The only thing necessary for the persistence of evil is for enough good people to do nothing

Honesty

I haven’t written anything personal here for a very long time. There are a few reasons for this that I am going to share with you today. I actually know quite a few regular readers of this blog personally and consider them to be friends. There are some of you that I don’t know in real life but I have grown to like and respect. And there are others, not many but enough, who have caused real pain to me, even though it has been only through words. I have not given in to them but they have affected the way I post and the way I engage in discussions. It has come time again to take back my blog and to reconnect.

I am going through a very difficult period in my personal life. The love of my life lost his job six months ago because of the financial crisis and has been unable to find another one. This is not unique and I am not looking for sympathy. Everyone I know here in Greece is suffering. Pretty much all my friends here are losing their jobs or being forced to take pay cuts. We are, in fact, luckier than most. He at least got severance pay from his old company even though they are on the brink of disaster themselves. His former boss, who has become a good friend over the years, is facing bankruptcy but is one of the most honorable people I know. We are eternally thankful for that.

The problem for us at the moment is that the love of my life is too experienced, too senior for companies to offer him the work that they have. In these times of financial crisis, they are looking for young people who can work long hours (and by that I mean 80+ hours a week) for wages that are barely able to cover one persons living expenses. Only youngsters who live with their parents can really manage with the kind of pay they are offering.

This is not the first time either of us have been poor but it is the first time that we are losing hope of being able to sustain our life here. We are living on the bare minimum and please believe me, we are doing everything we can to minimise our expenses. I think all of us are sick of the sight of vegetable and lentil soup. The kid is fourteen and needs to eat healthily. We grown-ups may be able to skip a meal or two but he cannot and should not.

We are both desperately looking for work. We have asked everyone we can think of, sent CV’s, followed up every contact however remote the possibility of work might be. And we have come up with nothing. So now comes the big heartbreaker. We might have to leave the country and go back to Britain. It is not just about leaving a country, it’s about leaving a life we have built here. Our almost sixteen years together was built here. The kid was born here and knows no other place. Our friends are here. Our love is here. It feels completely devastating to even have to contemplate leaving. I am close to tears just writing it down.

I know some of you can relate to this feeling. This foreign country that has become your home. That has sneaked its way into your heart. That you can’t imagine having to let go. It’s not just about the weather, or the beauty, or the superficial things that people think you mean when you move to a place like Greece. This country may not be mine but it has adopted me and I have grown to love it in a way that is more meaningful than just loving a place because you were born in it. I chose it. Unlike a place you are just stuck with by birth.

I am sometimes infuriated by Greece. Frustrated by the complications of living here. Angry at the corruption and fraud that is a reality of life here. I am furious at the injustice that is perpetrated by the authorities here. And I haven’t been shy in saying so. But what people often don’t realise is the connection I have here. The fact is that I care about this place and want to stay. Desperately.

So. I realise that most people are in the same situation as me. Looking for work and finding it increasingly difficult to survive day to day. But I just want to put this out there. If anyone has any ideas, contacts or actual work offers, please let me know. I am looking for writing jobs specifically but will consider anything at all. The love of my life has 30 years of experience in the creative field (photography, graphic design, web design etc) but he is open to any opportunities too. Please email privately with any ideas.

Thanks for listening. It helps to write it down.

26 Comments

  1. Cinzano
    March 17, 2010    

    Good Luck in your move.

    Oh well, as the title of your blog says, you never felt that Greece was “your country” anyway.

    I am a little disappointed that you’ve decided to leave Greece having enjoyed living in Greece during the good times but shipping out as soon as the going gets a little harder. It seems your “love for the country” doesn’t stretch enough for you to stay and help it get back on it’s feet.

    Have you or your husband considered taking a lower paid job than you usually work? Perhaps he is too qualified and experienced for the jobs he’s normally used to, but i’m sure there are plenty of other jobs that he could apply for which aren’t may not be was he’s accustomed to but will pay the rent and put food on the table – i once worked as a pizza delivery man to tide me over until i found a better job.

    Things will improve, it’s just a question of lowering your living standards and not being too proud or snobbish to seek a lower ranked job until they do.

