not going to be able to attend appointments during the times they're supposed to be at work; etc). I'm thinking the skill is a massive triumph of compartmentalisation, although this may be me winning awards for "Greatest Benefit of Doubt Given".

I'm now wondering whether this is going to result in a re-scheduling of the appointment which is booked for 10am on Monday 20th of March, or whether I'm going to have to sort it out with the local office at the time I go in to drop off my proof of job search.

(Apparently this is all part of the requirements of Mutual Obligation. I'm obliged to supply my brainpower to point out the obvious to their staff, and they're obliged to give me reasons to do so).
megpie71: Avon looking unimpressed, caption "Bite Me" (bite me)
Monday, February 22nd, 2016 05:24 pm
So, I've been unemployed for six months (according to Centrelink, anyway). Which means, lucky me, I'm due to start my "Work For The Dole Phase" of the whole glorious process of being unemployed in Australia in the 21st century.

For those not in the know, "work for the dole" was an idea conceived back in the era of John Howard, by Liberal Party policy-makers who wanted to bring back the workhouses, but who didn't fancy the idea of having to shell out money to feed, house and clothe the undeserving poor (i.e. anyone on an activity-tested Centrelink payment[1]). Basically, in order to impress on the long-term unemployed how important it is they find paying work, they're required to perform up to twenty-five hours a week of compulsory, unpaid[2] volunteer work in order to be able to continue receiving their dole payment. I suspect whoever came up with this one must have woken up in the night and hugged themselves with glee[3].

Luckily for me, I'm on a part-time activity test (mental illness, such fun). I only have to do sixteen hours a fortnight worth of whatever the current equivalent of picking oakum, washing bottles, pasting labels or sorting rags is. Normally, the requirement is for fifteen hours a week for someone my age, twenty-five for someone younger. In my case, I'm going to be transcribing old (hand-written) court records from turn-of-the-century-NSW (i.e. early 1900s). Years of translating my mother's appalling medical handwriting into something legible has finally come in useful.

Basically, this sort of thing is supposed to... well, I have no idea what it's supposed to do. Punish me for the sin of not being in employment, one presumes. I have the site induction on Thursday, I suppose I get to find out then whether I'm supposed to be wearing sackcloth and rubbing ashes into my hair to show repentance, flagellating myself with a cat-o'-nine-tails, or whether just walking around wearing a sandwich board that says "I'm SO FUCKING SORRY" will do.

Yes, I am a bit cranky about this.

I'm cranky about it, because it's a bit of deliberate humiliation on the part of a government which has an ideological agenda, and will do anything in its power to get that agenda implemented. I'm cranky about it because I'm being forced into performing unpaid labour in order to ensure wage earners are frightened into accepting lower wages and lower conditions in order to avoid being put into this situation. I'm cranky about it because the penalties for missing work, or not being able to perform whatever work I'm supposed to be doing on the day I'm supposed to be doing it, are all on me (yes, even if my erstwhile "employer" doesn't have enough work for me to be doing, or the computers are down, or the office gets hit by a meteor falling from the sky).

Oh, and I still have to keep looking for 20 jobs a month, same as before. That doesn't change, either. About the only positive thing to note about the whole mess is that since the place I'm going to be physically doing my Work for the Dole placement is the offices of my JobActive provider, I'll be able to drop off my monthly lists with a lot less carry-on.


[1] Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, Parenting Payment, and Special Benefit.
[2] If your "volunteering" is organised through your JobActive provider, you get an extra $20 per fortnight on your dole payment to cover costs incurred (transport, lunches etc). If it isn't, you don't. There's a LOT of encouragement to find your own "volunteer work".
[3] A bit of googling reveals it was the brain-child of Tony Abbott. I must remember to write him a thank-you note.
megpie71: Avon standing in front of Zen's dome, caption "Confirmed" (confirmed)
Thursday, February 4th, 2016 04:07 pm
This is going to be a regular thing, I think. These are the employers who have bothered to contact me to let me know I wasn't successful in obtaining work with them. I figure they're the polite sorts, so I want to give them a bit of free advertising to encourage this kind of behaviour a bit more widely.
  • Golden Egg Farms (egg suppliers)
  • Fleetcare (corporate/government fleet management & maintenance)
  • Practice Insight Pty Ltd (medical services)
  • Rockingham Psychology (psychological services)

If you have need of any of the services listed above, and you're in the Perth metro area, why not give those businesses a try?
megpie71: Denzel looking at Tifa with a sort of "Huh?" expression (Are you going to tell him?)
Sunday, January 10th, 2016 11:34 am
This is me summarising a certain amount of information from looking for work. One of the things I keep track of is whether a company gets back to me to let me know I've been unsuccessful in my application for a job at their firm (which, to me, seems  only polite), or indeed whether I get any acknowledgement of my application at all. So, the following firms are ones I've applied to in the past three months, which got back in touch with me (even if only via a very generic email) to let me know I'd been unsuccessful.
  • WFI / Insurance Australia Group - insurance
  • Choice One recruiters - personnel
  • Diametech Pty Ltd (trading as Autobahn Spearwood) - car parts and servicing
  • Designtec Commercial Furniture - Commercial furniture
  • Chellingworth (Osborne Park Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge) - car sales
  • Fantastic Furniture - home furniture (largely flat-packs)
  • AMP Services Ltd (AMP Capital Investors) - shopping centre administration
  • Beacon Lighting, Myaree - light fittings
  • Roleystone Real Estate - real estate services
  • Practice Insight Pty Ltd - software development
  • Rockingham Psychology - psychological services

