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Blog: Signing Off

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As mentioned previously, since officially finishing the MA I've been SIGNING ON for Jobseekers Allowance. I've found the whole thing FINE - i went in with the attitude that this was money I was owed and that I was prepared to jump through a MODICUM of hoops to get it and, after 20 years working for Universities and even longer doing computer programming I have learnt to a) cope with pointless bureacracy b) follow instructions to achieve results and most importantly c) not take any of it personally.

This has all come in VERY HANDY, especially since my Signing On Lady suggested I apply for The Enterprise Allowance Scheme a few weeks ago. I was fully intending to go freelance and NOT apply for jobs if I could help it so I thought I'd give it a go and ended up going to a couple of ENTIRELY POINTLESS meetings run by a NOT VERY GOOD company who were being paid by the government to help people start a business. I applied my principles of going along with it and Not Taking It Personally which came in EXTREMELY handy through a process that seemed very much like that "box ticking" you hear so much about. There were times I had to fight the urge not to either LARF or SHOUT about how ridiculous it all was - there were nice people along the way who seemed to want to help, but most of it was very very disorganised and/or useless, and I did feel sorry for anybody who actually needed the help that the scheme claimed to provide.

ANYWAY, I went through the process, got my forms STAMPED (at a meeting which I thought was to look at the first draft of a Business Plan, but turned out to be to say "This is FINE!"), and at 8:30am on Thursday last week I presented myself at the "Employment Plus" office to sign off. It didn't take long - I had a couple more forms to sign and there was a slight issue with the fact that (inevitably) the rubbish company who'd been "mentoring" me (i.e. ticking the box that says "he has filled in a form, mostly") hadn't sent through all of the paperwork, but by 8:40am I was leaving the building for the last time with my head held high, ready to go forth into the next step of my career odyssey: SELF EMPLOYMENT!

When I got home I settled myself down to DECLARE this to The Taxman ... and ten minutes later had done that too. It was... peasy? It seemed so anyway, but may turn out not to be in the fullness of time. But anyway, that seems to be THAT and I am now officially Working For Myself as a Sole Trader. So far it seems to be all right - I only get SCREAMING PANIC ATTACKS a couple of times a day, when I think "OH MY GOD! I haven't even got a JOB! AAAARGHH!!!" but after a LIFETIME of office work I guess that's to be expected and will hopefully EBB. Apart from that my boss is very understanding about my need to watch telly quite a lot (hem hem) and even makes me cups of tea when I ask, so I can't complain. All I need now is an INCOME STREAM!

posted 2/2/2015 by MJ Hibbett

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