    I can’t wait to read your Human Rights Blog about the UK but i don’t think you’ll find enough time to hold down a job in the UK AND write about what’s wrong with Britain. You’ll need a whole lifetime just to cover the institutional racism, crime, gang culture, disrespect of elders, knife culture, miserable people, cold damp weather, growing nationalism, Islamophobia, etc….

    ^THIS IS OUR COUNTRY :)

  2. March 17, 2010    

    @Cinzano, well done for not reading my words, once again. You have a unique talent there for interpreting my words as something other than they are.

    I say “We MIGHT have to leave…”

    We are not jumping ship. We have worked hard here and contributed to this country in many ways. We very much want to stay but it looks increasingly as though we might be forced into returning to Britain. Fair enough, everyone is struggling and our case is just one and we have the possibility of moving elsewhere. So I don’t want your sympathy or your advice actually.

    Of course we are looking for “lower-ranked” jobs and of course we have lowered our living standards. We are not snobby or too proud.

    Don’t be disappointed. We haven’t given up before and we’ve been through our fair share of hardships here. Don’t forget, we have no family here to help us out.

    My love of this country has been strong enough to keep us here through those times and hopefully we wil make it. As I said in the post

    But what people often don’t realise is the connection I have here. The fact is that I care about this place and want to stay. Desperately.

    but you chose not to read that.

    Anyway, I’ll keep people posted.

  3. March 17, 2010    

    DD: I can relate to the things you’re saying here, easy—we were thinking about moving to another country as well. Good luck with your job seeking. I sincerely hope you’ll make it.

  4. Alison
    March 17, 2010    

    Wow… haters!
    Hang in there gurl!

  5. Cinzano
    March 17, 2010    

    I say “We MIGHT have to leave…”

    If you leave, then I wish you Good Luck on your move.

    Don’t forget, we have no family here to help us out.

    Don’t worry, you have Greek friends and they won’t let you starve. One thing you can be sure of, the people of the Southern Med are the most hospitable people in the world, they’ll always invite you to eat at their table even if you’re too proud to do so, they’ll pull you into their home and force you to eat with them if they have to. And that’s just your neighbours, your friends will be even more helpful. That’s my experience in Italy anyway. I’m sure you know what i mean – you won’t starve. You’ll be fine.

    And i’m sure that you’ll stay in Greece, you know which side your bread’s buttered. You know that the UK is no place to bring up a child, especially one which is the prime age to be inducted into a street gang.

    I’m sorry to hear of your poverty and hardship but there are many people in the same boat (many people much worse than you) so instead of playing the sympathy card and suggesting you might have to leave Greece due to financial hardship, it would have been more honest of you if you just asked for a writing job on this thread.
    It’s quite clear that you don’t want to deliver pizzas, you want a writing job and your husband wants another job, so just ask the bloggers reading your blog if they know of a suitable job to offer you, instead of going for the sympathy vote.

    There are many people in a much worse position than you and they don’t mind delivering fast food or waiting tables. I wonder what makes you feel too good for those kind of jobs to the extent that you are contemplating leaving a country you claim to love?

  6. LW
    March 18, 2010    

    I’m a foreigner and I had to leave Greece last year – things in the country were hard (as usual) but it was before the pot bubbled over, so to speak, and I had to leave for other reasons. Still – it has probably been the most difficult thing I’ve had to go through. How can you describe the feeling of being the one to push yourself out of a country you love? As the plane took off I felt myself being torn from the very ground. Not a month has gone by when I haven’t desperately wanted to just buy a ticket back, thinking that somehow I could make it work. But I know that there’s a big chance I could end up back in the same situation, and I really don’t know how I can go through leaving Greece for a second time. I grit my teeth and continue making my new life – with the hope of being able to return and stay.
    I know perfectly well some of the people around me must think I left when the going got tough… Or about how easy I have it, to be able to ‘just pick up and go’ whenever and to wherever I feel like. I don’t have a home to speak of but somewhere along the way I felt, for the first time, ‘here, I want it to be here’. I try not to dwell on the aforementioned opinions because, as shown time and time again in some of the comments on your site, some people are hooked on the taste of cynicism. It’s easier to see someone as some sort of tourist who hotfooted it out of there after the sun’s glow has faded from the streets and the retsina has run out e? Much better to stew in misfortune, to feel a certain self-righteousness and bitter satisfaction in doing so and to say ‘I told you so’ when someone leaves. But, really, can I blame them?
    I just wish some would try to imagine making themselves leave their lives in Greece… Impossible? Unimaginable? Yes. Exactly. And yet some must go through just that.