All of the above-named firms have been polite enough to advise me I wasn't successful in my application, which I appreciate, since it takes a lot of the fuss and bother out of jobsearch to know one way or t'other. If you have need of any of the services they provide, you could probably do worse than visit these particular companies.

(To all the other employers I applied to and didn't get a job with: even a generic Seek email saying "sorry, not this time" would be enough to let me know. That you can't be bothered to do something as minor as that... well, it doesn't say much about your attitude toward people who aren't directly handing you money right this moment. I'm posting the names of the ones who do in order to encourage good behaviour.)

One of the other things I track is whether I got a receipt of some kind to let me know the resume I sent off has been received. Mostly, I use Seek.com.au, which provides one of these as a matter of course. Occasionally, however, I have to look elsewhere (sometimes there aren't enough recent jobs on Seek) and hope for the best. I prefer to get the little email of acknowledgement, since it lets me know I haven't just dropped my details into an informational black hole. The following firm does not provide them.
  • OpenRecruiting.com.au - recruiting/personnel

Indeed, OpenRecruiting.com.au purports to be a job board, but they won't let you see the jobs they have on offer unless you have signed up with them. I found a couple of jobs with them through jobsearch.gov.au, and applied via their linked online form (and really, the details of the jobs and the employers were minuscule - no employer name, no real details regarding the position etc) and didn't hear a single thing back. If you're looking for work, well, it's up to you, but I'd advise not bothering with them.
megpie71: Impossibility established early takes the sting out of the rest of the obstacles (Impossibility)
Wednesday, August 19th, 2015 07:23 am
TW: unemployment, suicidal thoughts, mental illness

So, Himself got the sack on Monday for being off sick too often (about four weeks over the course of about ten months), but more realistically he got the sack because his boss didn't want to keep employing another technical person now the boss's honeymoon is over. We are now back to the Centrelink/Job Nyetwork "Dance of the Deserving Poor", which is a variation on the Masochism Tango where you scourge yourself for the entertainment of public servants who aren't interested in watching.

I am, quite predictably, not reacting to this well. As in, I'm melting down all over the place. Have an appointment with my doctor today to get a medical certificate for the depression (which is flaring up to the point where I've spent most of the past two days defaulting to thinking very positive thoughts about going out and playing in the traffic) and I'll be hoping to be able to head back to the last Employment Services Provider I was seeing, since I got accustomed to their particular brand of useless and I figure they'd be able to dig the file out of storage.

I'd be happier, I think, if they'd just acknowledge it is literally less likely for me to get a job than it is for me to win Lotto (1 in 85 chance of winning something in lotto, if you buy a ticket; by contrast, I applied for over 100 jobs during the course of 2014 without so much as a preliminary interview resulting) and that the only reason I'm sending out the applications in the first place is because Centrelink demands it. Your tax dollars at work, making work for HR types and recruiting agencies.

I'm going to try and keep these whiny posts to a minimum, because I know people aren't really all that interested.
megpie71: AC Reno holding bomb, looking away from camera (about that raise)
Thursday, January 15th, 2015 06:47 pm
It appears one of the employment scammers I've written about is trying their tricks again. I got a whole heap of comments just today from people thanking me for putting up something warning about RLB Solution and their Hiring Coordinator, Anna Stern.

To be honest, I'm glad it's been helpful to other people - this was what I wrote the piece for in the first place. I wish it wasn't necessary (and if "Ms Stern" decides to stop attempting to exploit job seekers, that suits me just fine too), but I'm glad it helps.
megpie71: Vincent Valentine pointing Cerberus toward the camera (Bang)
Friday, October 10th, 2014 06:08 am
One of the unfortunate hazards for the modern job seeker is the presence of scammers in the job market. These are people who have the nerve to be sending out emails purporting to be job offers, but which are actually offers to open your bank account to these people for cleaning out. I've received a couple of these, and given I'm unemployed and don't have that many assets to start with, I tend to take it a bit personally. So here's how to spot a scam.

The first big hint is you're receiving a job offer out of the blue from a company you've never applied to. The two companies I've received out of the blue offers from are RLB Solution Company, and Constellation Travels. I know I've never applied to these companies, because I keep track of where I'm sending my applications (I'm required to in order to get unemployment benefit). Genuine employers wait for you to contact them. Genuine employers aren't trawling for employees, because employment in the current economy is a buyer's market - there are more people looking for work than there are jobs available.

