|megpie71 (megpie71) wrote,|
@ 2009-02-17 20:31:00
I knew there was a reason I didn't like being unemployed
I've now remembered what it is.
Centrelink offices, whether by explicit design or some ineffable process, are possibly the most boring places on earth to wait for things, as well as the most depressing such places. Particularly at about ten o'clock on a hot Tuesday morning.
Okay, the whole sordid history: I made my initial claim for Newstart Allowance (aka "the dole") on Friday afternoon, over the phone. I got given a time and a place for an appointment with a Job Network provider (aka the people who are going to chase me about not looking for every kind of work I can do, rather than just the ones I'm experienced in). The appointment was supposed to be at ten o'clock this morning in Fremantle.
So, I get myself dolled up in my interview gear (wanting to make a good first impression, however silly such a hope is - these people see hundreds of unemployed people every week. I'm probably nothing new to them) and head down there. First challenge: find the office. I've been given their street address, but finding anything in Fremantle is an exercise in patience and advanced map-fu, since the town is built on a triangular grid, and it's extremely easy to get yourself turned around. Not to mention the complete lack of street numbers to give any indication of whether I'm getting close to the place or not. But eventually I found the place, and rocked in to attend my appointment.
Now, I turn up for *all* appointments at least ten minutes early - it's a bad habit I got into as a result of taking public transport everywhere. I plan to be early, so that if my connections are running late, I'll still be there on time. Most of the time, it just means I'll be spending a bit longer in a waiting room, so I usually bring a book to read. Today I forgot the book, which turned out to be a biiiiig mistake. However, in this case, turning up about ten minutes early was a Good Thing, since it meant I was in time to discover they didn't have a record of an interview being booked for me, and that I'd need to go to the Centrelink office (about three blocks away) to sort this out.
What had happened was that while my intent to claim had been processed, it hadn't tripped my jobseeker status over into "active", so on their system I wasn't showing up as someone who was looking for work. I started heading down to the Centrelink office, and after a brief false start (where I wandered into the Seniors and Carers centre by mistake) I found myself in the line waiting to speak to someone about the whole business.
Centrelink lines tend to move at a speed which makes plate tectonics look lively. I didn't have a book, or anything else to distract myself, so I got to stand and listen to the comments and complaints of my fellow queue members as I waited for the counter staff to get around to seeing their way clear to dealing with the people ahead of me in the queue. Fortunately for me, they had someone running up and down the queue to try and weed out the folks who didn't urgently need to see the nice people at the counter. Even more fortunately for me, my case was one of those which could be resolved within minutes. So I didn't need to wait until I reached the head of the queue to get my problem sorted after all.
I headed back to the Job Network Provider, to see whether I could schedule another appointment, and discovered that maybe I'd've been better off staying in the line after all. Turned out the changes hadn't percolated through their system to the point where they could actually interview me, so I wound up getting another appointment scheduled (11.45am on Thursday) and heading back home. By the time I got back home, I was tired, grumpy, and hot as all hell (even my summer-weight interview gear is hotter than my sitting around the house stuff). I kicked off my shoes and socks, changed out of the interview clobber, and grabbed myself some lunch, then collapsed in a heap and slept for most of the afternoon.
On Thursday, I'll be heading into Freo nice and early (I got the preliminary claim form in the mail today, so I want to hand that in before I get too fed up with the whole process) and taking along the PSP for the queue times. I figure I should be able to get at least some of the way through Star Ocean without too much hassle. And at least I won't have to stand there trying to figure out what the heck is going on with the infomercials on the telly in the meantime.