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Correspondence #2: Scary Solicitor People

Fucking humans

It shouldn’t go unnoticed to the three people who cast their eye over this blog while they have a spare half hour to sit on the toilet that I’ve had a few issues in the past when it comes to employment. For reasons completely unknown to science, I simply cannot settle on one job for more than a year before I resort to name-calling and back-scratching in order to contrive an escape.

Once, I took a job at Northern Rock bank and embarked on an ‘extensive training programme’ which consisted of sitting in a room for eight hours a day listening to a newly-divorced lady talk about mathematics while shoe-horning brief but eye-opening anecdotes about her failed marriage into the seminars. After a month of being trained on how to click the mouse fifty different times on various parts of a computer screen, the trainees were put into a ‘live’ setting on a busy department at the bank. All trainees were shadowed by an experienced member of the team as we learnt the ropes and took calls from enraged members of the public about why their shares were tumbling into oblivion. After receiving about four hundred calls over the course of two hours relating to how much of a bastard I was simply because I was an employee, I politely asked my supervisor if I could use the bathroom then went to get the next bus home. Not long after that Northern Rock went under so, needless to say, I had the last laugh.

Anyway, in the early part of this year I was still very much in a state of flux. That is to say I was in a state of constant change and instability within my working life, and not, as I presume one would expect, part of a rectangular-shaped compartment with three flashing Geissler-style tubes arranged in a “Y” configuration, the unit of which makes time travel possible and is the core component of the DeLorean time machine. I’m not that but I was still, at age 34, struggling to make sense of my professional life.

At the time I was working at a place in the Northumberland wilderness where I’d took on a role as ‘assistant to the assistant in charge of assisting with cleaning pint glasses’. With such stressful responsibility it was only matter of time before I viciously imploded like when the Ghostbusters crossed the streams and all life as they knew it stopped instantaneously and every molecule in their bodies exploded at the speed of light.

Not long after I’d walked the plank, I received my final pay and P45 then followed a rather aggressive-sounding letter in the post from my former employer’s solicitor which stated I’d been overpaid. I was impressed at how quickly they caved at my response. Maybe my correspondence gave them a headache they just couldn’t be bothered to deal with. To be fair, my girlfriend quite often expresses exasperation at my conversations with her so I can understand it. 

 

Don't fuckin' do it again and give me the money. Give me the fuckin' money, You hear me? You hear me, I gotta come here and you bust my balls? Give me the fuckin' money.

Don’t fuckin’ do it again and give me the money. Give me the fuckin’ money, You hear me? You hear me, I gotta come here and you bust my balls? Give me the fuckin’ money.

________________________________________

Your ref: D/HS/T******

Chris James Peet

Jun 29

to

to james.e, jane.d

Dear Scary Solicitor People…

Many thanks for your threatening letter which was lying in wait for me when I returned from my annual trip to Mordor.

I understand you are acting on behalf of F****** P*** Ltd who have instructed you in relation to the recovery of the sum of £417.66 which was apparently paid in error into my bank account. I must confess that I was surprised that my former employers were terminating a contract of employment that didn’t actually physically exist as a contract of employment. It appeared the general terms of this make-believe contract amounted to ‘we’ll make this up as we go along’ so to receive a phone call to confirm that this imaginary agreement was to be terminated was something of a relief. Despite it not existing. I was informed during this phone call that I’d be receiving all due monies including any accrued holiday entitlement as well as my P45 and final payslip. Standard.

A few days later I returned home to find a recorded delivery note from Postman Pat on my doorstep so I sprinted as fast as I could to the post office thinking it was the lightsaber I had ordered online at 3am after drinking two litres of Buckfast. Imagine my disappointment when I discovered it was simply a letter confirming that I was not wanted at F****** P*** anymore, and that I’d be receiving all due monies including any accrued holiday entitlement as well as my P45 and final payslip. This jarring black and white realisation of my abandonment caused me to re-establish my relationship with Buckfast.

Three days later I awoke to a loud knock at the door. It was Postman Pat again but during my wild Buckfasting I had accidentally locked myself in the bathroom with only a rubber duck for company. I named him Ben and we became firm friends. (He is assisting me with this letter). Having escaped my water closet prison, I discovered that Postman Pat had left me another recorded delivery note so once again I hightailed it to the post office – my trusty sidekick Ben accompanying me – so I could finally get my hands on my lightsaber. Unfortunately it was simply my P45. Another damning finality of unemployment. Strangely, however, there was no payslip included. This didn’t bother me one iota as everything is run by the machines these days and I simply decided to check Skynet to find out what my final pay off would be. Cyberdyne Systems Model 101 informed me that there were in fact two payments into my account. Not having a payslip to refer to, I simply concluded that one payment was hours worked and the other was holidays accrued including all of the Bank Holidays that I worked during my fleeting time there.