(Yes, there is such a thing as the head-hunter, who is seeking to get people to move from one employer to another. The thing about head-hunters, though, is they're hunting up at the top end of the market, for people with highly specialised skill sets. They aren't looking around the bottom of the market for lowly Administrative Assistants and Sales Assistants).

The second big hint is when you receive a job offer with no other contact whatsoever. No interview, no preliminary contact, nothing except the job offer showing up in your email box.

A genuine employer will want to interview you. They're wanting to make you a part of their workforce, which means they're going to be looking for the signs of both psychological and literal bad breath or poor hygiene, or anything else which might make for problems in fitting you into their team. Scammers, on the other hand, are looking to find their victim and bleed them dry with the minimum amount of effort, and keep things as impersonal and distanced as possible along the way.

Third big hint is that the job appears to involve a lot of money for not very much work. One of the primary rules for avoiding scammers of all persuasions is this: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Again, the current economy is a buyer's market for employers. So they're not going to be offering you high wages to try and get you started in a low-skilled position. Instead, they're more likely to be low-balling you. A scammer, by contrast, wants to use your greed to hook you in and get you interested, so they're going to be offering lots of money for not much actual work.

Now, some little things which also contribute to the setting off of the "scam" flag. The first is the employer doesn't appear to be located in your country. Now, both of my out-of-the-blue offers ping this one good and hard. RLB Solution turns out to be a firm which appears to be based in Germany (so why are they looking to hire someone in Australia if they don't have an Australian office?). Constellation Travels is based in the Philippines, and also don't have an Australian office (although they say they're going to be opening one in September 2014... pity it's already October).

(If you aren't an actual, established business broker, why would a company be contacting you in order to set up a new office in a country they don't currently do business with? Again, see the "too good to be true" clause).

The second is the company doesn't appear to have a serious web presence. RLB Solution has a website which appears to consist of one page, in German, plus a PDF file (http://rlbsolution.com/vacansy%28eng%29.pdf) detailing the job they have open[1]. The job description is the only part of the site which is actually in English, and they don't offer an English-language translation.

Constellation Travels, by contrast, has a website which is all about offering bespoke Asian tours to rich customers, mostly in the USA and Europe. They don't have a careers page, and they don't appear to be recruiting. Also their news highlights stop at February 2011.

The third one is the people who are contacting you appear not to have a web presence either. Or rather, their web presence is rather insubstantial. For example, the person contacting me from RLB Solution purports to be Anna Stern, their Hiring Coordinator, Human Resources. Except... she isn't mentioned on their website. She doesn't appear to exist on LinkedIn. The nearest Facebook has for her is Anne Stern. The same goes for the person who's supposed to be contacting me from Constellation Travels, Adrian Forlan. He isn't mentioned on their website. He doesn't appear to exist on LinkedIn. He isn't available on Facebook.

What's even more interesting - neither of them appear to have an online presence anywhere else, either. I'm not on Facebook or LinkedIn myself, but I have a fairly wide-ranging history online.

None of these minor things are really key indicators on their own. It's the combination of all of them which sets my "scam" flag to snapping in the metaphorical breeze.

But of course, the real indicator is in the job descriptions, once you finally access them. If anyone is offering you money to "process online transactions" or "process transactions via Western Union", it's a pretty good warning they're not planning to actually give you money. They're planning to take all of yours. Most banks in most countries these days will deal quite successfully in currency exchange - it's not like it's a huge issue. So what would they need you for? Why would they need access to your bank account to "process transactions"?

They don't. The reason they need access to your bank account is so they can take all your money instead.

So, if any of you out there are getting emails from Anna Stern of rlbsolution.com, or Adrian Forlan of constellationtravels.com, offering jobs you can't remember applying for, just hit delete.


[1] Incidentally, this pings off another warning - the job offers payment in $NZ, not $AU. If they're not even offering payment in my currency, why do they need an Australian representative again?

Edited 06 FEB 2015 to add: I've done an updated post on RLB Solution. It's available at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/52222.html.
megpie71: Avon looking unimpressed, caption "Bite Me" (bite me)
Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 08:33 am
The Abbott government has decided they're going to back down on their proposals to get jobseekers to look for up to forty jobs per month (10 jobs per week, double the current maximum). This is being greeted with sighs of relief in some quarters, and in others by comments along the line of "drop the other shoe, why don't you?". I'm one of the latter.

I'm one of the latter because, as I mentioned on the ABC's comments on the article yesterday, I remember the sighs of relief which accompanied their late-April announcement they weren't going to be seeking a $5 co-payment for GP visits... which turned to shrieks of outrage when they brought in plans for a $7 co-payment for GP visits instead. Now, the word is they've taken this step on receipt of community feedback, but the strong impression is the majority of the feedback they're listening to is from the business community - and the business community basically screamed blue murder about it because it would have meant they'd be inundated with job applications from people who were essentially seeking to meet their weekly targets, whether or not they were eligible for the jobs in question.

