As you know, I came back from Italy with nothing. I said to myself I will find a job and everything will be just fine. I came back and I found Greece in the midst of crisis. Or so they say to us. Crisis or not, I said to myself I’ll do anything for cash. Well, not exactly anything, but…
Job number oneMy ex boss’s job is not so well anymore. He can only employ me for some days. In January. And then it’s job hunting again.
Job number twoSo I start searching. After two months of searching, the door opens. A job as a researcher. I call people up and ask them. About the radio, about their phone lines, about crisis in Greece (!), about whatever the company tells me to ask them. We are the ones that call people up and take a little bit of their time. Others answer and others curse us. Do not take it personally my dear. They might have had a bad time at their morning work and they are taking it out on you.
This is my rescue job. Whenever I was between jobs, I was working for this company. The last time I worked for them was two years ago. And guess what. Prices have gone down. There have been shifts where I made 0 euros. Five hours for nothing. Maximum wage nowadays, is 15-20 euros for five hours. The more questionnaires I fill, the more I get paid. I don’t get paid by the hour. The company might make the same money as it did two years ago. I don’t really know the companies logistics. The thing I know, is, I get half the wages I was taking two years ago. On top of that, they don’t need me every day of the month. Sometimes I don’t work for a whole week. Let’s blame it all to the crisis. Oh, and last but not least. February’s payments will be made at the end of April. Ha-ha-ha-ha! I used to laugh, but I don’t laugh anymore. What am I supposed to eat during these two months? I can pick some wild weeds from the mountain. They don’t cost me anything.
Job number four
Another good friend finds another solution. He is leaving Greece for 40 days. We are going to dog-sit his dog. Another job gladly done.
Job number fiveLeaflets. On the 5th of January we contacted an agency which spreads leaflets door to door, on account of other business owners. On the 16th of March – that is two months later – I get a phone call from this guy. He desperately needs people to spread some leaflets. I rush and meet him. This job is very physically demanding. You carry around all these leaflets in your backpack, you walk around the streets and you kneel to push the leaflet under every door. While you’re at it, ruthless dogs bark at you, neighbors look at you and old men try to chat you up! Being so demanding, two years ago, this job used to pay 5 euros per hour. How much does it pay now? 3.5 euros. That is 28 euros for 8 hours of walking, carrying, kneeling… Blame it all on the crisis. Again. Mind you, it’s only a two day job. At first he says he’s gonna pay me in three days. Then, he changes it to a week. When we finish the two day job, he is still not sure. It might be next week, or it might be in a month. And we are not talking about millions of euros. We are talking about the breathtaking amount of 30 euros. I’ll wait and see. Oh, and he might do me a favor and call me again for another job. Only god knows when I’ll get paid or if I’ll get another job. Did I sign any papers? No. Do I get insurance for walking the streets all day? Ha- ha- ha! I should shut up and say thank you. Because I’m desperate for money.
Have I compromised my qualifications? Of course I have compromised them. Why? For a dream. I do not want to be dependent on my family. Besides, as a good friend put it, Greek families want all their members in one house and lamb on a spit roasting in the back yard. No. I don’t want kids (yet). No, I don’t want to follow tradition. I want to feel free.
And freedom has a price. The price of not knowing where your next meal will come from. Not knowing when the electricity company will cut out your electricity because you haven’t paid for 3 months. Listening to your beloved parents calling you names because you are not their good, obedient child anymore.
I don’t believe I just wrote this! Freedom has a price! That is absurd! Freedom hasn’t got any price at all. It’s a right everyone has. I wish I lived in a world where parents said: be yourself. Do what you want to do. I hope our generation at least makes the change and honour their kids individuality and freedom.
Is it easy to love yourself in these conditions? Is it easy to smile everyday you wake up and give a kiss to your beloved man? At least we have each other. In this six year old relationship which is a jewel. At least I am not alone. I’ve got him and two tales. Freeda’s tale and Miguelito’s tale. They both get up and greet me joyfully every time I come home. They both love me no matter what job I do. And last but not least Michelangelo. Our canary. He sings all day and welcomes the spring.
It’s not easy. And doors open slowly. I guess I had to go through this. To give worth to myself when all things want me to feel lesser. I am grateful for these jobs. Although I feel that the system is taking advantage of me and everyone else. Both the Greeks and the immigrants who live in this country with nothing.
It’s been two months since I ate meat. This is not necessarily bad, but I miss it. And I can’t afford it. Imagine the shame this could go me through. But this is the case. And I’m sure it is not because I took the risk to leave everything and go to Italy. There are people in my age who go through the same and they did not take any risks at all. Even if I did not leave (live!), things would be the same. My second last employer closed down her business and my last employer can’t afford staff anymore.
The system is stressing us. We are young and we can’t work. Or we are forced to go into under paid jobs. Families are forcing us. To go back to “normal”. Their kind of normal of course. Will we create something different? Will we be the change we yearn for?
My teacher says that life on earth is not about survival. So I try not to think of my situation as a survival case, but rather an opportunity to create a different tomorrow.
I will never forget this period of my life. It teaches me how to be humble and praise all I’ve got. Be humble and don’t criticize. Don’t criticize the homeless. Don’t criticize the immigrants. Don’t criticize someone who does a job you think it’s a disgrace. It is only a job. No one is superior to another. Everyone deserves respect. Everyone deserves a home and food on their table.
That was a big post alright. A big angry post. Until I calm down again. Thanks for reading… if you have reached so far down!