Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dole office 2009

It's now over three months since I swapped my corporate Amex card for a much less glamourous social security card. The first couple of months were great. I really enjoyed the novelty of having time on my hands, to visit people, potter about the house and garden and just relax for a while. If I was to believe the purveyors of assvice, the relaxing should have done wonders for my ability to conceive. Well newsflash, it hasn't.

But this post is not about infertility, it's about unemployment in the noughties. I went through a fairly long stint of unemployment when I left university, and I have to say Ireland was a pretty grim place to be back in the early nineties before the boom happened. There was very little money about. Now we're back to that again, but I really don't think the reality of it has hit home to a lot of people yet.

I see people walking into the social welfare office in designer jeans. I see people driving up to the post office to pick up their welfare in 4x4 jeeps. Obviously the trappings of former wealth. I think there are a lot of people out there who have received redundancy lump sums who just haven't had the reality of their situation really hit them yet.

The first day I went into my local social welfare office to sign on, I met a girl I knew who used to work in the same manufacturing plant as me. She and her family moved over here from the north of England when the company closed the plant there and moved the production lines to our facility in Ireland. Anyway the Irish plant has now downsized hugely (from a workforce of 500+ to approx 160, which in a town with a population of around 7,500 is a huge blow to the area) and many people opted to take voluntary redundancy.

Anyway, I overheard this girl (you couldn't but overhear her, she was talking at the top of her voice in a very small waiting area) saying the following (think Yorkshire accent) : "Ah missed mah signin' date last week, cuz I were in Baaacelona for t'Man Unigh'd match. Now they've told me I 'ave to sign on in two weeks, but I'm gonna be in fuckin' Mexico on me 'olidays, in' I?".

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Dole Office 2009.