No Rest For the Wicked


I just received a letter in which, neatly marked in blue, it says that I am obligated to follow an "orientation course" for 5 half days. I have to inform you that I can not attend this course, for the following reasons:

-I have to work. I have been working for the past 3 years with day-to-day contracts, legally and correctly, and more importantly, registered.
-I have already followed this course. I remember the conclusion being, that I would be most suited to work as a "verger". Soon after, I joined the army.
-I do not receive replacement income, so obligations such as this, are pretty much inappropriate. Take on top of that, the hours that I work in a day, at a minimum wage, through weekends, holidays and nights without a cent extra, and you can surely imagine that situations like these come over as harassing.

I know that you can do very little about this, and this certainly is not intended as a personal attack. I simply hope that the office responsible can be informed and we can maybe reach a compromise.

With friendly greets,
Maarten De Pue

This email was a (translated) response I sent after receiving yet another letter from the unemployment office. They tend to assume that, being registered as unemployed, I get replacement income and they can fuck me around all they want. Tough cookies, dickweed.
You might notice I was exceptionally formal and friendly here. That is because I am very aware that they really don’t need my shit. They get mouthed off by the marginal half of Belgium all the time, and I don’t think anyone realizes that they didn’t spontaneously decided to bug you, let alone with this crap. They probably hate it just as much as you do, and  don’t appeaciate their position as piss pole.

Nevertheless, I wanted to have my opinion known. I’m fucking sick and goddamn tired of this "obligatory" bullshit they want to throw in my face.
There. That feels good.

(4 days later I got an email back saying that I won’t be contacted for things like this, anymore. Could this be the time to start asking for money again?)


Few things in life are as horrible as waking up. I don’t like going to sleep either, possibly for this reason alone. When my alarm goes off, I instantly turn emo.
"It’s raining balls, I want to die."
"It’s so damn cold, I’m going to turn around and sleep forever."
The only exception to this is when I got to sleep out. However, ironically, I still don’t want to go to bed the night before.

Anyway. As holy as sleep might be experienced as, in my line of work you often run short of it, for sometimes weeks in a row. If you can sleep out, you sleep until the afternoon so you won’t be able to go to bed in time to be sufficiently rested for the next day of work. And no, setting an alarm won’t work. If I have no immediate reason to get up, you won’t ever get me out of bed.

So now and then, you have to resort to more desperate measures. If you thought sleeping on the job is for workaholic businessmen compensating for their bursting marriage using their secretary, think again. This week I’ve been camping at Graspop Metal Meeting, during the building of the main stage. I get one day off, which is today, and then I’m off again to work as followspotter for Judas Priest and KISS, collecting sleep like kindling to stay somewhat focused.

I don’t mind, though. The girlfriend is off to Greece with her friends, and I have nothing else to do. If not entertaining, the experience is interesting at least. I have great colleagues I can hang out with, so in a sense it’s vacation as well as work. I love it like this: No problems on your mind, knowing that you’re making money without spending any, leaving your daily worries at home. I’m good at what I do, and so they like having me there. Where better could you be?


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