Your Problems Solved, With Holly Harper

Dear Holly,
I recently joined a government ‘Back to
Work’ programme which was intended to stop me claiming benefits and
start actually being a productive member of society, whatever that
means. I was under the impression that this would be a positive step
forward for me, but it turns out that not only am I expected to
actually get out of bed and get dressed in the morning, I am also
supposed to do things, like carry bits of paper from one room to
another, or sit in a room with other people and talk about the next
time we will be sitting in a room talking to one another. The whole
affair is really starting to stress me out and I think I might have
to sign off on the sick. What is your advice on this troubling

Dear Ivan,
I know exactly what you mean – work
sounds just like being at school. One minute, you’re happy as Larry,
doing actions to inane songs about farmyard animals or drawing
demented stick-people with massive heads and fourteen fingers on each
hand; the next, you’re in a drafty sports hall trying to work out the
relative velocity of two trains travelling in opposite directions to
each other at 3pm and 5pm respectively. If my mummy and daddy had
warned me on my first day of school that this was just the beginning
of a long and painful journey stretching out until adulthood, I would
most certainly have refused to go. However, as we all know, if you
want to earn lots of money to buy big televisions and bread with
olives in it you have to work hard every day and pay attention to
what the teacher is telling you. If you don’t, you might end up like
Andrew Harris, sitting in library corner doing finger paintings of
deformed animals and licking the spines of books while everyone else
is busy learning about where electricity comes from.
Hope that helps!