Thought I'd share some of my experiences of unemployment here, and specifically the duality of being stuck on social benefits or having paid employment.
I've been on social benefits for over a year due to being unemployed but with too little work experience to earn 'work based insurance' and have had no success in finding a job until now when I decided the only way out of the social's claws was to go back and work in elderly care as I had summer work experience of it, and voila 5 jobs in a day.
The tragic, yet valuable experience is, being able now to differentiate between being dependent and basically owned by the social services to working and making your own living is, it has a tremendous impact on one's psyche.
When I was under the whip of the social services I was that literally. They would hound me to find whatever job there is, as I was regarded more of an economic burden to the state, than a person with feelings and dreams in life. I was forced to go to a work centre, they call it, where you're meant to sit in front of a computer and search jobs basically from 8am - 4pm, the social services did add quite sincerely, that the work centre had a garden I could work in, help out in the kitchen, washing dishes etc, or paint, they said I was given a good opportunity here. Of course I had a choice not to go to this place, but then I would legally declare myself as homeless and starving as the social services would withdraw my benefits. So in my mind, there was never a question of choice, as no sane person willingly chooses being homeless and starving.
Being depressed already, my mood plummeted dramatically knowing I had to go to this place every weekday, and having had the last thing in my life taken away from me, which is the most fundamental right of every living being, freedom. My flat looked like a dump, quite literally, didn't have any energy or motivation to clear things up as I didn't see any way out of the situation anyway, thus a 'what's the point of clearing up' feeling took over, suppose, maybe learned helplessness.
Now, the first day of my summer temp position, I know I'm only employed until the end of August, but am determined never to go back into the social services again, my energy has risen, I feel like tidying my flat, everything feels lighter and more enjoyable, just the fact of having earned £60 in a day is an incredible feeling, as being on the social benefits, I never had any money to spare, £335 per month excluding rent to live on, it was hell.
My point is, having seen the difference in my mood and outlook on life, which I think is investigated thoroughly through social and psychological research, nothing beats working for money, as it gives you freedom, and it doesn't need to be a lot you earn, but it's your money, and you've earnt it. Some say capitalism sucks, I say, having no money and chased by society's vultures, (Social services) sucks, in fact it is so detrimental to the human spirit, it should be abolished and replaced with something that works and doesn't break a person down.
Was a bit of a heavy text perhaps, but I hope it can be of help to someone who might be in the same situation as I have been in.