I've held them in low regard for over thirty years since I was pissed about in the west country. Had me up and down the M4 chasing jobs I'd no chance of getting.
Last week I had a text from a branch of Reed who I am registered with which said she (a nameless she) had an opportunity in Cannock, would I ring to discuss it.
I did and she was on the phone at the time and so would call me back. Took her four hours to do so.
When she did, she did nothing but waffle and work through my cv which she obviously had on her screen as if she had never read it before. This sets me on suspicious mode, because if she'd not read my cv, how could she have an opportunity for me.
I started asking questions about this opportunity in Cannock and the answers were vague to say the least. We came back to the cv again, then every attempt to discuss anything to do with Cannock was sidestepped.
Then she started to talk me out of having anything to do with Cannock, saying the place was too far to get to from public transport etc. I would have liked the opportunity to decide on that, seeing how I did business in the Cannock area for three years, so know the area well, but it was not to be.
I could see this girl was in reverse gear and started to retreat by asking me to send my most up to date cv to her by e mail. I did not have an address for her and she said she would respond with a blank e mail allowing me that privilege. I never got it, e mail or privilege.
She did close with the plea could I do it next day as she was leaving on Friday and then the penny dropped.
She was on wind down and her boss had given her something to do to keep her occupied til Friday, shuffling old cvs and seeing what fell out.
As part of her exercise, 45 minutes of my time was wasted. My hopes were raised all because some bint named Annie needed to justify her last three days in a job.
Returning after a wasted hour this morning for something I signed up for, I am just as angry as I was when I discovered Annie was just another professional agency timewaster.
I signed up for "work programme" which is supposed to offer tailored help to all ages in getting back into work. This can be the usual help you can get anywhere, such as making sure you put the stamp on the envelope the right way round, cv writing, job interiew technique.
I was pitched a while back by one of their senior staff and he told me (after reading a preamble I'd prepared where I thought I had laid out my needs clearly), that this sort of help was available, so I went for it.
Once you are on the programme, you are on it for 2 years, so I needed to be sure I wasn't setting myself up for two years of interiew technique and postage stamp alignment skills building.
I've done the initial meeting, where again, I gave them in writing what I felt were the obstacles I needed to overcome and today returned for my second meeting with Donna or at least I thought.
Reported to the child on reception told her who I was and that I was there to see Donna at 12.
Oh it's just job search and she pointed to a cubicle with a computer in it.
"Meaning" I said. "You need to use the computer and do job search". Holding up my folder with all the stuff I do at home as part of my daily routine I was then told, that doesn't count, you have to do it here.
I told her I wasn't prepared to do that. I was under the impression I had a meeting with Donna, either I would be doing that or I would go home and they could sort things out at their convenience.
I got to see Donna 15 minutes later.
To cut a long story short, they have so many "clients" they don't know who you are or what you are there for until you are there in front of them.
Back in my marketing days, I remember being taught that piss poor planning leads to piss poor presentation and today I was shown this in action.
Once Donna's system let her in and she could see what boxes we'd ticked last time, I made sure she understood that I'd not signed up to do job search in a dark corner of their office so they could tick another box and claim their seven grand a year from the government for having me on their books.
Then she went through today's script which included offering me a three day course on interview technique, job searching and all the other shit covered a few paragraphs above. Also on offer another course on money advice.
Well, I'm not on much in the way of benefits and it's going to be cut next April Fact - not much in the way of advice will help on that actuality.
If this is the best they have to offer, I would never have signed up in the first place. Some people are sent by the DWP and therefore don't want to be there, which probably axplains the attitude of the receptionist and her instructions to me.
Despite this putting me in a shitty mood, there's no point opening fire with the big guns, but I did let go with a warning shot that if this is going to be the routine each time I go in there, then I shall be taking a few people to task, starting with the Manager Alex (the man who originally pitched me) who was sitting about twelve feet away and I shall be roping in the local DWP office too.
Because I prep for even the most witless of meetings, I handed over what I had done in preparation for today, which at least gives Donna and her glittery nail varnish a foundation on what we should structure our next session.
It included character references from two people who don't know each other, but know me a lot better than just about anyone else I know. Odd who both of them wrote "Keith doesn't suffer fools gladly"...
And neither do I go in telling people their jobs, but when it comes to being fucked about (which I clearly am), I give them enough rope, I collect my evidence and them go in for the kill.
I don't expect these people to find me a job, but I was told they visit local companies and would pass on any suitable leads. Once I find a company who finds me of interest, I know the rest is down to me to make sure I convert the opportunity.
I was so tempted to tell Donna that if I want to go through the motions, I'll take a dip in the local cess pit.