Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Desperate Times ~ Desperate Measures

I’ve probably said it a few times now, but I work for a training and employment company. And even though we’ve got the training side of things down pat, we haven’t really grasped the employment side of things. Nevertheless, we do have ties to agencies and companies that we refer clients to, but we often get people through the door looking for jobs. And I mean any job. In the UK, there has been a serious clamp down on state benefits meaning that all those people that purposely sit on their asses at home doing nothing, are now being forced out to earn their keep. And they come into the office in their numbers virtually begging for work and some of them, I do feel sorry for, because if they haven’t any experience in the areas that we help into employment, unless they train – and folk over £200 – they’re pretty much on their own.

Despite the cry out for employment, however, jobs are not the only thing that people are desperate for these days. And even though, as a society in west, we are blessed, we can’t help but want for more.


I can’t tell you enough how badly I fit into this category. Because we’re all in the same situation and for those of us with bills to pay or dreams for the new year, money is something that we can’t get enough of. According to statistics, 32 million of us play the lottery every week in hopes that by some grace of God, our numbers will come up and we’ll be thousands of pounds richer. When that tax rebate comes in after so many years, our day is instantaneously brightened and we blow the whole thing on some manner of material or item. When pay day rolls around, we exhale as our bank accounts expand only to watch them simultaneously deplete seconds later as the rent, the council tax, utilities, insurance and everything else comes tumbling back out again. And even though deep down we know that we’re better off than some, we’ll always complain that we never ever have enough money.


Christmas started early this year. The lights in West London went up earlier this month and I can’t help but roll my eyes a little because I was under the impression that Christmas was in December. But to the informed individual, we all know that this is just a simple ploy to get consumers to put their hands in their pocket. And considering that there was a decline in expenditure last year, I think that store owners and big-name brands are just a little bit concerned. But some of us simply can’t afford to buy our spouse that extra Christmas gift this year. And that large bird we usually consume at Christmas dinner will probably have to be reduced to a medium instead – maybe even a small. Every year, I usually buy three presents for the same people but this year, with my mind heavily on saving for a new life in the land of the rising sun, I’m starting to think that something’s going to have to give. So unless I can find a bargain, I’ll probably have to say that I genuinely can’t afford it this year.


I had an interesting conversation with a friend of mine the other day. He was talking about a friend of his and how he dislikes talking to him because he’s a self-centred – my words, not his. He also, mentioned that said friend is constantly looking for a girlfriend, but he always fails and as a result constantly asks for advice. I couldn’t help but snigger a little. You see, I’ve come across a selection of people who seem to be in keen pursuit of a one on one intimacy – whether it’s dancing that horizontal tango or something real that completely knocks you off your feet. And while I agree that it’s not nice to be alone a Christmas, I can’t help but think that some people come on a little too strong. 

Take today, for example. I was standing on the escalator heading towards the exit and some guy was walking up the stairs and stopped in the gap directly behind me. I didn’t think much of it. We were approaching the top of the escalator and it’s not uncommon to want to catch your breath if your heart can’t take it. But then I heard the most eerie of words ever:

“I miss you.”

I turned my head and there he was, smiling in my face as if I knew him. I vomited a little in my mouth and then hurriedly climbed the rest of the escalator keen to escape. This kind of desperation always carries with it a foul smell. Bathe daily utilising some self-respect and let love wash over your naturally.


Remember I mentioned earlier that people regularly flood my workplace looking for work because benefits have been chopped. Well, this doesn’t necessarily stop them from asking for handouts. Many a time have I had people come into the office asking if they need to pay to do a course. In my mind that’s a big WTF right there. For one of the courses we run, we offer an opportunity to do a short placement as a means of gaining practical experience. You will not believe the amount of times someone has asked me “during the placement, will I be paid?”. WTF part two. And lastly, my company also, possesses funding meaning that people can do some courses for free at Level’s 2 and above only as long as they meet the criteria. When people here ‘free’ – they flock, but in hearing the magic word, it seems that their ability to count suddenly flies out the window. Because unless you’ve done Level 1 or something to that standard, how can anyone possibly expect to jump ship and survive a course greater than ones capability. That’s like me starting an intermediate Japanese course.


Human beings are social butterflies. Even those of us who like our own company – myself included – will eventually desire some human contact whether it’s heading out into the big band world for a day out of a night on the town. But while some of us are quite comfortable in our skin, others of us aren’t comfortable letting the world see us as we are naturally. It’s known that we are socialised to behave in a certain manner depending on the environment and for some of, behaving in any other way other than what’s expected of us, means rocking the boat and making ourselves look less than flattering. Imagine the simple act that is slouching while having an interview with a big corporate company or not having a beer while watching a football match with the lads. And sometimes, we’re content to stand out and stick to our principles, but in all honesty, human beings are like sheep – and for the most part, the majority nearly always wins.


Even now, I’m searching for ways in order to do what I think will make my life easier for myself. I’m trying to tutor on the side for money, all the while seeking a new job oversees. I even desire bargains to keep my expenditure low, but ultimately, I think I scrapped this search some time ago and decided that I was simply going to make do with what I have already.

Ultimately, we really should be satisfied with what we do have because we have a lot more than other across the planet do. However, we’re a western country – we’re an individualistic society. We’re selfish, and we’ll always be a little desperate when something happens that shifts our perception of what we deem is the ideal.

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