Unfortunately, and despite my former employer’s mandate of sending everything recorded delivery to ensure they’re personally hand delivered by the aforementioned Postman Pat, I received no correspondence – not even a phone call – about an overpayment and simply used my final pay to order two more lightsabers and pay off most of my rent thinking nothing of it. So, as you can imagine, this has come as something of a shock. It’s lucky I was sitting on the toilet when I opened your letter.

However, because of the machines being in charge of everything, I have on demand mathematical skills and used a “calculator” to “calculate” what my holiday pay should have been. According to the Gov.uk website holiday entitlement calculator, I accrued 42.20 hours of leave which comes to just over 5 days which, on an 8 hour day and minus 2 days that I took, amounts to £360. This includes the three Bank Holidays I worked which I was promised I’d get back as leave. And you can’t break promises can you? Again, I have no payslip for comparative purposes so I expect you to correct me if I’m wrong. And will look forward to a hearty debate. So as you can see there has been an overpayment of £57.66, which I acknowledge.

Unfortunately, as I am now unemployed because of the termination of my imaginary contract, I have no income. I will, however, compromise, and can offer you a repayment plan of a pound a year for the next 58 years. (I am generously rounding up). I will deliver this pound coin personally to my former employers on the anniversary of my make believe contract termination.

I trust this settles the matter.

Kind regards,

Chris

________________________________________

Jane. D

Jun 30

to

me

Dear Mr Peet,

We have referred this to our client and having discussed this further we will not be pursuing our claim for repayment in this instance.

Yours faithfully,

H******** & Co.

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Rejection Letter #3

I don’t like applying for jobs. Over the past 5 years I think I’ve applied for roughly 4,000,000 jobs of varying pay scales and responsibilities. Usually I cut and paste the same spiel into each application, often forgetting to change the company name at the top of the covering letter. I tend not to last too long in jobs simply because I am too lazy. Getting up early in the morning in order to spend your day pretending to like the people you work with is exhausting.

About 15 years ago when I worked for the Inland Revenue, I was moved to a different section roughly once a week with each team leader a clone of the overall ubergruppenfuhrer of the department which meant I was constantly having to meet and make small talk with other zombies in the building. I’d get so fed up with it all that I used to wander off to the toilet for whole hours at a time playing snake on my Nokia 3210 and counting how many times the handle door would move from employees wanting to use the facilities. I continued this for a while until my supervisor figured out what I was up to and began timing my trips to the lavatory. If I was longer than 5 minutes in the toilet, she would deduct it all from my flexi-time. The morning after I’d been out for beers and a curry ensured that I was forced to work until 3am the next day in order to make up my time but these things happen.

 

________________________________________

On 5 May 2015, at 10:22, christine.*********@ncl.co.uk wrote:

Further to your application for the above post.  This email is to inform you that the vacancy is for a 40% FTE post only.  If you are no longer interested in this vacancy would you please let me know and I will withdraw your application.

Many thanks

Christine

________________________________________

Chris James Peet

May 5

to Christine

Dear Christine,

Many thanks for your email. I am pleased my application got past the initial ‘what on earth is this drivel?’ stage and has progressed to the ‘he’ll withdraw if it’s part time saving us lots of extra administrative work’ stage.

While I was aware that the position was only part time, I wasn’t fully sure as to how part time it would be. I did the maths on the calculator on the watch I got for Christmas and worked out that the yearly salary would be approximately £6,500 which, according to buck-faced poverty enforcer Iain Duncan Smith, is more than enough to live on.

With that in mind I am still very much interested in this vacancy as I plan on supplementing this potential income with several small monthly lottery wins.

I hope to hear from you in the nearest of futures.

Kindest regards,
Chris

Sent from my iPhone

________________________________________

On 5 May 2015, at 13.14, christine.*********@ncl.co.uk wrote:

Chris,

Thanks for your continued interest in this role. Your application will remain on file and we will be in touch regarding your suitability.

There has been a high amount of interest for this vacancy and while we cannot respond to each application we receive, we will be contacting successful applicants individually via email during this application process.

Many thanks

Christine

________________________________________

Chris James Peet

May 5

to Christine

Dear Christine,

Many thanks for responding to my application individually.