So let's be clear on this: the Abbott Liberal Government has not given up on plans to punish the unemployed for being unemployed, and they have not given up on the notion of making all forms of welfare more onerous and unpleasant than they already are - they are neo-liberal ideologues to a man (and woman), and they strongly believe being poor is something which intrinsically deserves punishment. There's already talk of extending income management, and making it a compulsory requirement for receiving welfare - or in other words, your welfare payment will come on a specified card, rather than being deposited into your bank account; it will only be able to be spent on certain things, and you will only be able to buy these things in certain locations; and if you aren't on state housing, it's unlikely your landlord is going to accept it as payment for your rent. They haven't backed down on the six month waiting period for people under the age of thirty, and they certainly haven't backed down on the notion of extending work for the dole.

Quite frankly, I'm still waiting on them bringing back the notion of workhouses.
megpie71: Impossibility established early takes the sting out of the rest of the obstacles (Impossibility)
Monday, July 28th, 2014 08:43 pm
The latest bit of brilliance[1] on the part of our glorious[1] elected leaders is to continue doubling down on the unemployed. In the next edition of "the floggings will continue until unemployment decreases" thinking, there's a brilliant plan in the works to have the unemployed required to submit up to forty applications for jobs per month (ten applications per week), starting in July next year.

The current maximum rate is ten applications per fortnight, or one application per day.

On top of this, if you're between the ages of 18 and 30, you'll be required to sign up for 25 hours per week of work for the dole; if you're between 30 and 49, you'll be required to put in 15 hours a week; if you're over 50, you get to volunteer for it if you want to.

Have some references:

Unemployed to be forced to apply for 40 jobs a month as part of $5 billion dole overhaul

Industry concerned about Coalition's 40-job-applications-a month plan

Work for dole program to be expanded to include almost all jobseekers

Work For The Dole Doesn't Work And Never Has

Now, as I mentioned in my post of 25 JUN 2014, we're already seeing an increase in the experience required in order to get a job - it's gone up to an average of 2 - 5 years recent experience in role (or equivalent) since the budget in early May. I have a suspicion by July next year, we might be looking at a minimum of five to seven years recent experience in role to be considered. Or in other words "so much for working your way up the ranks".

The business community has already spoken up about this one, concerned they're going to be flooded with applications from people who are mainly concerned with getting together their numbers and meeting their targets. Already, employers have largely ceased replying to application letters unless you're a successfully short-listed candidate - a number of ads are saying explicitly that only short-listed candidates will be contacted. Or in other words, applying for these jobs is a bit like Don Marquis' lovely metaphor regarding publishing poetry in the US market - he compared that to dropping a rose petal into the Grand Canyon, and listening for the echo of it hitting bottom.

I find this depressing enough when I'm only required to apply for five jobs a fortnight.

One of the more interesting snarky suggestions on the Guardian's comments is sending regular applications and query letters to the offices of Liberal Party MPs and Senators. I'm strongly tempted, I must admit. Just write up a form letter, put together a brief database of names and addresses, and set the silly thing going on a weekly basis. I'd need fifteen candidates a week to bring me up to the level required for forty a month, and it'd be almost cathartic after another week of combing through jobs databases trying to find something suitable to apply for. Oh, and just think, they could bask in the warm glow of helping another Australian do their share of the "lifting" for the economy. What a pity I'm on the wrong side of the country to realistically send applications or query letters to Messrs Abbott, Hockey and Abetz[2].


[1] Yes, I'm being sarcastic.
[2] No, I'm not being sarcastic. I'd love to try out applying for a job in their offices anyway - and see how fast I get sacked for having left-wing political opinions. Maybe I could try a spin on the US Religious Right trick of suing them for discrimination, the same way anti-abortion types are trying to sue for the right to work in family planning organisations...
megpie71: AC Reno crouched over on the pavement, looking pained (about that danger money)
Wednesday, June 25th, 2014 10:00 am
There's a lot being said about what the detrimental effects of the government's proposed efforts to make young unemployed people "earn or learn" will be for the economy. I'd like to point out an effect it's having right now, before the legislation has even been passed (it was introduced to the House of Representatives this week).

In the last few weeks, I've been noticing an up-tick in the number of jobs which are effectively demanding applicants have between two and five years experience, minimum, in the position they're applying for. Or in other words, it's suddenly becoming a lot harder to break into the job market unless you have experience. It's also suddenly a lot harder to trade up within the job market.

Now, I'm theorising here, but I suspect this is due to an influx of CVs and applications from people who are under thirty, and who are desperate to get employed before the Budget legislation is passed through the Senate (because they have to work on the presumption it's going to be passed unaltered; pray for amendments, but plan for the full horror). Employers are getting flooded with applications for any job they offer, and as a result, they're tightening up their selection criteria. The first thing to go is the option to take on someone who might need a bit of training. The end result, of course, is experience criteria get tagged onto just about any job.

