I have no way to contribute to society in the way that’s more congenial to me because I haven’t a job.
On the other hand, I have a “curriculum vitae” that I couldn’t even write, let alone work.
I’m 31, I’ve been studying for more than 16 years, working for 10, done 22 different jobs, 19 “blacks” and 3 reals, regular ones and everything I mean, most of all paid.
I’m a journalist.
Millions of people spend almost all life to get ready to work and therefore work, that means obtaining the highest purpose of all – live – but if it’s true that “the worker is entitled to remuneration commensurate with the quantity and quality of his work and in any case sufficient to ensure him and his family a free and dignified existence” (art. 36 of the Italian Constitution)… then I’ve never worked.
My CV, then, is pure fantasy. And partly it’s just like that: in Italy things jam in ways sometimes so stubbornly illogical that they cross the limit of the absurd. Like a broken record, like the “milk in the knees” (the nagging feeling when things seem to not be on the moving), like the movie Smetto quando voglio (I stop when I want) that is, never.
But I had to start from somewhere – if I wished to try to live my life. Curiously, when we talk about work, if you haven’t started somewhere, you cannot start anywhere, even if “first experience”. A frustrating condition that kills any kind of enthusiasm and good will, only the most hard headed can make it, leaving to others a complex role, “the eternal unprepared in training, at the end too prepared”. In any case too pretentious.
You usually start with a stage (the internship). Which is pronounced with the French “a”, otherwise it’s where the show (must) go on. But more or less here we are: it’s the beginning of the endless role’s playing. From the stage you start to understand those 2-3 mechanisms that make the gears move. The first is connections. The second is the total absence of any competence. The third, the merit, comes only if you’re a scientist or a super specialist in those 2-3 categories that always be great and usually have to do with banks, sales and a lot of marketing (anyway, everything is in the north or at the most far in the south, in the center, like in Roma, perhaps there’s the Mariana Trench). Mechanisms which unfortunately don’t touch, even by accident, the huge mid-range of workers that’s neither brain-damaged nor Einstein. At some point, inevitably, there’re only “the connections” and no longer the “experiences you’ve done”. War is tough for the humanists.
At first you try to avoid all this, then, being over-trained, just to do something, you start jobs that don’t belong to you, realizing that maybe it’s not fair, because you know that you’d be a better worker in your field if only you had the opportunity to show it. “Connections” take everyone sooner or later, when is the last road. And so it all begins, and continues, always, with an encounter. It’s not just among politicians and finance. Still we want to pretend it’s not true? We act outraged on attitudes that we perpetrate, often they’re vices, as often as they’re natural ways out from an unilateral offer which switches one person getting redundants a hundred.
About connections of family and friends, we use to say that they make you have the job, but reality is always more complex. For example I’m not a “figlia d’arte” (“daughter of art”, that is I’ve not inherited my parents profession), and my parents were upset when, once submitted to Communication at University, I had lost forever the chance to get the easy way, that characterized my family, Medicine.
Not everyone is “Alemanno’s relative” (former mayor of Roma, under investigation): at the “lower ranks” the goal is still far away. To those even lower, they can’t even get there. If you’ve such luck, at least it makes you have an approach: a friend of my cousin was working in a well-known left-wing newspaper, I got at least the interview, and got the internship, the first in a long series.
“At work”, newsroom of a left-wing newspaper, secretariat.
I’m talking with a woman at the desk, she answers me without even looking at me.
“Sure that… I don’t demand too much, but at least the refund for the bus tickets or some food stamps. I come every day, even on Saturdays, sometimes on holidays”, I say.
“Oh I know, you’re right… but there’s the crisis“, she says typing at the computer.
“Well, but also with a whip-round, that’s… only 30 euros”.
“You’re right… but we’re all on redundancy payment”.
“But it’s less than 1 euro each”!
“Oh, you’re right…”
Better mind your own, indeed. But never forget the first lesson of the young precarious: do not despair.
Years later, out at dinner with a friend.
“I don’t know what to say… I’m here, about to turn 30, doing internship after internship, I’m the most trained goddamn woman of the history! And yet… I’ve an insecurity that you can(‘t) imagine, every time I respond to a job advertising I always feel like the most incompetent of the world. With this job insecurity they make everything insecure, even… l’anima de li mejo mortacci loro (Roman slang, literally the soul of your best -dishonored- dead relatives).
