Monday 23 October 2017

This is what it feels like to be 'signing on'

• This week, for the first time, I joined the dreaded dole queue. I have been lucky enough in my two years since graduating to have been in full-time work as a teacher (one of those years in London) and it was with regret that I filed into the social welfare office.

Many of my friends had tried to explain to me the feelings that hit you the minute you walk in the door. I honestly had not believed them until I had to go through it myself.

I automatically had the urge to keep my head down and not be spotted; God forbid that someone I know would see me trying to claim off the State. The scene in front of me was almost like the set-up of a sociological experiment.

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