Thursday, 16 August 2012

Gone Like Dust In The Wind

A year ago after a period of unemployment following a period of bullying at work, I had found a permanent job.  Whilst, my salary had fallen by £7000 and I had to work away from home only returning at the weekends, I was still earning enough to just pay the mortgage.  I had hoped that in time I would get a better paid job and work closer to home.  Yet, it has all gone the other way.  I am waiting for a job to send me a contract even three weeks after I accepted the post and the pay is £9000 less than what I earnt last year and £16000 less than my pay in 2010.  Last year my career seemed to be stuttering a little, but I believed I could get back on track once the economy improved or if I could get the right interview.  Now I have dropped back to a job and a salary of the kind that I have not had since 2001 when petrol was half the price per litre it is now and you could rent a flat for the price it costs to rent a single room now.  I am just about able to sell the house before the bank repossesses it, not helped by people lying and prevaricating around the sale; more on that later.  The woman and boy I have lived with for eight years now have to return to their family and I have to go back to living with my parents at the age of 44, my failure seems complete.  I know these are hard economic times, I know that I was persuaded to be optimistic when I should have been pessimistic and put the house up for sale the moment I was given a 'permament' job.  I am grateful at least that I have some family I can turn to.  However, I think that the hardest thing is the weariness.  So much of this has dragged on for months with a high price on my mental and physical health and I feel picked on, as I am sure most people do in these times.  I have not killed anyone or robbed from anyone, but because of bullies in the workplace I have lost everything.

The house.  Last month I outlined how we had effectively auctioned our house and how some of the people participating in the auction did so with no idea or very strong, but completely wrong, ideas about what they were participating in.  We accepted the highest bidder, getting the house for £45,000 less than we paid for it.  However, it turned out that she had lied to the estate agency.  No-one was supposed to be in the auction who was part of a chain and did not have cash immediately to buy the house.  This woman was in a chain and it broke, her buyer fell through.  With the building society slowly coming to protest the arrears on the mortgage we could not wait for her to sell her house again.  We knew from experience that this could take many months.  If we had been prepared to wait that long, then I would have pressed the woman who lives in my house to market it in January and we could have got closer to the price we were offered last year, £217,000 compared to the £195,000 we are now taking.  Anyway, we told the first bidder we could not wait for her and went to the second bidder who had offered £186,000, but he had now spent it on another house.  The third bidder was still interested so we are now down to accepting £182,000; flats in our street sell for £135,000, so he is getting a good deal for a 3-bedroomed house.  It was a hard decision, but we had to do it and even then, the three weeks we had lost while the first bidder mucked us around means that both me and the woman in my house and her son, all have a black mark about our credit ratings for the next 6 years.  This means, given I will be 50 by then, I will never have a mortgage again.  Worse than that though, given the credit checks that letting agencies run, neither me nor the woman cannot rent a house or flat unless it is through a social housing agency.  Hence us having to go to live back with our families.

You would have thought we would have been angry with the first bidder.  However, I am simply tired.  I am angry with so many people, not least the two line managers who have systematically wrecked my life simply because they enjoy being so petulant and indignant.  I can be angry with the human resources department, which not content with me leaving their employ, wrote, after I had been on unemployment benefits to five weeks to my job centre, saying, falsely, that I had made myself deliberately unemployed and needed to have my benefit stopped.  These things are checked when you first sign on and yet they were clearly indignant that I had been allowed to claim benefits and sought to prevent that.  They have 5000 employees to deal with, but clearly chasing after a former employee to stop him receiving £111 per week is deemed to be a proper use of their time.

Thus, I had no anger left for the first bidder who had lied and messed us around.  However, the same was not true for herself.  First she turned up on our doorstep to harangue us for 'breaking off' the 'agreement' to sell to her, even though no documents had been exchanged.  We did not let her in the house.  Yet she persisted, indignant that her plans had been put into disarray.  The estate agent selling her house was the next to visit us and in quieter tones asked us why we had shifted to another buyer.  We pointed out that given the lost time, if we did not, we would not have a house to sell as it would be repossessed.  It did not stop.  The woman sold her house and now got her husband or father to telephone to again to try to compel us to sell to the woman.  We explained that the sale was progressing with the third bidder.  I hope that is the end of it.  I know we live in a society in which if you are not angry, you are nothing, but given all that we have faced, to have someone who lied to us and wasted our time get angry at us, seems perverse.  However, as I well know now, my thinking is out of step with what is not only acceptable behaviour but expected behaviour in the UK nowadays.

I began this blog five years ago as a man who seemed dogged by nasty people.  However, I never would have envisaged that in that time I would be effectively barred from owning a house and my career would be wrecked and the closest thing I have to a family would be divided not through arguments but simply because of the behaviour of others and benefit regulations.  I warn you, in our world, in which people relish destroying others to occupy their coffee break, be aware that everything that you can be gone from you so quickly as if it never existed.

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