“But now you have a name on your resume”. A name that’s a god who will guide with you like a lighthouse in the night and take you to the turning point of your life. But even with big names, titles and qualifications, nothing changes. Indeed, if possible, it make it worse.
“Ah, the well-known left-wing newspaper mh-mh…”, in front of a Mediaset desk (the right wing network owned by Berlusconi).
Or: “Oh, you’re really a journalist… we were looking for a writing enthusiast… you know, it’s enough for us”.
Just write a legibly Italian, nobody cares of bad grammar, there’s no longer need to report, maybe not the truth because that’s impossible, but at least real interests beyond strange wishes, like spying other lives. “Engines & School”, which website is it? The article about “side boob selfies”, next to the one that remembers Pier Paolo Pasolini, what does it mean? Nothing to say against the “writing enthusiasts”, I’m one of them too, but when reality doesn’t walk along with time, we reach absurdity.
What happened to the professions?
Why am I “shaped” for a world that doesn’t exist?
“I feel the energy to build palaces, founding fairs, inventing miracles, only to be reduced to irrigate the mechanics of copy machines? And in the meantime, to see my mother growing old at work, more and more tired, more and more on the edge of a seizure, and every year that you feel almost at the finish line of retirement… psych! They should let us work, instead of killing our parents with fatigue! I refuse that, I’m leaving, I just have to figure out where!”
“Maybe you need to achieve ataraxia”, my friend says.
“Ataraxia? The absence of pain? It can’t, it doesn’t exist. If you get a cramp in your foot, ataraxia my ass!”
Or if you have to “pass the articles” (a way to say in Italian, it means “to review” in English) such as “Interns, more and more and increasingly exploited”, as an intern before, and collaborator then, who in any case have never seen any money. And having even problems to say that because the voice is undeterred: “Come on, however, they’ve given you so much“.
So I feel guilty, even though in hindsight it wouldn’t even bite the hand that feeds me, because of course I haven’t never eaten there. At most I meta-bite the hand, because it’s true damn, “the name is a total resume padder”. But even that’s an illusion.
Okay, compared to what you can hear around, they didn’t park me at the printers, but let me say that later, when I became a journalist and I started to work with them (at my expense), they had to give me “money”: which belong to them as belong to me. Neither more nor less: we’re becoming so “reverential” that seems almost ugly to ask them. Talk about it. I want my money, what’s wrong? The fact is that, if you’re in crisis so that you cannot even give me food stamps, you don’t take the intern that let you come out on Easter and on Midsummer’s Eve when there’s not even a dog in the newsroom. If you aren’t able to change, you die because it’s natural. And someone else runs the show.
“Well, but this is how it starts”.
“Yes, but you’re not getting anywhere”.
Call it “due” anymore, after 30, and after all that has changed in the world, perhaps it’s not fair. You see us as debtors on which to claim rights, rightly, as we still make a living behind you. But you had your tests, there was someone who at one point gave you an assignment, you took your responsibilities, you have done what you could, many working and many eating up a lot, and here’s your reward: wealth and poor children. You’ve experienced the cyclical nature of the healthy give and take. Your riches were and are physically yours: eating up so much before, locking “open” competitions and jobs down, investing in the cheap old age and speculating on the human capital of children, so greedy.
“They gave me so much”, but which experience gives little? The people who eventually made possible my publicist badge, because they paid me, are the most unimaginable: two retired women. After founding a charity for foreign children, they got it into their heads to create an online magazine. Training young graduates, to make them bet on a new project, accompany them for two years, paying them what they could, to get them examined. Thanks to them today I believe that if you want you can, but people do not want.
Here’s, now I have my badge. To go to the cinema at a reduced price. While I continue to pass the days translating Job Listings in Italian language.
Those on the internet, above all, that’s a kind of unsettling jungle that swallows CVs and spits about three feedbacks per year, thing that, in the long run, procures much paranoia. “Why the other two hundred sixty-nine don’t answer me? What are they doing with my resume?”
After a careful logical analysis of the Approfittése (maybe Profitish in English, this new language created precisely for the purpose of screwing you), I realized that basically it relies on a rule, expressing the opposite of what it says.
