15 Apr 2017

Lucky Escape

I think I might have had a lucky escape recently, as a care service job that I enquired about fell through.

All I initially did, was respond to a large advertisement in Hedge End Post Office's window, where Amberley Care were looking for carers. No experience required, full training provided. You know the kind of thing.

The point of my phone call was to ask if they were interested in male carers. It seems that they were and they damned near bit my arm off. I could have gone for an "interview" the same afternoon, if I was up for it, but as I needed a shower, shave, shirt, shoes and something else beginning with 'sh' I decided to leave it until the following morning.

It was probably the easiest interview I have ever had. From the outset, I had the distinct impression that they had already decided to take me on, subject to references and DBS checks of course. It seems that male carers are like hens teeth round here. It was agreed that once the initial OK from the DBS check had been received, I would start shadowing. After a few such shadow shifts, which were unpaid, we would all see what we thought of me being a male carer and take it from there.

Which is basically what happened. Within a week, I was shadowing the Senior Carer on some lunchtime calls.

Although I had been depressed overnight, at the thought of having to downgrade from what I had been previously doing, litter picking, the care service job looked straightforward enough and the clients all seemed nice enough when I met them. I was also very pleased that the personal care element was said to be strictly limited, as most clients don't want a male carer doing that kind of thing.

So it could have worked out quite well. I might even have enjoyed doing that kind of work, except that when I asked the Senior Carer about some of the terms and conditions that went with the job, I discovered that I wasn't going to be paid for time spent travelling between clients.

That meant that if travelling between client A and client B, I could potentially be stuck in traffic caused by (for example) problems on the M27 or by an event at the Rose Bowl and I would most likely struggle to park if the congestion was that bad. Then, once I overcame that little problem, I would potentially have to wait for a few minutes whilst the client got up out of her armchair to press the button on the door entry system which would let me into the building. Once inside the clients flat, the 15 minute call started in earnest, for which I would earn the princely sum of £2. Less tax and National Insurance...

Stuff that, I thought, thinking back to the large 4x4 on the driveway of the executive house where Amberley Care is based, and feeling thoroughly exploited...

Realising that a disaffected carer is not likely to be a good carer, I decided not to do the job unless I was completely happy with it. I therefore asked to see a draft contract of employment, before doing any more shadowing, so I could check that I had understood correctly. I didn't want to do any more shadowing until I was completely happy with the terms and conditions, as I didn't think it was fair on the clients...

Needless to say I am still waiting for sight of that draft contract and I haven't done any more shadowing.

I saw the problem coming there there, I think, and successfully avoided another exploitative situation. I have had too many of those, over the years, and am wise to them now...

The only positive thing to come out of this, is that I have now been DBS checked. Showing that to be all clear was a useful exercise.

So what do I try next, I wonder...?

I really do feel like one of the Mr Men some days, when I am trying to find a suitable job...

And like one of these alternatives, if I am rejected too often...