I often wonder how jobsworths have jobs. I can’t get an interview, never mind a job; I think I’ve sent out over 200 applications and CVs in the past two years. Now I’ve given up. As long as I can scrape by being creative, I accept I’m never going to be rich; at least, not monetarily. Wiki has an ample description of a jobsworth:
A jobsworth is a person who uses their job description in a deliberately uncooperative way, or who seemingly delights in acting in an obstructive or unhelpful manner…The term remains in use, particularly in the UK, to characterise inflexible employees, petty rule-following and excessive administration.It has largely supplanted the older term, “Little Hitler. (Wiki)
Today I dealt with jobsworths from two different places: the city council and a choreographer.
I just love doing needless spreadsheets for the city council. If they want to know the ins and outs of my business, they should talk to HMRC, not get me to do extra work when none of their staff have a clue about sole trader paperwork, and send me back and forth for weeks (’til I flip my lid like last time – that seemed to be the only way to get someone from ‘higher up’ to attend to me).
Every thirteen weeks, they demand the ins and outs of my business operations, cashflow, profit and loss, what underwear I have on when uploading new items to my website, and so on. They ask for more than the Inland Revenue and they’re the ones I file tax returns with! In order for me to get help with my council tax, I have to jump through these hoops four times a year – y’know, in case I’m ripping the system off, ’cause it’s not like government employees ever do that, right? (Don’t get me started on the vile charade that it is to live in Corporation UK, not a free human being but property of the State). I find it a gross insult for them to treat the self-employed like pariahs – we pay higher taxes, have no pensions security or sick leave, if we go bust, we’re out of a job; I could go on. As a single woman, I don’t get a 50% discount on my council tax, I get a measly 25% – they make me SICK.
Anyway, I’m ranting now because I despise them and I’ll go off on one if I don’t reign it in. Every single time I get called down there to show my accounts, I get given the runaround by staff who don’t have a clue what they’re doing. Sometimes, I think it’s because they (the public-facing staff members) don’t like anyone making a living that’s fun. I’m on less money than they are, but it’s the one chance they get to exert some authority by being awkward and telling me I don’t have the right paperwork (and then they mess MY benefit up, money I’m entitled to from my strawman).
This is just a small part of what happens every quarte, when I spread all my accounts before them and they’re – as usual – unsatisfied:
Them – We need to see your wage slips.
Me – I’m self-employed, I don’t get wage slips.
Them – Well, we need to see evidence from your employer about your income.
Me (chewing fist and trying not to be rude, and failing) – What part of ‘self-employed are you finding hard to comprehend?
Them – Well, you must have wage slips, what do you give the Inland Revenue at the end of the year?
Me – I don’t give them anything, I file my tax return online and keep records of Sales, Drawings, and Expenditure in case they ask for it. Which they never have.
Them (looking at computer screen) – Well, it says here you need to provide wage slips to say how much you’re earning. Don’t you have anything from your accountant?
Me: I don’t use an accountant. Look at my figures, I can add that up on a calculator.
Them: Well, if you don’t have an accountant, what do you send to the HRMC (Inland Revenue) each year?
Me: I do my self assessment online
It goes on for an hour, they take my paperwork, give me a receipt, I ask them can they think of anything else they need as this always happens and they always ask for more, they say No, then they send out a letter a couple of weeks later saying ‘the information presented is insufficient blah blah blah…’
Back to the printer! The printer was wilful and refused to print this morning – this ALWAYS happens when I have a council appointment – so I took my laptop with spreadsheets and access to my online cart software so they could take the figures from source and input them onto their system. Naturally, they refused and wanted hard copies. I explained I didn’t have access to a printer at that time. They told me to go next door to the library and access their internet – no, I don’t know why I couldn’t access the internet at the council office.
I went next door and told them what I needed to do. The library assistant told me I needed to be a member and would have to bring ID and open an account. It was at this point I realised I’ve achieved a much greater control of my emotions than I thought, as I was able to stop from having a fit and storming off.
I put on my Bree Vanderkamp Botox face with Mona Lisa smile and floated out of the building, straight across to the butty bar where I ordered a big breakfast barm to eat my barely-bridled rage into a carbohydrate coma. After that, I went home and had a strong coffee and a sit down before my second trek of the day to the council offices.
All in all, I think I was very good not to give them the disparaging looks their below par service deserved; it’s not their fault they’ve been stomped into a banal existence, I guess. We’re in a society that is geared towards keeping people stupid, after all.
After wrestling with my printer (which is now sulking and refusing to print again), I made it back to the office with minutes to spare before closing.
As for the choreographer, he’s emailed us singers a set list for the show – his spelling is atrocious – told us to learn the harmonies without us knowing who’s singing what or the vocal range each singer has; he gets paid to fly over from Tenerife to teach us the movements but sends us video from last year two weeks before we go. Money for old rope much? He could have sent this a month ago. More than a month ago! He could have sent this as soon as we sent our signed contracts back. And not in stupid pando format!!!!!
If it’s just video footage, it would have made more sense to just convert it at his end to a simpler format – we don’t need menus and fancy pants stuff – and then I wouldn’t be pulling my hair out, trying to download it from his crappy slow connection. For a second, I thought ‘Am I stupid?’ – only a second, mind – and then I read an email from another singer asking me could I open the files, because she couldn’t.
I have to do everything in my power to hide my true personality for the next six months, haha. I don’t suffer fools and can’t abide by jumped up people who don’t deserve the role they have. If someone truly has something to teach me and knows their subject, I’m all ears. But I’m feeling iffy about this guy. One of the girls seems nice and I hope I get put in a room with her, but the other one hasn’t deigned to reply to either of our emails. I’m the one with Diva in my stage name, it should be me being all elusive! I hope she’s nice and I’m sure she has a simple reason for not being in touch – she might not have regular access to the internet, she might have fallen and can’t get up, she might be shy – I have a feeling I’ll be put in a room with her just because we’re the same height; the agent kept going on about it. ‘Cause people who are the same height automatically get along…
I’m going to take everything and everyone as I find them, try not to get involved in drama, just keep my head down, work hard, enjoy the Greek culture, and explore the island whenever I can. I’m a born worrier and I’m sure I’ll have a ball once I stop stressing.
I also have the added pressure of moving my entire two-bedroomed flat into a storage unit, with two weeks in which to accomplish it, and learn these songs, dance routines, move abroad, head hurts. I haven’t packed a thing today. The place looks jam packed with all my crap, but after the council debacle, I feel wiped out. I’m teaching tomorrow, so I can’t even pack all day because I need to keep the living room clean and tidy. And then Undercover Lover’s taking me out for our last date before I leave him and do a runner across Europe
Oh my God, please let me get everything done in time. And please help me find my passport. I have a bad feeling I packed it with the stuff going in storage…and as for Rhodes, I’m seeing Benidorm (the TV programme). It should be Dreamgirls in my mind.
Oh, dear. Just keep reciting Bill Hicks.
It’s only a ride.