Problem is, a certain amount of labour market participation is a condition of getting Newstart allowance here in Australia. The general level is an expectation of putting in applications for ten jobs a fortnight (twenty a month). One of the lovely conditions being proposed for younger unemployed people (i.e. those thirty years old or younger) is a minimum of forty job applications a month, or ten a week, whether or not they're receiving a payment. Which means employers are going to be confronted by more people applying for jobs they definitely aren't qualified for, and will correspondingly tighten up the selection criteria even further, making it even harder for inexperienced job seekers to get into employment.

I would venture a guess Mr Abbott and Mr Hockey aren't expecting either of these results. I'd also venture a guess they don't particularly give a monkey's one way or t'other. They certainly don't seem to give a damn about all the job losses which are occurring (Mr Abbott said earlier this week he considered his government to be "the Australian worker's best friend", which argues either a thoroughly warped definition of friendship, or a possibly psychotic level of detachment from the consensus reality).

[Before anyone says anything about this: yes, I'm aware job ads tend to have criteria which are listing the ideal, and employers tend not to find their ideal employee anyway. Yes, I'm aware I should be applying for anything which seems to even vaguely fit my abilities and skills, and not worry about the experience criteria. But really, can anyone please explain to me how doing so is any different, at my end of the equation, to buying a lotto ticket every week?]
megpie71: AC Reno crouched over on the pavement, looking pained (bad day at work)
Sunday, December 1st, 2013 11:25 am

WestJobs



WestJobs are seriously pissing me off at this point. I mean, okay, they run screen scrapes on any number of jobs databases, and link those into the Australian Job Search site, which I'm contractually obliged to use as part of my job search due to my Employment Pathway Plan with my employment services provider. Fine. I can deal with that. I can even deal with their lovely little habit of putting as little information in the Aus Job Search site ad as possible, and then linking me to the actual job ad, so that I can maybe open a third page with the inevitable selection criteria on it (and then discover I'm not suited to the job).

But I'm really starting to get jack of them putting links to jobs in THEIR jobs database, and then dropping me straight to their main search page instead of actually taking me to a job ad.

Just NO. If I wanted to use the WestJobs search page, I'd use it. I have the wretched thing bookmarked in my browser, should I ever wind up sufficiently desperate to find something which fits on my job search list for the week. But I really DON'T appreciate being handed a job title, and a link to their search page as a fucking default. I particularly don't appreciate it when nine out of a possible sixteen links I'm looking at on the Aus Job Search site do this. It smacks of "toying with the unemployed for the fun of it".

Well, this particular member of the unemployed has reached the point where she figures she doesn't have much left to lose. So I'm snapping back. I've sent them a bad-tempered email via their "contact us" page, and hopefully they'll improve their game somewhat. Or stop doing that particular trick - I'd settle for the latter as a compromise. As I've said previously: I may have time on my hands. This doesn't mean I appreciate it being wasted for me.
megpie71: Impossibility established early takes the sting out of the rest of the obstacles (Impossibility)
Sunday, April 7th, 2013 08:38 am
So, just a bit of an update to let everyone who's interested (and anyone who's reading this) know where we're standing at present.

* Our car has just returned from having two CV joints and the muffler replaced (courtesy of Steve's parents, who heard about the problems and offered to pay for the work to be done by the mechanic they've been using for years).
* We have to be out of our current rental accommodation by Monday 15 APR 2013 at the absolute latest. We've asked about getting the lease extended by a week, but apparently the owners have contractors coming in to do things pretty much immediately after that, so we were turned down.
* We had an application in with a real estate agent to rent a 2-bedroom flatlet in Mandurah (Silver Sands area) at $200 per week. We heard back from them regarding whether our application has been successful yesterday - it hadn't.
* On Monday (08 APR 2013), we're heading down with Steve's parents to visit some friends of theirs who have access to some storage space in Yunderup. If it looks okay, we've then got somewhere to store all our excess furniture and goods.
* On Friday (12 APR 2013), we're getting a removalist to move our gear out of our current location in Parmelia. Current destination for us is the caravan at my parents place for a week or so, and then the downstairs rooms of Steve's parents place.
* We'll have to spend at least the week from 12 APR to 22 APR 2013 staying either in my parents' caravan, or in a motel room, because Steve's folks are expecting one of their sons and their grandson to visit for that week from NSW.
* The plan at present is that Steve's folks are planning to do a bit of a tour of various friends and rellies during the winter (sort of doing the grey nomad thing, only in a bit more comfort, from what I can tell) and they'll use us as house-sitters during the meanwhile.
* We're still both on the dole. Steve's looking for work. So am I, officially (although given I can only do about three days a week at most before the stress starts getting to me, unofficially I'm pretty damn certain I really should be looking into the various hoops I'd need to jump through for Disability Support Pension to see whether I'd be able to get it).
* I've wound up withdrawing from study (again!) because while I thought at the beginning of the semester that I'd be able to cope with everything, it turns out that I'm not. I would have had a major essay due about a week from now, and I really wasn't coping with keeping up with things for that, so rather than try and fail (which the uni tends to get a bit icky about) I decided to just withdraw. My withdrawal was after the HECS census date, so I'll still be paying for this attempt at the unit. To be deadly honest, I couldn't give a monkey's. With regard to paying off HECS, it's a case of first I need a job, then I need a job which is going to be paying me more than the HECS repayment threshold for three days a week, and then I'll start worrying about the size of the debt I have to pay off.
* In the meantime, we're in the process of packing things up, handing on the excess to the Salvos or the Sammies[1], and either selling or Freecycling the stuff which is in good enough nick to get rid of. If anyone in the Perth area has a whole heap of packing boxes they want to get rid of, we're on the lookout for them, since it's pretty clear we're not going to be able to fit our entire household into the boxes we have even after thinning things out. Contact me by email (megpie71 at yahoo dot com dot au) if you're able to offer 'em.
* Either way, from about 12 APR 2013 until we have a fixed abode again, don't expect to be hearing from me - 'net access is going to be patchy at best, I suspect. I have plans to drop in to the nearest Centrelink to wherever we wind up on Monday 15th and use their self-service facilities to make my fortnightly income report (because hey, they've got them handy), as well as bringing them up to date with either our new address, or the best available postal address for us.


