I don’t know how interested you are at the moment in finding paid employment, but there is a significant opportunity coming up which I think might suit you if you are.
It would be good, I suppose, in so many ways. It would be a move sideways from my last paid job, much better than the checkout, or all the warehouses. I was looking grimly at the warehouses where the jobcentre might send me, where I might not have a common language with many of the workers and the employer could drive workers as hard as they liked. Swanston is in an excellent location for warehouses.
Yet- three jobs, all of which ended badly, which I found traumatic, with the trauma associated with my transsexuality and my inability to accept my femininity which only so recently ended- I have self respect for the first time- I can’t imagine going again into those dingy interview rooms for such conversations. I would be weeping and raging within a week.
So, no, I am not interested in finding paid employment, even though alternatives are precarious.
Liz B came round. I had forgotten, so was still in my dressing gown at noon. That’s OK. My living room was reasonably tidy. It is important to me not to be ashamed of how I am. She told me her awful news and I sympathised. She admired my dressing gown.
Should people who are unfit for work and have no other means of support receive support from the state, or be left to starve? Most British people would support benefits for the sick, though some might take an extreme Darwinist position, and David Brin’s near future vision in Existence says Everybody works. That’s a rule if you want to keep living here.
We don’t have such a benefit. Instead, we have a benefit which is paid to a very few of those mentally or physically unfit for work- indeed, not to everyone who is incapable of living without a carer. While some of those registered blind may be capable of work, again most people would think that they should be helped into work and paid benefits as long as they need, rather than bullied with the continuing threat of a sanctions regime, and fortnightly interviews. However, a person who is registered blind but has learned to use a guide dog and can “navigate around familiar surroundings”, and possibly a person who might be taught to use a guide dog, would not be entitled to ESA and would have to claim JSA: less money, liable to be withdrawn at any time.
I made the woman on the checkout laugh, with a bit of impromptu clowning, pretending to be unable to open my shopping bag. It lightened my day.