How do I live without a job

What are we without a job?

People who have never been out of work often think of unemployment as “endless vacations”. A big misunderstanding. After all, who likes to talk about the 87th rejection of a job application that morning?

An elderly lady told me some time ago that a nice aspect of old age is that now, in a way, everyone is in the same situation. After retirement, it is no longer so important whether someone used to be a chief doctor or a carpenter. Now what counts most is people. However, it is not easy for men in their environment, who used to define themselves very strongly through their job, to get used to the new situation.

The psychiatrist Christian Peter Dogs offers seminars for stressed top managers and recently reported in the “Tages-Anzeiger” on similar experiences: “In my seminars, I ask the participants to introduce themselves to the group without mentioning their professional function. That is overwhelming for all of them because hardly anyone can say what they are apart from what they are doing. "

You don't need to be a top manager to stumble on this task. When you meet new people, one of the first questions is often: What are you doing? This rarely means whether the other person likes to play the hand organ or crochet. Namely, if someone mentions a creative activity such as writing or making music, the question is immediately asked: And can one make a living from it? Because actually people want to know: What do you do for your money?

87. Rejection of a job application

The job plays an important role in interpersonal relationships, both for one's own self-image and for the perception of others. What work someone does gives the other person a lot of information from which we can draw further conclusions. For example, whether the person is earning a lot or less money, or whether they hold an influential position. Last but not least, the job often says something about your own interests and is therefore an important starting point for an in-depth discussion.

People of working age who are unable to pursue paid work in the short or long term are therefore usually uncomfortable when asked about their professional activity. How do you introduce yourself, how does the other person see you if you cannot give a simple answer to this question?

There is often a very personal story behind unemployment, such as health problems. These are not topics for casual small talk with someone you've just met. Most people - even with friends and acquaintances - prefer to talk about an exciting project they are currently working on than about the fact that they got the 87th rejection of a job application out of their mailbox that morning.

To withdraw out of shame

Many people who do not have a job feel that it is their fault - even if they cannot help it because they were given notice, for example for operational reasons. Out of shame, they withdraw and are downright afraid of unexpectedly bumping into an acquaintance while shopping, who might ask what they are doing now. After all, they could meet the colleague who is always so disparaging about people who, in his opinion, “make themselves comfortable in the social hammock”.

People who have never been unemployed themselves often think of unemployment as an “endless vacation” rather than an uncomfortable state for those affected. But presumably precisely those who rant loudly about people who make themselves comfortable in that much-vaunted “social hammock” would become rather meek after a few weeks without a job and the recognition that goes with it.

Kurt, the truck driver, would suddenly just be Kurt. Without a truck. And Johannes, the medical professor, without a title and the email address of a renowned institute would only be [email protected]

This column first appeared in the Swiss street magazine “Surprise”.

Marie Baumann has been documenting political events relating to disability insurance at since 2009.

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Coco - the angel from Bern whom the world did not understand
Coco - the angel from Bern whom the world did not understand

Performance artist, self-confessed transsexual anarchist, macho woman, emotionally homeless, model, favorite target of the Swiss tabloids - Coco.

Image: Olivier G. Fatton, “Coco”, Edition Patrick Frey, 2019

Olivier G. Fatton first met Coco in November 1989. This «light and yet so melancholy angels "fascinated the photographer from the very first moment.

Image: Olivier G. Fatton, “Coco”, Edition Patrick Frey, 2019

Over coffee in a gay bar in Bern, they sign a photographic contract: Coco poses for him and Fatton documents her gender reassignment.

Image: Olivier G. Fatton, “Coco”, Edition Patrick Frey, 2019

The pact turned into a love affair, in the course of which Fatton took numerous pictures of Coco. Intimate portraits, ...

Image: Olivier G. Fatton, “Coco”, Edition Patrick Frey, 2019

... staged fashion photography, at home, on the go, in clubs and in the mountains show the many facets of the shimmering Coco.

Image: Olivier G. Fatton, “Coco”, Edition Patrick Frey, 2019

And over and over again those big, melancholy eyes. Coco once said that her eyes have become her second mouth.

Image: Olivier G. Fatton, “Coco”, Edition Patrick Frey, 2019

And because her thousand-page autobiography was stolen by thieves, these eyes tell us about the life of a lady of camellias in the 20th century - in the illustrated book "Coco", which was published that day.

Image: Olivier G. Fatton, “Coco”, Edition Patrick Frey, 2019

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