Monday, June 29, 2009

Second Career Confusion

Second Chance. It sounds so inviting. You've fucked your life up, you're out of a job or you're fed up of the one you've got, but now you can turn it all around, son! You can go back to school on the government's dime and learn a new career, one you will enjoy and get paid lots of money for.

Assuming you can put up with the process to get there.

Now, this is the government we're talking about, so one should expect some... shall we say, bureaucracy. But forgive me if I don't see the logic in the current Second Career strategy.

I signed up for this program way back in February 2009, after I was laid off at the beginning of December 2008. I worked and lived on a horse farm and had pretty much nothing to my name but my last paycheque, my horse, two cats, my car, and a bunch of useless crap. I was forced to move back in with my parents and they recommended that I look into Second Career after they received a flyer in the mail.

So I did. Why not, I was fed up of horse jobs and the shit associated with them (both literal and figurative; you have not known neurotic until you have worked with horse people) and I thought it was time I got a job that wouldn't kick me out on my ass when the going got tough. I got an appointment, I signed up, I started the process. It involved a lot of paperwork.

Fast forward to spring and it's time for me to apply to college. I chose Seneca College in Toronto, because Algonquin College in Ottawa was too far away to travel all the way up just to apply. Also, it was waitlisted. I applied, I was accepted, I thought this was great, even though I had to pay $100 to hold my seat. Could've been worse; the full fee is $400, but they understood that I hadn't gotten funding yet. Wasn't that nice of them?

Apparently they understood something I didn't. Namely, that in order to apply for funding for Second Career, you need to have an exact budget worked out. Exact. They refuse to fund estimates. I got this information after two or three days of running around asking for help. See, landlords don't particularly want to rent to random strangers on the basis of just their word. But the Second Career office in my area would not give me a letter saying I was even in the program. So I need an apartment in order to get funding, but I need funding in order to get an apartment.

Catch-22 much?

As if this wasn't bad enough, there's no guarantee I'll even get funding. Yep, I've gone through this whole process, paid out money I don't really have, and I just might get the funding. And they might not even tell me I have it until the day before the school year starts.

Dear Second Career: Is your sense of logic as far up your ass as your collective head? If I don't get this funding, I am fucked. My parents want me out and hell, I want out too. And what's this about a conditional agreement? Why would anyone want to take a chance when all I can tell them is that, well, if they agree to let me have the apartment, I'll send off a budget and hope I get the money to pay for it. If not, well, sorry, I wasted your time and mine.

I spoke to the local program leader last week and she told me that they could send a letter saying that I had been into the office. Today, I asked my employment counsellor to provide me with that letter, as it's better than nothing.

No answer. I sent the e-mail (because she never answers the phone) at around noon today, and no answer. Maybe I'll get one tomorrow, or maybe I'll have to call and demand to talk to the program leader. Again. I do not like making demands of essential strangers, but I'm losing patience here, and so are my parents, who are getting fed up of helping me out. I've sent a complaint to the ministry in charge of funding, we'll see if that even gets an answer.

My dad thinks I should go to our local MP and complain. Me, I started a blog. Maybe I can help someone else. And maybe putting this information out there will cause them to rethink it. If nothing else, it's a place for me to bitch to my heart's content.

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