    I hope it doesn’t come to that for your family. I hope something turns up. I hope for Greece and all the people who hold it in their hearts whether they are my friends struggling in Athens or the homesick in America.

    Good luck.

  7. SeaWitch
    March 18, 2010    

    My dearest Diva…

    This latest entry of yours touched my heart. Every word you posted resonated with me and I felt that now was the time to step back into the blogosphere after almost 4 years absence to respond to such a heartfelt entry from wonderful woman who made my life in Greece just that much brighter every day. I still think of you often and wondered how you were doing in the land I left behind.

    I am so very sorry to hear that things haven’t been going well for you. Your family, along with many others in Greece also caught up in the same economic nightmare, deserve nothing short of happiness.

    It’s at times like these that you must focus on what’s important and what’s good in your life. Jobs, money, houses—all come and go. Material things can always be replaced and often quite easier than you would expect. I speak from experience and I assure you, that if you want to stay in Greece badly enough, you will find a way to do it.

    You may have to find a job that you might not have considered prior to this current state of affairs. You may have to live in a smaller flat. You may have to make a lot of concessions and compromises but they don’t have to be permanent. (I have lived quite healthily for the past 30 years on nothing but a diet of vegetables and lentils so I know you can’t die from it. LOL My son is 16 and he’d have you believe he’d die within 24 hours if he didn’t have meat 7 days a week. He’s still alive and I haven’t been carted off by social services.)

    Our parents and grandparents have lived through worse times and come out on top. I truly believe you will too. The hardest part about having to go through things like this is making the decisions about what you’re going to do. In my experience, once you’ve made the decisions, you adjust your life accordingly and get on with it. I don’t know about you, but being the granddaughter of immigrants, I grew up hearing the words ‘I came to this country with not two nickels to rub together’ from them and just about everyone else I knew. They said these words with pride and not regret.

    Whether you decide to stay or leave, you will get through it and that’s what you have to keep reminding yourself. I have absolute faith in you…you should too.

  8. gurmit
    March 18, 2010    

    DD,

    I am sorry to hear about what you are going through and have sympathy for you and everyone else in the same position. I wish you and your family all the best in getting work and hope you will be able to stay in Greece. Even if you do have to leave, you should be commended for being brave enough to go to a country with a different language and culture and staying there for so long. Too many people just can’t be bothered with the effort it takes. Your blog is great with a lot of neat people on it.

    Gurmit

  9. Cinzano
    March 18, 2010    

    Don’t worry, DD isn’t going anywhere.

    She just wants some sympathy (and a writing job from her bloggers, of course).

    I really don’t know what’s wrong with getting a job waiting tables or pizza delivery until the crisis passes. Why are you thinking of leaving Greece when there are jobs you could do which would enable you to stay. These jobs may be below your station normally, but they will allow you to stay in the country you claim to love and also keep your family from missing meals and starving.
    (Not only will you be able to pay the rent from the wages but you can also take home a pizza or two, or take some left-overs home from the restaurant if you wait tables, your son would love your new jobs as most kids love pizza, everyone’s a winner).

  10. Student
    March 18, 2010    

    Cinzano, tell me, do you talk pleasure in being so negative? Cos you’re certainly coming across as a petty, bitter hater. Jeez, a little sensitivity wouldn’t kill you. Or would it? I’ve heard that sensitivity can have that effect on trolls. Find a bridge to howl under instead, perhaps.
    All good though. I used your posts in a class at university as an example of chosen intercultural insensitivites within a cyber perspective. My lecturer was horrified, but at least I got a high distinction. So thank you~!

  11. John
    March 18, 2010    

    Dear DD. Good luck with everything you’re facing right now. I need to respond to Cinzano: If you feel you have something interesting to add, why don’t you start your own blog where people can come to read about your stuff. I hope you realize your irrelevance here?!

  12. kat
    March 18, 2010    

    DD,

    What you shared is reminiscent of what I wrote nearly three years ago about how skilled, career-minded people of all nationalities eventually hit the wall in “Value of a university degree in Greece.” A lot of overqualified people I know are holding onto jobs they hate because at the end of the day it’s still a job.