[1] Good Samaritan Industries - a charity group which provides a lot of jobs for the intellectually less abled in the WA region. They do a lot of work reprocessing second hand clothing.
megpie71: Animated "tea" icon popular after London bombing. (Default)
Saturday, June 18th, 2011 12:33 pm
Meds: 6/7

Didn't take them yesterday, but then, yesterday was a crap day all round.

Jobsearch: 2/10

Okay, definitely falling down on this one. Managed it just fine on Monday, but then Tuesday I had my counselling appointment at PVS, and Wednesday I had an interview for a position offered by Hays. It was the interview which threw everything out the window. The interview turned out not to be for any actual position which might have paid wages. Instead, I was being interviewed for a position on the list of people Hays might be interested in actually finding jobs for - so the ad was effectively burley thrown into the water to attract the fish.

This made me angry. Very angry. Part of the reason I was so angry was because in order to attend an interview of about twenty minutes duration at 1pm (I'd originally asked for a 9am interview, but had to be rescheduled), I had to effectively put the entire day "on hold". I needed to dress up, put on decent "interview" quality clothes (of a quality which would be appropriate for the weather), catch a bus and a train into town, find their office and attend the interview, then repeat the entire process in reverse. All of which consumed resources, both monetary and psychological, that I didn't really have in large supply. I can accept this when there's a prospect of an actual paying job at the other end, because the job offers the chance of maybe getting at least some of the monetary resources returned to me. But to do all that for a "job" which never existed in the first place just strikes me as futile, and the whole process seems incredibly cruel. Add to this that I'm not really allowed to express my anger with the whole thing then and there (on penalty of finding myself unable to ever find work through this contracting firm) but instead had to effectively "suck it, swallow, and smile, bitch!" the whole way through...

I spent Thursday feeling irritable (for no particular reason), and yesterday I spent dealing with firstly an eruption of generalised anger at just about everything, then coping with the aftermath of this eruption (namely, feeling thoroughly depressed and hopeless). Today I'm still recovering.

Knitting: 7/7

I got slightly behind on this over Tuesday and Wednesday, but caught it all up on Thursday. Current length is 101cm, which means I'm about half way complete on this first half (1/4 of the way through the whole project). I've started reading my way through "Innocents Abroad" by Mark Twain (I have the Project Gutenberg ebook version) as a way of keeping myself going on the whole thing.

I've also set up a way of keeping track of what I've done so far - just a tick-off page for everything I need to do each day as a way of keeping up with my goals. It looks a bit like this (I've copied down the entries for the next few days)

p185 SUN 1 2 3 4 5 M
MON 1 2 3 4 5 M J J
TUE 1 2 3 4 5 M J J

The page number is a note of where I'm up to in the e-book. Then there's the day, the 5 rows (tick each one off as I complete it) and a note for the meds. On weekdays, there's the two jobs per day. At least this way I'll be able to keep track of things. Once classes start up again, I'll substitute in either lectures or tutorials for one of the job efforts (So Mondays will have "L J", as will Wednesdays, while Tuesdays will have "L T").
megpie71: Simplified Bishie Sephiroth says "Neat!" (Enthuse)
Saturday, June 4th, 2011 10:14 am
Okay, managed to take my meds seven of seven this week (even if yesterday's timing was massively off - didn't wind up taking the medication I'm supposed to swallow first thing in the morning until about dusk). But it's one week of full compliance, and that's a Good Thing, given what's preceded it.

So, achievement one: 7/7 for the meds.

Searching for work - well, yesterday was a weird one, because I wound up feeling bleargh when I woke up (delayed reaction to Tuesday, I think) and as a result I didn't wind up actually looking for anything myself. However, I did get a call from an employer regarding an interview for a position the Disability Employment Services people put me up for, so I counted that. Other than that mess, I've managed my two job search efforts per day for the rest of the week.

Achievement two: 9/10 for jobsearch.

