Posts by Emma Hart

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  • Speaker: I am a Really Useful Engine,

    We all have different comfort zones with this sort of thing, but some of us genuinely feel uncomfortable taking money for nothing, sitting around while someone else looks after us, or generally not appearing to work as hard as we could. This may be the sort of learned cultural hangup that my brothers blame on Presbyterianism.

    Are you me?

    Lilith linked to this on Facebook today, and it is also basically me. I have CFS. Some days, it’s all I can do to sit upright at my keyboard, and I feel lazy. I am constantly pissed off and anxious that I’m not Being Useful. I do sometimes work, though for terrible money, and I’ve reached the stage where I will call myself a “writer”, but dare not call myself an “author”.

    We define people by their jobs. If you don’t work, you don’t count. This despite the fact that our society is dependent on people working for free – just look at how much free labour parents donate to schools.

    I care about what people are passionate about, which might be their job, but often isn’t. I care about their politics and what art they enjoy. My mum worked part-time in the laundry of a geriatric hospital, which made her not very valued. But she was passionate about theatre and social justice, she taught English to the wives of immigrants and remedial reading to young boys and she was constantly being useful. I cannot escape her Protestant Work Ethic.

    I have to remind myself that the mostly unpaid work I have been able to do IS useful. That’s not easy.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4557 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Three Dreams,

    After my mum died, one of her friends got in touch to tell me she'd dreamed about Mum, and how wonderful it was, and I actually felt quite upset that I hadn't. Months later, I finally did dream about her for the first time since she died. I'd just given birth to twins, and she was telling me I must, urgently, go to Briscoes, because they had a sale on.

    My subconscious is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a total arsehole.

    I have never, ever had the Flying Dream. Starting to wonder if that's unusual.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4557 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Crowded houses,

    So I was in a Work and Income office the other day - something you can't do without photo ID, at least at my local branch. And a guy wandered up to the front desk and started telling his story, loudly and quite cheerfully. He'd been living rough. He couldn't get a benefit, because he didn't have an address. With no income, he couldn't get an address. So he tried to kill himself, which got him a bed in a psychiatric hospital.

    Now he'd been discharged, and was right back where he started. So he went into WINZ. They made him an appointment, at least. Their soonest appointment, which was for in two weeks' time. Then he can begin the process. But he doesn't have an address, and without an address...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4557 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: What Sorry Looks Like,

    LudditeJourno has a great piece up at The Hand Mirror too.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4557 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: What Sorry Looks Like, in reply to Dinah Dunavan,

    Hope that this will be a better forum for women to discuss their thoughts.

    I'm not sure 'better than the Standard' is anything to be proud of, but yeah, I will be moderating a bit more tightly than usual, given the emotional weight of the topic. It's a pretty easy call given how sick and anxious it's making me feel myself.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4557 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Cui bono?, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Thanks Hilary. So to add to that, Christchurch buses are 10-3 weekdays.

    And for those without the Gold Card, fares are increasing while the service degrades. They run the service down, fewer people use it, so the fares are increased to compensate, so fewer people use it...

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4557 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Cui bono?, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    That requirement to reconfirm an ASD or other permanent diagnosis went about a decade ago. They shouldn't be asking, but yours is not the only recent example I have heard about. I mentioned it to someone senior in MSD who didn't believe it was still happening.

    It's certainly still happening for Deaf people.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4557 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Cui bono?,

    A comment from another friend has made me remember something I really should have included: basic competence. The piles of contradictory letters. The losing of the important documents they've made you give them.

    When our children were little and we were living on an Invalid's Benefit because I was too sick to look after the kids, WINZ stole from us. We'd received payments we were perfectly entitled to. They sent us a letter telling us they were taking that money back - they'd already reached into our bank account and started taking it out. Now, we're smart articulate people and after a few days of furious phone calls we managed to get it sorted out. But there is such a high level of screw-up, and the stories I hear are all so similar, that it's clearly not just a couple of staff. It's the system itself.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4557 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Cui bono?,

    A friend has messaged me to let me know my stand-down periods in this post are wrong. I will edit the post, just as soon as I can get the site to freaking load that page. Stand-downs are here. Usually two weeks (though also they pay in arrears, so it's really three weeks), and can be thirteen weeks.

    She also says that removing the stand-down would save them having to collect information from previous employers, who often don't provide it in a 'timely manner'.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4557 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Let the big lies flow, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    And is $200 a week going to be enough

    No, it's not. It's a ridiculous amount. Yes, a Jobseeker Allowance is $210/week, but almost everyone also receives an Accommodation Supplement, because you cannot live on that. In Christchurch, it's up to $65/week, and in Auckland it's higher. I support a UBI - because of artists, the disabled and chronically ill, people leaving abusive relationships - but it MUST be enough to live on, or it's pointless.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4557 posts Report Reply

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