Willing, able and unwanted: day in the life of a jobseeker

KEEN: Finding work can be a dispiriting exercise
KEEN: Finding work can be a dispiriting exercise File

I WOKE up at 4.30am again.

My furry little alarm clocks start pattering about as soon as first light appears, and I might as well get up when they do. Starting my day by feeding the critters and watering the garden. Then what…?

All those depressing thoughts that were keeping me up last night start rolling back in; just too much money going out; rent, bills, food, fuel… and not that much coming in.

Technically at the moment I have a job, but because I am a casual, and they have no work. I'm not working, and not getting paid, so I'm at the mercy of the Centrelink. I prefer not to open that can of worms, because I'm sure most people are familiar with the concept.

It is still too early to head to town, so I open my laptop and log online. Checking out Facebook and few job search sites… nothing new there.

Funnily enough my "workplace" is still advertising for positions, which is bit disturbing knowing they don't have work for the people who already "work" there. Really makes me wonder what is that all about?

Finally it's eight-thirty and I can head to town. It's a half-hour drive, so by the time I get there, places should be opening up. My first stop is at my "workplace".

The receptionist doesn't know if there will be any work this week, and goes to look for the manager. Not surprisingly the manager is fixing something and he will give me a call later.

Yeah, right, I already know that he will never call, and without income, I can't afford to have credit on my phone, so I can't call him. So I head to the shopping centre, and to my employment service provider.


I don't have an appointment, but after a short wait she is able to see me anyway. I tell her about my job search efforts - four jobs applied for, zero responses and uncertainty about my current employment.

She tells me there is no work in Warwick, so I should just re-home my pets, throw a mattress in my car, and hit the road. I was hoping to have a roof over my head for Christmas, but that is just a luxury the likes of me don't deserve. It's hard not to get depressed.

My case worker managed to get me an interview for tomorrow on the other side of Toowoomba, and no matter which way I drive it is about 115km - an hour and half drive away. My case worker gave me a $25 fuel voucher to help.

I don't know what kind of cars can drive 230km with $25 of fuel, but it is certainly not my car. My car is not that magical, so if I do get the job, I'm going to have to drive that distance every day… I sure hope it is for a good amount of hours and a great deal of money, or all my pay will go for paying for fuel.

With that, I realise that I can't afford groceries today, or do anything else either, so I return home to my pets and laptop, feeling defeated and hopeless.

I'm a hard worker; I like to work and most of the year I do work, but the work I do is seasonal, and this year the seasons have been short and daily hours even more so.

I'm happy to work 12-hour shifts, and even skip my days off to go to work; do all the overtime I can get my hands on. This year however very soon after the peak, the shifts have been cut short to two hours here, four hours there - it's all about waiting for the phone to ring.

I don't smoke, I don't drink, I don't do drugs, and I can pass any medical, drug, traffic or criminal test or screening any employer wants to put me through. So how is it that I can't get a proper job closer to home?

- Name withheld

Topics:  editors picks jobs jobseeker unemployment

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