The knitting now measures 75.5cm (which means I'm about a third of the way through it). I only missed the five rows per day yesterday, and that was mainly because, as mentioned previously, I was feeling bleargh and was putting everything off until later. I got quite a lot accomplished on Thursday (mainly because when I went to visit the Disability Employment Services people, I wound up having to wait nearly an hour for my appointment), and I didn't take it with me to the interview yesterday because I thought it would give the wrong impression.

Achievement three: 6/7 for knitting.

In other minor triumphs, I cooked up some macaroni cheese from scratch (and macaroni and cheese) last night, because I was feeling the need for some comfort food. Turned out quite good - I added all the trimmings, which for me means I chopped up some spring onions and threw them into the dish with the hot pasta, and I added some chopped bacon to the sauce mix along with the standard ingredients (which included seeded mustard). Turned out very nice, although I may have under-estimated the size of the dish required, because there was a certain amount of overflow which will need to be cleaned off the oven before I use it again.
megpie71: Animated "tea" icon popular after London bombing. (Default)
Sunday, February 13th, 2011 07:18 am
Well, I have a job again, for the first time since October 2008. I'm working for a call centre in Bunbury.

For those who don't live in WA, Bunbury is a big regional centre about two hours south of Perth. Since the suburb I live in is about half an hour south of Perth, I have an hour and a half commute every workday. Yay.

Good points: it's the same call centre Himself is working in, so we get to carpool (I tend to drive down, he drives home again); they pay me; I'm actually given a reason to get out of bed in the mornings.

Not-so-good points: Bunbury is a fair old way from home; I work Saturday through Wednesday, he works Monday through Friday, which means whoever is at home is without the car, because it's spending the day in a carpark in Bunbury; I have to get out of bed in the mornings (up at six to be out the door by eight-thirty to be ready to work by ten-thirty - so arriving at work by about ten-fifteen at the latest).

At present, it's just a six week contract. If I wind up having a job after the end of six weeks, we may start looking at moving down to Bunbury (or at least as far as Mandurah, the half-way point between Perth and Bunbury) in order to cut commute times and make things a bit more civilised in terms of shopping arrangements. At present, I'm looking at switching my one unit of university study over to external study (because there is no way known to mankind I'm going to be able to be attending lectures in Murdoch and working in Bunbury simultaneously) and seeing whether I can keep up external study while working. I figure it'll be one way of making a difference in my day.

But yeah. Working. Wow.
megpie71: 9th Doctor resting head against TARDIS with repeated *thunk* text (frustration)
Thursday, November 26th, 2009 05:14 pm
There are days when I want to kill my partner. This is one of them.

As some of you may be aware, we're under a few deadlines at the moment. For one thing, we have roughly 1 week left in our current place of residence. For another, while we've put in an option on a rental place, we haven't heard back from them yet (except for a quick call yesterday which didn't make me feel positive at all, since they were saying firstly they hadn't heard back from our one and only rental reference, and secondly they wanted whole heaps of information about what Himself does for a living). So while we do know we have to move out, we don't know whether we have somewhere else to move into at the other end of it. Stress number one.

Stress number two: The real estate agent who is attempting to sell the place has one offer, for about $110K less than we need to clear all our existing debts. We discovered today there's a potential second buyer (I discovered this when I spotted him peering in our front windows, under the impression the house was empty). Rather than refer the man to the real estate agents, Himself has decided to try and sell the place privately, and thus save the fees and commissions.

I've already warned Himself if this backfires, and we lose both buyers, he's going to be hearing about it from me on possibly a daily basis for the next twenty years at least. Other than this, I'm staying the hells out - I don't have the energy, or the stamina, to get involved in arguing with him.

Stress number three: I went for a job interview last week. I still haven't heard back from the company involved, and I'm suspecting I'll get the usual answer when I do (ie "Sorry, not interested"). So I'm busy waiting back to hear from the recruiting firm, who'll probably give me some kind of vague answer along the lines of "oh, they didn't say" rather than the truth of the matter, which is probably along the lines of me being too old, too female, and/or too fat for the job (it's a helpdesk operator position - by "too fat" they mean "not pretty enough", or "not suitable office totty". Women are under-represented in the IT industry for some reason, and none of the guys can figure out quite why...). So I have this inevitable disclosure to look forward to.

Stress number four: Himself's parents have made an offer to us of the use of a couple of rooms in their house should we find ourselves without somewhere to go. It's starting to look like we might have to take them up on this. I don't want to do this, since at present I'm stressed enough without having to wear my "public" face all the damn time.

Stress number five: I'm unemployed. Christmas is coming up. 'Nuff said?

Stress number six: Day one of my period, and I have cramps and a temper like a bear with toothache.

End result: while I'm sure my situation has a whole heap of positives in there (as per my nice rep from Commonwealth Rehab Services) I can't really see them at the moment. All I can see is the potential for things to go very badly wrong. This doesn't make me any more likely to relax, or calm down, or want to do anything other than sit in a corner and scream for a bit. Unfortunately, I'm not able to do this at the moment because Himself's folks are over doing a spot of weeding for us (and probably thinking of me as the most lazy bitch in the universe, which is probably true) and I can't really let loose until they've gone.