Including me on a list of successful applicants is glorious news and I have shared my current application status on Facebook to my friends and family. So far I’ve had 4 likes and one comment from a UKIP-voting Facebooker who I thought I’d blocked. He always posts elongated rants about wanting to leave the EU which doesn’t make any sense to me at all given how often he holidays in Southern France. I hope to reach 11 likes by teatime today at which point I’ll send you an email with a link to my profile. Don’t be alarmed by my profile picture. Despite the uncanny resemblance I’m not a Japanese snow monkey relaxing in a hot tub playing on an iPhone.

I look forward to hearing from you regarding interview dates, times and dress code. I plan on purchasing a brand new suit for the interview like the one Jim Carrey wore so well in The Dumb and Dumbers

Kindest regards,

Chris

________________________________________

On 5 May 2015, at 16.01, christine.*********@ncl.co.uk wrote:

Hi Chris,

Please be aware we are still currently reviewing all applications and a list of interviewees has yet to be drawn up. Should you be invited to interview then we will contact you in due course.

Many thanks

Christine

________________________________________

Chris James Peet

May 5

to Christine

Dear Christine,

Thank you for keeping me up to date with application process, and I appreciate you informing me of my impending interview before you’ve compiled the interviewee list.

This reassures me that you believe me to be a good fit in the Newcastle University Sports Department team and in the past I have been known to be rather erratic when dealing with other members of the team who rub me up the wrong way. Once, an ex-work colleague took over 10 minutes to make me a cup of tea and when she handed it to me it had lipstick on the rim. I told this to a good friend of mine who I worked with and he agreed it was appalling behaviour so we spent the majority of the day quietly cutting small chunks of her hair off behind her back as she surfed eBay buying second hand clothes. By the end of the day she had quite a sizeable chunk of her hair missing. I’d also destroyed part of the printer by viciously booting it after it said it had printed out a PDF of Lord Of The Rings which I was stealing off the internet because I didn’t want to be seen buying a hard copy in public. We both agreed that it had been a brilliant day.

Thanks again for inviting me to interview. I can’t wait to get started.

Kindest regards,

Chris

Job Centre Waiting Area

Several years ago when I was addicted to unemployment, my general existence consisted of signing on every week for the chirpy folk in the DWP Illuminati in order to get my weekly ration of spit and bile then be talked at by someone who would slowly and methodically outline my failings as a human being simply because they happened to be paying income tax and I wasn’t.

I subconsciously improved my vocabulary in elaborate swearing based on the amount of general expletives in the air, and the collective atmosphere in the job centre was something that brought to mind being part of a cult whereby every one of us knew a suicide pact would soon be coming to fruition. It was a jovial little community to be a part of and included a smorgasbord of the great and the good from a small section of England’s underclass.

One week, having turned up on time at the correct job centre, I got a dressing down off one of the DWP fuhrers for being too punctual. Moments after I was castigated and hauled off to sit in the holding pen with the other non-conformists, a bloke dressed in a Newcastle United football kit sat next to me drinking from a can of McEwan’s Best Scotch with another bag full nestled comfortably at his feet. He offered me one in what I could only describe as a desperate show of unemployable solidarity. Attempting to maintain my rigid exterior of confident underclass chic, I declined citing flamboyant bowel movements, and he simply shrugged and continued chugging.

I kind of admired his balls-out brazenness in a mindless sort of way until he let out a discreet burp in which a calm gust of hot alcohol breath violently plundered my nostrils causing me to quietly dry heave under my breath for several minutes. To this day I can’t look at a can of McEwan’s Best Scotch without developing symptoms similar to that of a stroke.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wonder what’s happened to him though.

Job Centre Waiting Area

(Observations from the dole queue)

The Bitter Benefits Adviser

The adviser sits behind her desk
And deals with all the unemployed.
She finds this part of work grotesque;
She hopes she won’t get too annoyed.
A different face on different days,
All with troubles much the same.
She must advise that working pays
And offer guidance with their claim.
But she cannot summon strength
To interact with the inane.
She keeps this rabble at arm’s length,
And holds her nose high with disdain,
For they all want to sit and waste
Their lives just living off the state.
It leaves a bitter aftertaste;
Why can’t they just pull their weight?
Get employment; earn their keep.
Stop scrounging off hard working folk.
Her taxes pay for scum this cheap,
This welfare state is such a joke.

The Unlucky Jobseeker

Bless his heart, he tries his best;
His rejection letters will attest.
Punctual, smart and very keen;
Always heard but never seen,
For he can’t get one interview
And on the dole for now he’ll stew.
He’ll sign each week and won’t forget
His mantra: ‘I’ll be a worker yet!’

