For reasons of parental leave I find myself away from my paid employment for an extended number of weeks and am finding it quite an experiment. It is also enlightening and quite scary. Not for me as such as i have something to return to, but for the great many people who have no regular work and get up every morning and perhaps now afternoon with little sense of purpose.
It does not feel the same as being a student for example as I was young then and had no responsibilities. What truly concerns me is how adult men in particular and some women truly feel about their long term life at home on low income waiting for the means tested meagre pension.
Many of these people try to establish new roles as carers for example for children with very minor problems often exaggerated or find a meaningless course to fill time. Doomed to waiting on a potential accident insurance claim to give them a lift or calling out the SVP can't do much for self esteem.
The concern is here that everyday these people spend out of work leaves them more socially isolated with reduced self esteem and seriously deskilled particularly in the area of dealing with the public. This rules out their ability to get jobs in the retail sector or service industry generally leaving only warehouses etc or maybe delivery men roles.
I feel strongly that in the absence of large scale paid employment being available to a great many people the government should be offering useful advice to people about the importance of not seeing the social welfare as even a good short term option. It may be necessary but it should be strongly recommended that the recently unemployed don't get too fussy and do their best to take whatever jobs they are capable of doing as quickly as possible.
I am aware of a number of families where courses have been chosen over employment because this is the advice given. I am not sure why any employer would be keen to take on a 40 year old average arts graduate with a bundle of kids who is miserable about his social devaluation when the option of a hungry 23 year old is always going to be available in a very tight labour market.
Personally I find daily exercise important for getting me out and mixing and keeping some degree of sharpness but again I know a great many long term unemployed who have fallen into the well set trap of sitting in the house out of sight.
An expansion of the community employment scheme programme to offer roles running and teaching in local homework clubs would surely be useful to many children whilst offering a purpose to those destined to in reality a life on the dole wondering where it all went wrong or indeed slipping onto long term sick with depression.
What suggestions or advice do you have for those currently long term unemployed with children?