Am I working?

The government doesn’t think that I am!

Each year I am rung by the Government Office for national statistics who are doing a survey on the changes in the UK’s workforce and training.  They must have caught me at a public spirited moment 5 years ago.  This is the last year they say they will ring-Hurrah!  Each year it’s the same questions, each year as I put down the phone I feel like I’ve been interrogated as to why I am not looking for a job.  It’s because I already have one I say.

The bombardment of questions always starts in the same way. ‘How many hours of paid work have you done in the week preceding the xth of Feb?’ and my answer is none.  I am then asked if I would like to work and I say ‘I’m already working’.  I’m then asked why I’m not look for a job, I say that I already have a job and we go round and round in circles.  There isn’t a box to tick for Non-Stipendiary clergy you see.  At best I am classed as a volunteer, but the inference in the line of questioning is that I should be out there looking for a job.  The poor questioner gets exasperated because there isn’t a box to tick and can’t understand why I should want to work for what amounts to a full week for no pay. It can’t possibly be classed as work because I am not paid.  It must be a hobby or a past time.  No I say. I am contracted to do a full weeks work, this is not a hobby, I just don’t get paid and largely that has been my choice.

It does worry me how much we value a person on whether they are economically active or not.  It does irritate that by the end of the survey I feel as though I’ve been ticked off for not trying to get a job. 

By the way I love this hobby of mine.  I love that I don’t have to do it too!

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