Marina wakes up at 7 o’ clock in the morning with a smile. She takes time to carefully pick up her clothes and put on a light make up. She literally blooms every morning – at 7 o ‘ clock. After three years of unemployment, Marina, 27, a university graduate is really happy to leave her parents’ home in the morning and go to work. She spends eight to nine hours in the premises of a medium enterprises, she learns something new and meets new people. After three years of endless frustration Marina* managed to be integrated in a state- and EU-funded unemployment program that gives young Greeks the chance to work for five to six months and cash 2,500 euro after the contract is over. The payment at the end of the work is to sweeten the bitter pill of the next unemployment period of unpredicted duration.
In the third year of austerity and Troika loan agreements, in the sixth consecutive year of recession, it’s the second time Marina gets a contract work for six months. Marina does not really care if the job fits her qualifications. What chances does she have in a labor market, where the majority of jobs are underpaid part-time jobs in a call-centre or a cafeteria.
“For young people in Greece today, it’s a Catch-22: Employers have no shortage of willing workers to choose from and people who want to work have no plethora of jobs to choose from; the power is all in the employers’ hands, meaning that workers think twice before refusing to carry out a task, however wrong it may be,” wrote daily Kathimerini in an article.
In the debt-ridden countries of Euro zone South, jobs are a rarity. The obvious has become a luxury. Even something one should feel guilty to have in an environment where the majority struggles to get along without income.
A Twitter user wrote recently: “after 3 years of unemployment I got a job. I need a psychotherapist to deal with the issue of having work.”
In equally sarcastic way, our Spanish creative colleagues captured the rare moment of finding a job in a video (with English subtitles):
*Marina’s name was changed