Partner of a Pilot
The Candid Diary of an Airline Pilot’s Girlfriend

I’d rather cut my wrists lengthways than sign on at the job centre

So, I thought it was about time that I kicked my ass into blog mode to write a post… Hard to find my mojo to write about life when nothing much great seems to be happening. I am still in the land of unemployed. I am actually now officially unemployed. Previously I was being strung along, but the company has now been evicted from it’s City offices and all the staff have been sent an email telling them that the owner will pay them when he has the money… AKA: NEVER!

…So, I decided that whilst I was looking for work, I would ‘sign on’ (register unemployed).  I have never been unemployed before, so it was a bit daunting… Any way, it turns out that I am not actually entitled to ‘job seekers allowance’ even though I am in fact out of work and I am in fact job-seeking. This is apparently because Bf is gainfully employed. Personally I think this rule sucks, because we aren’t married, and we have separate finances.  Still, I guess I am at least spared the demoralising, soul-sucking experience of going to an office filled with depressed looking unemployed people and down-and-outs to ‘sign on’ each week!

I did it once, and it was honestly enough to have me cutting my wrists lengthways.  I went in with an appointed time, but despite this, I was given a little numbered ticket to wait with, like they give you at the meat-counter in supermarkets… I was then showed to a seating area to wait.  I say ‘seating area’, but most people were standing. Aside from the fact that the chairs looked capable of infecting you with little parasitic creatures that feed on your blood, for the 20 or so seats provided I would say that there were at least 50 or so people waiting to be seen!

I suddenly felt like an idiot for wearing an actual suit and attempting to look sharp and serious. I had felt that I wanted to attend the office dressed for the job I wanted so that they would know I wasn’t just a bum; but I honestly wish I hadn’t bothered… Aside from the stares that it seemed to attract from people who either pitied or loathed my efforts on sight, my feet were killing me as I stood waiting in high heels for what seemed an eternity.  Then, at last, they called my name.  My relief though, was short-lived, as it transpired, the first lady was apparently only employed to check that my form was filled-out correctly.  This seemed a bit of a pointless task, since I had enrolled through a contact centre and ironically, I hadn’t even come into ‘contact’ with the form since it was all pre-populated with answers I had given over the phone!

I was then sent back to the dreaded seating area to wait in the abyss of miserable faces again.  Still, at least the next person I saw would be doing something useful: letting me know about potential jobs in the catchment area would suit me… After what felt like hours, I was called to speak to a lazy looking woman, pushing retirement with lifeless looking eyes and no sparkle about her whatsoever. It was hardly a face that inspired any hope.  She quizzed me for several minutes about what qualifications I had, what experience and what my career goals were.

She would pick up on certain random words and then head off in some frustrating and bizarrely inappropriate tangent asking me in one breath if I thought call centre work would be ‘up my street’ and in the next asking me if I would like to be a marketing director!?  Seriously it was a complete joke, except without the funny part!  I worked in recruitment for years, and was actually so irritated by this loathsome woman, that I wished the ragged paper number I still held in my hand were for a butcher’s counter, because I would have paid good money to shove a raw chicken on her head… and actually stuff the chicken’s ass with her stupid gormless expression before I exited the building!

I was left convinced that the government take the most wretched and unemployable people from their dole queues and sit them at the desks in the job centre herding people around like soulless animals.  It’s either awfully stupid, or pure evil genius… I am still undecided; but one thing’s for sure – I was certainly left feeling motivated never to have to see her again!

So I’ve been job hunting like mad, and even had a few interviews. I have been offered a few very highly paid jobs, but the roles unfortunately been in the city which would mean commuting 5 days per week and pretty much only seeing the kids at weekends with the hours I’d be doing once the commute was added on… I figure that this is tantamount to selling my children’s childhood years, and to be honest, as tempting as all the dough is, it simply isn’t enough when I equate it in those terms! …I have the rest of my life to pay off my short-term financial difficulty, but my children will only be young once.

So, I am still scratching around trying to find something that offers me the flexibility of working-from-home around Bf’s airline schedule!


9 Responses to “I’d rather cut my wrists lengthways than sign on at the job centre”

  1. Always enjoy reading your blog, so I’m glad to hear your latest update. I can sympathise with your feelings re the job centre, you always feel like the only normal one, a feeling of ‘I shouldn’t be here’! I hope that you manage to find something soon, I appreciate that it must be hard with the little ones and bfs career combined, I’m sure that something will come your way soon. Perhaps in a couple of years when baby goes to school you will be able to be a bit more flexible x

    • I know! I am so glad in some ways that I dont have to go… I guess you have to go for your NI payments to be made… Thankfully, the fact that I have children under 16 means that I dont need to go purely for that reason.

