Fatigue, increased responsibilities, stress

A large number of Greeks sacrifice what would have been their free time to earn enough money to make ends meet by working at one or more extra jobs. Fatigue, increased responsibilities and stress are the order of the day, with less free time for recreation and a social life. Several conclusions can be drawn about life in Greece today from observing the ordinary daily lives of most people. The first is that independence comes at a price. Christina Kourtidou, 25, left her family in the provinces to settle in Athens for personal reasons. It was not long before she discovered that one salary was not enough to pay the bills (rent, utilities, transport, food) let alone suffice for entertainment. «For the moment, I am not interested in a job’s prestige. Although I have studied fine art, at present I am working in a video club and as a waitress in a pizza parlor. Unfortunately, despite 15 hours on the job a day, with one day off a week, I also have to work on weekends in at least one of the two jobs. Even if you share expenses with a roommate, you still need a second job,» claims Christina. The second conclusion is that a civil servant’s family needs its own business. Andreas M., a 45-year-old father of two, has been working as a civil servant for 20 years. For the last five years, he has had an evening job at a local convenience store which is in his wife’s name. «Unfortunately, a civil servant’s salary is not enough to support a family of four,» he said. Although he does not pay rent, the children’s expenses are high and their parents don’t want them to go without the basics. «In the mornings, when I am at work, my wife opens the store, and in the afternoon, when the children come home from high school and she wants to cook the next day’s meal, I go to the store until midnight. Our life is work and home.» Another conclusion is that a bachelor has to work hard if he wants to have a good time. Forty-year-old Costas H. is a math teacher, but he also drives a cab. He works at a cramming school, gives private lessons and drives all over Attica. «I work 12 to 18 hours a day and rarely rest on weekends. I live alone, but help my mother financially. When I find the time, I like to travel, so I boost my income to invest in something I really enjoy.»