Experiences of Unemployment
I am currently on my second term with Seetec and while their advisors are friendly, fair and helpful, they cannot seem to do any more than I can do myself, they have no contacts and cannot get me interviews.
In response to our call for articles to the INOU’s Individual Members on their personal experience of unemployment the following piece was sent to us:
I am currently one of the 37% of those on the Live Register who have been unemployed for more than one year. I know plenty about unemployment as I have been out of work many times since the late 70s. This has been interspersed with short-term employment, low level jobs and periods of education. On occasion I have had fairly good jobs such as supervising in bars and delivering mail, but these never lasted and now I have been unemployed since I returned to education a few years ago. I would definitely say that there has never been a better time to be unemployed than right now, because of all the opportunities that exist to retrain or to educate oneself, and we have agencies like Seetec who will endeavour to set you on the right path. Back in the bad old days of the 80s, the unemployed were totally ignored and left to their own devices. First, it was Tuesday sign-on with sour-faced staff at the exchange and then collect the giro on Friday, having your money slammed on the counter by a post office clerk who saw you as undeserving. In between, there was nothing, just vegetate or work in the black economy, of which there was plenty. The best way out was the boat to England and I took that many times.
Anyhow, despite it being such a good time to be unemployed, I do not want to be. I earned my Honours degree in Business Accounting in 2010, but have struggled to get interviews since due to the fact that I have not had any actual business experience. I have continued to improve my education by qualifying online as an Accountant technician. I look after two children at home while my wife works part-time and I believe that age has worked against me and my lifelong experience is worthless in the jobs market. I am currently on my second term with Seetec and while their advisors are friendly, fair and helpful, they cannot seem to do any more than I can do myself, they have no contacts and cannot get me interviews. In fact, I applied to Seetec to work as an employment advisor as I had some experience of working with the unemployed on a voluntary basis and, of course, I emphasised the empathy I had with unemployed people, but even they failed to give me an interview, despite it being their business to help the unemployed find work.
I believe that in the current economic situation, there should be no person unemployed for more than one year. The reason people are, I think, is that they have lost much of their self-esteem and perhaps had little of this to begin with due to upbringing, substance abuse etc. It is high time I believe to categorise the long-term unemployed, especially those 20% who are three or more years out of work, as a special category and give them a preferred status for job openings. At the very least, they should be guaranteed a certain amount of interviews, if only to increase their confidence and experience. When one considers how much in tax breaks some companies receive and how much Enterprise Ireland gives in funding and grants, then I think, in return Government agencies can insist on positive discrimination in favour of the long-term unemployed.