    Some UK couples make it through by having one person go back to the UK to earn and send back the money, while the other maintains the family here, then they eventually reunite. I’m not saying this is the best solution, just something I know worked for other people. In other situations, such as mine many years ago, I would be forced to return ‘home’ and work two jobs, save the money and come back to Greece. I did that four times. Again, not saying this is a solution for you; it was difficult but it was something that worked for me.

    I’ve had a number of people in my life come to me for job referrals or help in finding anything to prevent them from leaving Greece but, as you know, times are tough and pickings are slim. I wish I could do more.

  13. Maximillian Arturo
    March 18, 2010    

    DD, Bless you for keeping this blog going so long. I hope you are able to find some steady work for your family. Have you considered the website http://www.cariera.gr, or http://www.skywalker.gr. I see there are some english jobs on there recently. Also, what about doing some home based businesses, or read Athens News for jobs also.

    Don’t be discouraged by that one negative poster Cinzano. I think he is the same bully American person (Schofiled or something like that) who changes his name now and then.

    Good Luck to you and I hope you find something.

  14. March 18, 2010    

    @steppenwolf | ? ????? ??? ???????, Alison, LW, gurmit,Student, John and Kat. Thank you so much for you comments and your support. I appreciate every word and your kindness gives me hope.

    @everyone who emailed me. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy lives to drop me a line and offer help. I am enriched by the goodness of strangers yet again.

    @ my dearest SeaWitch. Goodness, how much I miss you and we never even met! You know how much I appreciate your support and kindness.

    I have lived quite healthily for the past 30 years on nothing but a diet of vegetables and lentils so I know you can’t die from it. LOL My son is 16 and he’d have you believe he’d die within 24 hours if he didn’t have meat 7 days a week. He’s still alive and I haven’t been carted off by social services.

    LOL. Can’t believe he’s 16 now! How time flies.It makes me so happy to hear that you are doing well.

    Thank you for reminding me to hold on to my faith in myself. It’s easy to forget at times!

    Much love, DD

  15. Maximillian Arturo
    March 19, 2010    

    Hi DD,

    This site is one of the more popular home base business sites…

    http://www.ratracerebellion.com/

    From their site, they say:
    Since 1999, when we launched the pioneering virtual-careers training company, Staffcentrix, our goal has been to help people live the lives their hearts aspire to, and to make the world a better place. On this site, we post free job leads and resources so you can become part of the much-needed Rat Race Rebellion

    Good luck…

  16. March 19, 2010    

    @Maximillian Arturo

    Thank you for your suggestions. I have those places bookmarked and visit them everyday and I always check the Athens News. No luck so far but you never know do you? I am not sure about the home-based jobs. Can you give me any more details ?

    I am certainly not discouraged by Cinzano. He/ she obviously doesn’t actually read my posts and I have no respect for someone who bases their opinion on something they imagine I wrote rather than what’s actually written.

  17. gurmit
    March 20, 2010    

    DD,

    I know this might be a silly idea, but I was thinking maybe it would be an idea to try networking at the British embassy and maybe even others that need English communication besides Greek. I know checking the website of the Canadian Embassy in Athens they actually had some job search suggestions. However, those are just vague, while actually talking to people is always better. After all, many of them must really like Greece and might relate to people who don’t want to have to leave. I always think it can’t hurt if nothing else and have even ended up with work sometimes just by approaching people for jobs not even advertised.

    Gurmit

  18. PD
    March 20, 2010    

    I know that we do not see eye to eye on many things..but I wanted to let you know for what its worth that I do genuinely feel bad about your situation and hope that some solution will turn up for you.

    all the best.

  19. March 20, 2010    

    Sorry to hear that things ad got so bad DD. I don’t thing people outside Greece really understand how bad the economic situation is for ordinary people.

    As much as you love Greece at some point we have to think about the realities of earning a living and not just surviving. Without a steady income or a work routine skills get rusty and we lose self – confidence eventually.

    Here in Thessaloniki the situation is the same few jobs that pay anything other than minimum wage no matter what the skills needed. I’m not sure how long that will last as eventually people won’t bother investing time and money in an education when the rewards are so low.

    As for Cinzano, that’s a cold, cold heart you’ve got there, pal.

