Jonathan Bright

Market Value: An Ode To Jobseeking (2012)

Your market value holds no value for the market
It’s like they put you on some X-factor-esque journey you never started and now you’re carsick
I can say I spit arsenic but that wouldn’t get me a job when I’m seen as a slob
Until I show you my motherfucking chain gleaming with a new Clubcard key fob.

And here we are sitting, like, remarkably calm
The Britishness within us calls it out, but never to arms
We stay stifled – we never pick up a rifle
But for the egg on their faces we’d keep a custard pie full
So now, mine was spending most of last year without a job
I was admittedly out of my depth before
that actually wasn’t a job I’d grown sour of
But I believe a man’s entitled to his happiness
And i attest to the relief I felt the moment I left
I thought: “OK that’s that, and that’s all in the past now
And finally I can live for the moment.”
Except that I can’t now.

I joined the jobseekers on their bum-softened seats and
Waited to be berated and slated for not having a job either
It’s ether – breathe it in and it’ll disorientate you as a policy
To keep you under the auspices of aimless dizzying bureaucracy
You don’t understand what the actual plan is and that’s the way it’s got to be
To keep you in the firing line for yet another useless bollocking.

Now, for me, I’m an educated man
Aware of the grand plan that keeps a person subservient just because he needs a sandwich
It’s even easier if they’re not too good with the language, but do they help?
No they let them simmer in anguish
I want a lavish lifestyle just like the rest of us and I guess it was pretty fun while the year lasted
I may have had some turbulent times but I had a blast with
The people I hold most dear and few others who were newly chartered
We partied – I couldn’t afford it but they all stumped it up
That’s my mates – and when the bass began we pumped it up.

But there’s always something up with being unemployed
You don’t consider the negative energy getting you progressively more annoyed
And every news story’s telling me that I’m bringing down the country
Letting those people who are working spend a lot more on their lunch meat
It didn’t bother me per se, but then again you can’t ignore it
Meanwhile the onus is on another banker’s bonus soaring
But what’s more is you do not want the bankers leaving the country
Or you’re going to find that no one can afford their soaring lunch meat
No one ever knew or recorded what the bankers make
And it got confused in some national mass debate
About a whole other set of dudes that we refuse to thank
But I tell ya this for nothing – man, I love a good bank
But mostly you can’t – and they’re hitting the poor guy with admin fines
While he’s pandering to their kinder side on a premium phoneline
And all he does is sighs because then he finds
He’s getting caught short like not so sly traders betting on declines.

But that’s by the by I now find potential employers sympathetic
When they see the stress you could be under, but you don’t let it, and what’s more
I found something I wanted to do so now I’m making progress
With a smile on my face I proudly told the benefits office
Who told me back: “Well done it’s exactly what we would have wanted
So now you been sponging so long I think it’s now time we stop it”
“Whoa! Hang on there, poppet.
I got a whole month in this new office before I’m back in the funds
Did it not occur to you, the supposed experts of work and personnel that they don’t tend to pay you for the work you haven’t yet done?”
Seriously, are they being funny?
They think I’ll go a whole damn month with zero fucking money.
And once again I’m having to scrape off my lunch meat
Could we not keep our previous arrangement even for just a couple of weeks?
I understand that you’re worried about overpayment
But I’m willing to take the risk so I’m not kicked out of my accommodation
Anyway, I realised how much I missed of the morning rush bit
And now I’ve got a job again I’m weirdly loving getting stuck in it
Found I’m happier now, no McDonald’s scraps but man I’m loving it
So thanks be due, and with little thanks to you Mr Government.

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