The Riff Raff

He’ll saunter in an hour late
Dressed in tracksuit, cap and shoes.
Unkempt and loud and quite the state,
Reeking of three-day-old booze.
He doesn’t care to find employment,
In fact, to him, this is a job.
Full time work brings no enjoyment;
He stays at home: a benefit slob.


The Carefree One

Unemployed but none’s the worry,
Just a victim of misfortune.
It’s early days. There’s no hurry;
Unemployed but none’s the worry.
Jobs tend to come all in a flurry,
Something good will crop up soon.
Unemployed but none’s the worry,
Just a victim of misfortune.

The Over 50

The over fifty is calm and meek;
He knows he’s worth a rightful role.
He’s worked for years, six days a week,
Never having seen the dole.
Retirement is just in sight,
Even minimum wage would do.
Redundancy was such a fright,
For now he hopes he’ll muddle through.

He takes his place at the back of the queue.


The First Time Unemployed

Dismissive and above it all
With no time for this rigmarole.
‘I’ll be back in work inside a week’ –
The only words he cares to speak.
Twelve months on and still no joy;
He’s anxious, broke and paranoid,
And cursed as long-term unemployed.

The Conflicted Part Time Worker

Nervously he’ll sit and wait…
He must create a good smokescreen.
Declared five hours but worked sixteen;
He needs to get his story straight.

Terrified they’ll burst his bubble;
He sweats, he lies then signs his name.
Next week he’ll stop this stressful game
Is it really worth the trouble?

His poverty requires it so;
His morals simply tell him: ‘no’


The Sympathetic Benefits Adviser

The adviser sits behind her desk
And deals with all the unemployed
She finds this part of work a test –
But work that she will not avoid.
So many different faces here;
With each she talks their problems through.
She reassures, and with little fear
Exclaims: ‘There’s work out there for you!’
For she once sat on that other side,
Hopeless and with meagre aid,
Many nights she lay and cried:
The cuts were called, and cuts were made.
These days it’s true some want to spend
Their time resisting daily grind.
It’s hard for her, she can’t defend
The attitudes of the disinclined.
But most just want to earn a keep
The desperate and the poorest folk
Are hurt the most; their lives are cheap:
This welfare state is such a joke


Written in late 2011 on the back of cereal box with a burnt out match because I couldn’t afford a notepad. Or a quill.

Rejection Letter #2

At the turn of the year I applied for a position as a copywriter at a student placement company based on the Gateshead side of the quayside in Newcastle. I’d never heard of them but applied because the walk from the bus to the job would only have taken me an hour which I could probably have claimed back as a business expense. I absent-mindedly applied and received the offer of an interview followed by a request to complete several written exercises. At the time I was heavily into watching Breaking Bad so there’s definitely a chance that several references to methamphetamine use, murder and hair loss caused by treatment for an aggressive form of lung cancer could have made their way into the copy. I suspect this was the reason that my offer of an interview was subsequently withdrawn. That and the fact I sent a friend request on Facebook to all the employees of the company, including Rachel with whom I corresponded, and an accompanying email for us all to meet up for drinks prior to my interview. A lot of them were appalled. I was just being pro-active. Some people need to lighten up.

I’m still waiting for Rachel to confirm my friend request.

 

On Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 11:58 AM, Rachel P<rachel@*********.com> wrote:

Hi Chris,

We’ve had a chance to read through your written exercises.

We’ve had a huge amount of applications for this role, and unfortunately we have had a number of other applications that are more appropriate to our brand images and promises. I will therefore have to withdraw the offer of the interview.

Please accept my sincere apologies and my best wishes for your future job hunt.

Kind regards,

Rachel.

PA to Director
________________________________________

Chris James Peet

Jan 19
to Rachel

Dear Rachel,

This is truly upsetting news. Luckily I wasn’t up a tall tree or crossing a busy road when I read your email as that could have been quite disastrous.

I do indeed accept your sincere apologies. It’s unfortunate that I don’t fit with your brand image and promises; though I must confess that’s something of a relief as judging by the homepage of your website your brand image seems to suggest a cataclysmic apocalypse of some sort.

I will, however, thank you for the opportunity of emailing you a couple of times, and allowing me to sharpen my getting-prepared-for-an-interview-that-isn’t-actually-going-to-happen skills.

The only thing I will say is that I’d already purchased a rail ticket, a new boiler suit and bowler hat specifically for this interview which has left me substantially out of pocket. I’m presuming you still have a copy of my CV so if you could just send a cheque payable to me to the address on it then that would be very much appreciated. The grand total for these items is £9.30.

Once again I thank you for your ambiguous correspondence. It’s been a slice.