  20. kat
    March 20, 2010    

    @gurmit Embassies for the most part do not post non-consular, non-embassy jobs for citizens, and the ones they do post are coveted positions requiring a high level of skills, education and experience. It’s important to remember that foreign countries have slashed their budgets also and are offering fewer vacancies at missions abroad.

    @maxmillian arturo Home-based jobs in 99 percent of cases come from brick-and-mortar organizations that want employees with expertise. Being as nearly everyone wants to be a writer, writing jobs are rare worldwide (never mind, Greece) unless working for a content mill, which only pays 10-25 per article. Professional freelance and full-time writers earn 1-5 dollars/euros a word and/or need a portfolio of clips; many get their jobs with solid credentials, experience and referrals gained over many years.

    Graphic/web design is much more marketable and in demand; I see ads in Greek all the time for that.

  21. March 21, 2010    

    Oh, dear DD… just got around to checking my favorite blogs… and I’m moved to tears reading this post. I will keep you in mind if something, anything… work related comes up.
    Many of my friends and family are being dismissed, hours cut back etc. and it’s just a mess all around. I am saddened your family has been hit by this mess and sincerely hope that things will pick up.

  22. March 21, 2010    

    @PD

    Thank you for your best wishes. It just goes to show that although people can disagree here, we can have respect and kindness for each other. Much appreciated.

    @Teacher Dude and Flubberwinkle
    Ahhhh, two of my favorite bloggers. Thank you so much for your continuing support and general wonderfulness. Since putting the word out, there has been a flood of generosity. People have realy shown their true colours and that really, really helps.

    Although there are no concrete offers, I feel as if there has been a shift in the way we are feeling. a little more optimistic, a little more hopeful. I have had a fantastic unpaid opportunity which I will be taking up and we are following a few other leads that have arisen.

    I’ll keep you posted as soon as I know something more definate.

    Thank you all.
    Love DD

  23. Mr. Filakia
    March 22, 2010    

    Greece is unlike any other place. People who have not tried to live there have no idea how difficult it is. It’s about survival rather than careers and getting ahead.

    I too made a choice to leave. I left a girl I loved, my dear friends and some family also.

    For me it was living in the most beautiful but overwhelmingly slanted country I have ever been in, or starting a career and building a life for myself in a place with a logical and functioning system.

    I chose the latter and while I do have those things now, Greece is always in my heart and at times painfully so.

    I will be back to Greece some day.

    I have great respect for those of you who really try to make it work and don’t see Greece as just some tourist playground.

    It’s so much more than that. You should take pride in the fact that you have experienced the real Greece. Even with all its troubles and backwards thinking, it is still such a place of endearment and I cannot stop myself from loving all of it.

    The problem is that love isn’t always the safest or best plan for your own well-being.

    I wish you luck.

  24. April 5, 2010    

    @ Mr. Filakia,

    Thank you so much for sharing your heartbreaking story.I hope you will find a way to come back to where your heart is.
    .-= deviousdiva´s last blog ..Mosque Attack =-.

  25. Konstnatinos Travlos
    April 12, 2010    

    DD

    Sorry to hear about that but your family’s survival comes before any place attachements. I know the Greek market and yes even pizza dilivery jobs are hard to come by (you are comepting with 17-20 year olds and they outnumber you and are willing to work for a lot less then what is enough to keep a family alive. Not to count the life risks if you are not willing to spend a fortune on protective gear for the moped). So send out those CVs not only to the UK but elsewhere as well. Take advantage of the EU open borders. If your husband or you knows how to drive look for some taxi owner that looks for renters. The pay is crap and the job exhausting but it would let you guys float for some time. But yeah I wouldn’t be optimistic on career prospects. The economy is going to take time to rebound.

    I hope you get to stay but family comes first. Were you get a job is were you go.

  26. April 14, 2010    

    Hi DD-

    Thanks for sharing a bird’s eye view of life on the ground in Greece at the moment. Sitting in Sweden I wasn’t sure if the news I saw was being exaggerated. I say not after reading your posts and comments.

    I know 3 or 4 people in Greece from the BWIE social network and you probably know them two. But one in particular in Athens may have some leads on work for your man. I’m sure they won’t mind if yo ureach out to them for ideas.

    Hugs from Stockholm.
    .-= Black Women in Europe´s last blog ..Women Enterprise and Procurement and reception in UK Parliament =-.

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