Josh Adcock is an obedient chap, so when Esther McVey told him and other graduates to “get a job at Costa“, he obliged. So Josh is now one of the overqualified Costa baristas, taking an unskilled job from the unskilled while the job he wants is done by an overworked and understaffed team somewhere. Josh has agreed to share with us how he managed to land the fantastic opportunity.
By Josh Adcock
The news is in. The economy is in recovery. The economy officially grew by 0.8% in the first quarter of 2014 (huzzah! All hail George Osborne!). The government has confirmed that it will withhold JSA from anyone who has been unemployed for more then two years who does not attend a jobseekers’ meeting every single day, the ungrateful sods. This seems perfectly reasonable, if you consider how much revenue all the privatised bus and train companies have lost, up until now, in the potential ticket sales lost from jobless, feckless, scroungers going in to the job centre only once every two weeks.
Jobseekers will also be obliged to take job offers with zero-hours contracts, lest they feel the righteous fury of the taxpayer, the treasury, and the employed, and thereby lose their precious £56 per week. The solution? Get a job, scum. And why not get a job with a company which can soak up all of you benefits-subsisting jobseekers: Costa.
The caffeine giant now opens three new stores every week, and there are now so many that surely the only reason anyone could possibly have for not being employed is their own inherent laziness, or an inexplicable aversion to lattes. Even you, proud graduates, rather than holding out for a graduate-level job which would make use of the skills and knowledge you gained in those three booze and lecture-filled years, should find a low-paid caffeine distribution function, instead of blaming the government for your dire predicament.
Unlike all the jobseekers with their heads in the clouds, I have submitted to the call of the coalition, and have forsaken all hopes of a quick ascension on the graduate career ladder. I am a graduate, and I am a Costa Coffee Barista. I am here to guide you through the world of under-employment, in the hopes that you shall answer the call of Employment Minister Esther McVey, and follow in my footsteps.
My journey began with the Job Centre. As a self-respecting individual, I wanted to get off the JSA. Not because I found the £56 per week insufficient. Not because I found the fortnightly meetings demeaning. No. Not that, at all. I was ashamed to be subsisting on the tax-payer, an evil visited on us by socialists and beard-stroking intellectuals. I heard that vacancies would soon be opening up at one of the Costas in town, so I spoke to the manager, and my journey began. First I undertook a trial shift. It seemed to go well. Then, I waited for the phone call, which came two days later.
It went something like this:
“Hello? Yes, this is the manager, we thought you did very well on your trial shift, and we’d like to give you the job.”
“Woohoo! When do I start?”
“The end of the week.”
The next day:
“Hello? This is the manager at Costa. I’m afraid we made a mistake. We already hired someone else for the position I called you about yesterday. Very sorry. Go away and live your miserable little life somewhere far from my sight, you puny worm.”
The last part may have been distorted in my memory: I can’t imagine any benevolent employer saying something like that, so I must have imagined it in my jobseeker mindset. I was, needless to say, disappointed that I had not proven myself worthy to leave the benefits system. But, undeterred, I left a message with the manager, begging to know if something came up. The manager called again a week later, to say that a third person was now required. So I had a job. An honest-to-God job, three years after starting university, in a privately owned, highly profitable business, on an hourly wage just a smidgen over the legal minimum, but one which pays about as much in one shift as JSA pays in a week. Why did I not tell them to stuff their job up their metaphorical coffee grinder? I wanted to get off JSA, I wanted to pay off my student overdraft and I wanted to learn to drive, and to do that I had to swallow my pride. So I started the following Friday.
Anyone who wants a low-paid job with Costa or similar need only swallow any pride they still have and be willing to beg for a job. And there are plenty of jobs going with Costa. At least, plenty going for those with the right experience: I must admit that we often get inadequate individuals coming into our store asking about vacancies, handing in their grubby little CVs. Sadly, most of them sit on a shelf for several months before being forgotten about and eventually buried in paperwork or, I would presume, eventually being thrown out. Most of these people are woefully under-qualified for a job pouring liquids from one container to another, heating liquids and moving chairs, tables, and boxes of solids-soon-to-become-liquids: degrees in art, business, finance, tourism, hospitality, work experience at TV production studios, restaurants, fashion retailers and so on, all turn up sooner or later. Yet none of these people seem to understand, for some reason, that if you don’t have several years of experience in a public-facing role in a shop, restaurant, pub or cafe involving interacting with customers and working shop, then you’re just not worthy of earning just above minimum wage.
Still, none of that should be a barrier to getting a job: I got a job with Costa, so I can only conclude that people choose to not have the right experience. Although it actually wasn’t that easy for me; but that’s obviously down to bad luck and my own incompetence, and is not due to any systematic flaw in the jobs market or professional incompetency on the part of employers, anywhere, ever. It’s all the jobseekers fault. Forever. Praise Cameron that I’m no longer one of them.