Yours heartbrokenly,

Chris James Peet

________________________________________

On Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 3:01 PM, Rachel P <rachel@*********.com> wrote:

Hi Chris,

We do not reimburse travel costs associated with initial interviews, which is pretty standard practise.

Kind regards,

Rachel.

________________________________________

Chris James Peet

Jan 19

to Rachel
Dear Rachel,

What about the cost of the boiler suit and bowler hat? I bought these specifically so I could comfortably adhere myself to the general branding of your company.

I expected to wear these for both work and my extracurricular activities such as interpretive dance and woo-ing so a refund would be appreciated.

Regards,

Chris

________________________________________

On Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 4:36PM, Rachel P <rachel@*********.com>wrote:

Chris,

As I have already explained, we will not be refunding any expenses, travel or otherwise. I apologise once again and wish you luck in your job hunt.

 

Kind regards,

Rachel.

________________________________________

Chris James Peet

Jan 19

to Rachel
Dear Rachel,

Will you be my friend on Facebook?

Kind regards,
Chris

 

Rejection Letter #1

Before I took up employment at my current position where my job generally consists of wandering from room to room with a pen in my hand, shooting annoying customers in the back with two gun-shaped hands, and sighing, I was actively looking for work (as opposed to inactively) and I sent approximately 4000 job applications over the course of 8 weeks. The majority of them were ignored or rejected flat out but occasionally I’d get a wonderfully convoluted rejection such as this. I reckon Facebook had been blocked at Durham Uni and Kirsten was just bored.

Durham University – Recruitment Team

Jun 25

to me

Dear Chris,

Re: University Retail Assistant, Reference number: 4705

The closing date for this position has now passed and we note on our recruitment system that you have not submitted your application. Your details have therefore been removed from our system for this post.

We would like to thank you for your interest and hope that you would consider future vacancies at Durham University.

Regards
Durham University Recruitment Team

NB – This email and any files transmitted with it are intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.  The above information is confidential to the addressee and may be privileged.  Unauthorised access and use is prohibited.

If you are not the intended recipient please delete.

________________________________________

Chris James Peet

AttachmentsJun 25

to Durham

Dear Durham University Recruitment  Team,

Many thanks for your confusing email.

I see that the closing date for this position has now passed and note on my recruitment page that I did actually submit my application on or around 3rd June, as you can see from the attached screen grab of my account. If you could therefore restore my details to your system and consider my application for this post then that would be most dandy.

Kindest of regards,

Chris

Click to enlarge!

________________________________________

SHALE K.

Jun 25

to me

Dear Chris

Unfortunately you did not complete and submit the application matrix as requested in the advert, therefore your application was incomplete and not considered for the position.

Kind regards
Kirsten

Kirsten Shale
HR Business Support Administrator (Social Sciences & Health)

________________________________________

Chris James Peet

AttachmentsJun 25

to SHALE

Dear Shale. K,

Many thanks for your swift response.

However, I must take umbrage with your suggestion that I didn’t complete the matrix. I’ve seen the trilogy three times and the original film twice; once in a heightened state of confusion when I wandered into the wrong cinema screening thinking I was going to see Star Wars Episode 1: Planet Menace, and instead sat for two hours wondering why there was no Jedi Master Yogi in it, and wondering how Keanu Reeves had landed a starring role in Star Wars without anyone knowing. I did enjoy it though. My favourite bit was when they were in the matrix.

As requested, I’ve attached an image of Keanu in action in the Matrix. I’ve also attached proof of my submitted evidence matrix. It took me three days to complete which is very efficient but it doesn’t have Keanu in it unfortunately. I’ve entitled it ‘Cats’ so there’s no confusion.

I expect my application will now be reconsidered.

Kind regards,

Chris

The Matrix

The Matrix

Cats

Cats

________________________________________

SHALE K.

Jun 26

to me

Dear Chris

Many thanks for confirming you attached the application matrix to your online application, however it is not completed with the detail the department require.

Best wishes

Kirsten
________________________________________

Chris James Peet

Jun 26

to SHALE

Dear Kirsty,

Many thanks for your delayed response.

I understand that it may not have been completed to the standard you require. When I realised that I had to fill in a separate sheet of information about my skills and duties for a position that my alcoholic, 90 year old, wheelchair bound next door neighbour could do with minimal supervision, I opted to get my alcoholic, 90 year old, wheelchair bound next door neighbour to complete it instead. I didn’t bother to check it before I sent it as this would require more effort than working as a retail assistant.

I am glad that we eventually got to the real reason of why my application wasn’t considered despite your previous emails and their tendency to be a bit flagrant with the truth.

I wish you well in your chosen career.

Kind regards,
Chris