Jimmy Stirling’s DWP Diary: A man’s a man for a’ that


61-year-old Jimmy Stirling continues his search for work

I AM Jimmy Stirling, a 61-year-old unemployed graphic designer, photographer and musician, single grandfather and social housing tenant living in Glasgow.

I receive Jobseeker’s Allowance of PS50 per week and have a very small pension payment of just under PS25 per week. I do voluntary work for my neighbouring community and look after one of my granddaughters for two days per week.

I was recently conscripted to take part in the UK Government’s Community Work Programme, where I would be forced to work for my Jobseeker’s Allowance, which I see as slave labour.

This not volunteering, this is not being paid a wage, this is conscription.

I am against this terrible programme and this is my experience in trying to avoid a six-month, 30-hours-per-week sentence just to juggle the government’s statistics to make them look good.

Below is my latest diary update. You can read the others here.


24 January 2016

I signed on last Wednesday. I was asked how the job hunting was going and if I’d had any interviews. I said that I’d had no interviews and that I had applied for around 35 jobs in the past week with various job titles.

Most job applications are through recruitment agencies so it is very rare to actually get a reply never mind an interview.

No mention of a sanction so I carry on, I am not going to ask what happened. I hope that it is in the past now although I am not going to tempt fate.

I did comment to my Partick Thistle-supporting work coach that Dundee were three goals up in the space of 15 minutes. He said that they were given too much space. There is always plenty of space at Firhill, I retorted.

I see others in my neighbourhood who are unemployed or supposedly sick or supposedly carers. I am genuinely looking for work, looking for a job that suits my skills and abilities.

Many have told me my age will go against me and I am well aware of that. Of course, the older you get the more cynical you get and see thing quite differently from others because you have experienced life and seen a lot of it before.

You can’t really ‘network’ because you are never in these networking circles. You feel much more alone than others. Some of the job descriptions are so full of ‘recruitment speak’ that it puts you off or you simply can’t understand some of it.

I hate being tarred with the scrounger brush, it is easy to for people to say this but everyone has different individual circumstances.

As our national bard wrote: “A man’s a man for a’ that.”

Picture courtesy of Andrew_Writer