“At the moment, unfortunately, the collaboration is be understood for free” that is “From here on out, fortunately for us, the exploitation is not intended to be paid”.
Would you answer?
“Salary: the best employees will have the opportunity to continue working for a prestigious newspaper“.
What an honor.
“The collaboration of the journalist doesn’t provide for reimbursement of expenses, or any other financial reward. Participation, following accreditation, in the theatrical, film and art events is in our opinion the best refund“.
This “best refund” is already a right for the journalists (following registration and payment to its own Order of belonging).
“We specify, to be correct, that collaboration is entirely voluntary, but for the most productives there’s a chance to do a key role working experience in a young and dynamic environment, which can also be shown on your CV“.
Such a fairness! And which a big concession!
The only one exception was the logical analysis of the answer of another boss to my legitimate complaint about my compensation (from Ad here we focus more concretely on Work):
“Dear Dr., you’re absolutely right: gross rate of thirtyfive euros for one page is a misery” (trans. Thanks for having complained alone). “But I assure you, with the times we live in, I think it’s very difficult that, at least for now, we could increase the salary” (trans. But you got to take what you get as well). “But who knows, maybe the wind will change!” (dreamer’s phrase, so indeterminate that could mean everything and nothing and probably will be nothing).
Rule #1: do not despair.
Come on, you’ve received an answer to the CV! “As regards gain, being a start-up that is emerging now and is being testing, we cannot guarantee an accurate…”
I can no longer read.
Today, I live by renting one room of my mother’s home to travelers who come to visit Roma, thing that allows me to write, even for free, without too much guilt or injustice crisis. I’m going to turn thirty-two, I’m convinced of my journey, and I cannot accept to work for free anymore. However, I can fight this battle on behalf of those who cannot afford it, as long as we don’t are united, because if it won’t happen, sooner or later we’ll stop even to indignate.
At the end of the story a question remains: what have I really done in the past ten years, if I didn’t work?
The editor? The journalist? The biographer? I could say, in fact I say it, somehow I satisfied a certain social surface, that’s for sure. I pretended to work while “in reality” I pretended to build a fake role so that someone would pretend to fall for it, becoming true. Never happened. The game of roles continues and when you’re in the loop it becomes difficult to believe in something or determine objectives. Because if you look the others in the face you see them in the same condition.
Among friends and acquaintances stories multiply: young collaborators, hopeful for a permanent position, undertook to deal with “handsy men”; young artists who work in banks, swayed by the luxurious and lustful prospects of the big bosses; young graduates in Communication, communicating in the frost of the streets, strictly on piecework, for well-known companies that deal in the social; young people of all kinds with many temporary (endless) contracts; young fired and hired back in downgraded positions; young “interns” for life earning 400 euros per month; smart people on the brink of depression that just to do something, go to Sofia to work in a call center; people who take ear infections for these kinds of job; who quarrels every day in many workplaces for their (human) rights; women who still break their backs to wash the toilets of the riches for a penny; women who still aren’t allowed to acknowledge the work as a tool of independence; and the redundant workers and “esodati” (who discontinues his employment as a result of corporate restructuring agreements or business crisis, but isn’t entitled to a pension yet, because of the raising of the retirement age or a modification of the requirements for access to the treatment pension), work-related deaths and suicides, brothers and sisters of all ages, exploited, frustrated, conned. All my friends. All only children. Will we really be the only ones?
Mio fratello è figlio unico
sfruttato represso calpestato odiato
deriso frustrato picchiato derubato
dimagrito declassato sottomesso disgregato
e ti amo Mario
My brother is an only child
exploited repressed trampled hated
mocked frustrated beaten robbed
slimmed downgraded submissive disrupted
and I love Mario
(Rino Gaetano, 1976)
“The song of the outcast because of his decency”, composed by who already saw the crux of the matter. The decency, again, to not take what’s rightfully ours, in front of people who no longer knows to step aside, in a country that no longer follows the cyclical instinct of life.
We’re getting old, before we could get the space to do what we should have had.
Years of nothing that have transformed us into bamboccioni (big babies) as you called us. Years trying to say that we have our ideas too, always rejected in favor of the usual. Years that have afflicted so many people, killing the moods, led to the NEET (Not Education, Employment, Training), the new, other, nothing. If we’ll be able to turn it back into something, it will not be thanks to you.