Requiring desperation, creating desperation



Edit: I've been informed the specific incident in the link is an urban legend: - I really should have checked the date, as is good practice in general. However, that article served only as my prompt; the conditions and treatment of unemployed people I wrote about is true and drawn from my personal experience. Original post continues unaltered.


According to an article in the (UK) Telegraph, a woman in Germany faces the loss of her unemployment payments for refusing work at a brothel.

The problem here is the way we as a society construct unemployment, not that this time it is a brothel. That just serves as a newsworthy example and perhaps misdirection because of the disgust and contempt we tend to direct at sex work culturally.

Because we insist on treating the unemployed as suspect, as lazy losers and scammers, and because it looks good for organisational numbers to get as much throughput as possible, we require anyone receiving assistance to accept any job offer they are physically capable of performing. So you end up with situations like this, where a person is threatened with being cut off unless they accept a job they personally find repugnant (or soul-killing, or etc.).

Having a quota of documented job applications to meet, and rules like this, meant that when I was actively searching I had to restrict the applications which I thought might get a response to only the positions I felt I wouldn't be trying to then get out of a few weeks later, and then make the rest of the numbers with applications I thought looked plausible but which would not be interested in me as a candidate.

Rules like this led to me saying yes to a lot of offers from the agency I was assigned to, despite believing I would be a bad fit for the job in question, because I was worried my income could be cut off if I refused. This led to me having a whole week of training and a job interview for an area - sales - which I have actually worked in before and found to be a field which- well. I am certainly capable of attempting to sell things to people but I've never actually managed it, and since that earlier position was commission-based I had quit without ever being paid. So I spent the whole time being trained for this interview and actually having the interview afraid that I was going to get pushed into a job I hate and would be no good at simply to get an organisation another "successful job placement" check-mark, while also believing that if I appeared to do anything less than my best to get that job, I could be reported and penalised.

Well, I got lucky that time, and they didn't want anyone from that group that had been coached for the job on offer. But, my point is, the problem here is not that in this specific case it is a brothel this woman could be punished for not working in. The problem is how we treat unemployed job-seekers.