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Hostel life [2009]

May 21 2009
You need a personal assistant to cope with paperwork these days Fill out a form, then another one, then another... Most people working and living in hostels have noticed they are becoming increasingly corporate and see this as a bad thing. However, as always in this column, I have found an upside to this, particularly for residents of hostels that are planning a career as a film star once they have left. Something you now have plenty of opportunity to do in a hostel is practice your signature. On your first day it's no exaggeration to say you'll probably be asked to sign at least 10 different documents. The endorsing of these documents will take precedence over anything else (the hostel won't get their money until they're signed). Because of this, more compassionate hostels will not only save you the bother of filling the forms out yourself, they will save your time by not explaining the purpose of them. You may also have to sign to receive your own post, and sign if you want a meal. You'll have to sign "support plans" to show you agree with them; and if you disagree with them? Sign, please! If you're on medication, you'll have to sign for it. They'll be keen that you take your meds, but if you don't sign, you don't get them. I even know one hostel that asked residents that they'd just thrown out to sign a "termination of licence agreement" agreement. So short of hiring a PA, there's not much you can do. But, I would recommend that you always ask what you are being expected to sign, read it yourself or ask someone you trust to explain it to you. And if you really don't like the look of it, don't sign it.