Small relief: I've just discovered I can suspend my health insurance rather than cancelling it, which means I've one less expense to worry about. It also means I've another $60 per fortnight to play with when it comes to rent and similar, rather than spending it on the health insurance.
megpie71: a phone, ringing. (hardly working)
Monday, November 2nd, 2009 02:19 pm
My day so far has been... um.

I started off the day by having nightmares. Gods alone know why (although I suspect it has something to do with the raw skin on my right hand smallest finger, where a hangnail got too persistent) but I was dreaming I was the TARDIS in human form, and I know I woke up once all in a rush having thought someone was drilling into the back of my head. No, really. I could hear the drill. Scared the bzuh! out of me. Fortunately I got back to sleep again, although the nightmares didn't stop. I really should take a couple of Nurofen when I have something owie before trying to go to sleep.

The next thing to wake me up was a phone call from a real estate agent regarding a rental property I'd seen advertised online. As some of you may know, our house is currently being repossessed by the bank, which means we have to be out by 5 December, and handing over the keys for vacant posession by then. So we're looking at rentals. Given we're both on the dole, this isn't easy - I'm setting an approximate value of $200 per week (which is roughly half a fortnightly dole payment each) on the rent we can afford, and the result of the searches is... interesting. Let's just say if we wanted to live in rural splendour, we'd be spoiled for choice - there's places galore in spots like Kalgoorlie, Bunbury, Manjimup, Northcliffe, Geraldton, Norseman, and Kambalda West. Unfortunately, none of those are precisely convenient for jobs in Perth (plus, of course, if we moved to any of them, we'd be moving to an Area of Lower Employment, so our dole payments would be either cut down or cut off for about three to six months. Hoo-flippin'-ray).

Anyway, I have an appointment to have a look over this little 2 bedroom cottage in Bassendean that I put in an enquiry about. Now, given Bassendean is about 10km out of the Perth city centre, there has to be something wrong with this place for the rent to be this low (the next lowest rent is something like $260 per week, and the more likely one is $350 per week) - so I'm going to be looking carefully at the location, the neighbours, and the house itself to try and find out what the issue is, and why the rent is this low. Hopefully the issue is something liveable, such as noise, or a bad area (noise I can live with, a bad area I have lived with) rather than things like missing doors and windows, or a hot water system which doesn't function. From the maps I'm looking at (the map online, and the street directory I have handy) it looks like the problem's more likely to be noise from the railway crossing and passing traffic - in which case, I can live with it for the rent we'd be paying. Himself will just have to start sleeping with earplugs, or move in with his parents - his choice.

Aside from that, I've also been moving on to the next stage with my job search: cold canvassing. I've written up the letter, I've drawn up my list of candidates (I went through the yellow pages last week and drew up a list of all the mining companies listed) and now I'm chasing up contact information, checking details against websites, and getting email addresses where possible. So far I've sent out 10 emails today, I have another 10 planned for tomorrow, and I'm going to keep on at 10 per day until I've emailed all the ones I have email addresses for. Then I start on the mailouts - 10 per day every day until done. Once I've done all of those, I'm going to make a list of the oil and gas companies, and then pick my economy sector from there. If I haven't got a bite for tech work by the time we have to move out, I'll start looking for general admin stuff (but I'm hoping I'll get at least a nibble for the tech work).

NaNoWriMo update: I'm not doing it. Writing cheery, upbeat, positive letters to 10 companies per day soliciting work is quite enough fictional output to keep me busy. Even if it is mostly copy & paste.
megpie71: Animated "tea" icon popular after London bombing. (Tea damnit)
Thursday, October 8th, 2009 11:55 am
Gods, where to start? It's been a bit of a frantic week-and-a-bit. Let's see - how about I give a rundown of "good things and bad things" and then an expansion in TL;DR below.

Good things:
  • Meds packaged in blister pack, Silver Chain stuff almost up and running.

  • Purchased Dissidia on Tuesday, already 9/10ths of the way through the initial part of Story Mode

  • Heard from my folks, they're coming back to Perth early


Not-Good things:
  • Still depressed

  • Court hearing on Tuesday resulted in an order to hand over the house

  • Still unemployed


This is the TL;DR stuff )

So yeah, how's everyone else doing?
megpie71: Denzel looking at Tifa with a sort of "Huh?" expression (Tifa1)
Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 03:27 pm
Just had an interview for a possible position, for a damn near immediate start. I think it went well, but I can never tell with these things - my instincts are all over the place, it seems. As a result, I'm now second-guessing myself all over the place and panicking about whether I might have put the potential employer off - was I too dressed up, too dressed down, too friendly, not friendly enough, did I give off the right vibes, the wrong vibes... aargh.

I've just let go of the trapeze bar and performed my triple somersault backflip with the half twist... now to find out whether the other bar is where I think it should be. If not... this is gonna hurt.