      I have a few interviews lined up on Friday, but I am not terribly interested in the roles tbh :/

  2. Hi,

    If you have paid full NI contributions for 2 years you would be entitled to contribution-based jsa for 6 months in your own right.

    Good luck job hunting.

  3. Awww I know what you’re going though! 😦 My hours at work were cut and I’m looking for work right now as well. I’ve applied at a few places and I know I have all the qualifications (maybe exceed them even) and still no calls back. I haven’t had to apply for jobs in YEARS and it’s tough work. At least you are getting some offers. Good luck with it all.

  4. Hey Girl,

    It’s been a little while since I’ve checked in here. I’ve been having to go back through my entire history of blog post. (explanation on my blog) So, I made my way back to where I posted your illustration. I used the link to pop in see what’s up across the pond, in your world. Good luck on the job hunting. I’d recommend you for a job here, but the commute would be a killer.


    Here is my story about illegal activities in the RAAF.
    If you the host is happy for me to share it here, please authorise it; otherwise, not a problem, and I wish you all the best.
    Humbly, bennymay

  6. I hope you don’t mind that I post here, but this is one of the most genuine insights I have obtained in regards to the potential life as a pilot, including impact on family and relationships. Reason for posting – I’m looking for career options for my twin boys and thought of aviation as a possibility.

    I’m in the software engineering field and have witnessed 50-75% reductions of qualified staff due to globalization and cheaper resources in India and elsewhere, thus I’ve been thinking of various careers that could not be shipped overseas – pilot came to mind.

    I don’t know any pilots first hand so I’ve been searching the net for stories – good and bad. During the search, it became clear that the publicized financial issues with the carriers have made a large impact on new and seasoned pilots. I also learned via this blog and others that there is much more to think about regarding a pilot career than just job stability – relationships, children, etc.

    Is being a pilot a rewarding life? Can you develop lasting relationships and be a solid dad? I’m just trying to find options for two boys that could probably do anything in life…

    Thanks for sharing…

    • I think that Jemma’s comments below are very helpful Mike. All the pilots I know have always wanted to fly from the point where they were knee high. If it is something that your sons feel passionately about, then certainly encourage them to do it; but if not, then I would let them find their own paths in life.

      Pilots spend a good number of years in debt to the tune of tens of thousands of pounds. My partner was lucky enough to secure sponsorship, but it has still cost him hugely.

      As a pilot family, you have to expect that your partner will miss 50% of special family occasions and seasonal holidays. If he does long haul, you also have to spend a long time apart. This means that if the relationship isn’t extremely solid, then it is unlikely to weather the distance.

      That said. I love my partner dearly. I know this is all he wants to do, and that he could not be happy doing anything else. I knew what I was getting into when I met Bf, and as a result I am happy to stand by him.

      You might also like to have a look at this post:

  7. Hi partner your blog is v quiet of late, hope you are well hon.

    Mike – I am also the girlfriend of a (albeit newly-qualified) FO. I got with him at uni before he had started any of his training, so have been with him through the whole thing. The first thing I would ask is how old are your boys? Do they have ideas about what they want to do?
    Secondly I would say that becoming a pilot is an extremely expensive business. From what I know, to put one pilot through all the training you are looking at £50K plus. Obviously for them the pay ultimately becomes worth while, but it is a pretty steep investment, often for parents to make.
    In terms of lifestyle, I’m not able to advise in terms of parenting, but in terms of our relationship, its not been easy! Its early days for us though and we are just getting through his line training at the moment, which has been abroad, so its not been easy. Once he has a permanent base (hopefully) in the UK and we live near his base, I can’t really see any major problems. He is doing short-haul so will be home every night. The only disruption then will be having to work weekends and he will probably have to miss special occasions when he can’t get the time off. But lots of jobs cause this.
    Reading that back it sounds so negative! Ultimately I am incredibly proud of him, and as long as it makes him happy then I wouldn’t want him to do anything else.
    I think the allure of being a pilot and the kudos that goes with it can make it seem like a dream job, however the reality can be quite different. Your boys will have to give it serious thought if that is really what they want to do. Being a pilot is more than a job in my opinion, it is a lifestyle. If you love it then great, go for it. But go into it with your eyes open.
    Good luck!

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