Can you guess what I’ve been doing this weekend?
Yes, that’s right. Filling in forms for the employment agency. First there was the application for unemployment benefit I which they gave me last week. Then, since I’m probably not going to be entitled to that benefit anyway, I downloaded the form for unemployment benefit II… the subsistence allowance. Answered the million questions on the main application form… half of which Jan had to help me with because I did NOT understand them… and was then instructed to fill in three more forms. Aarggh! But less than a week after first going to the employment agency (and more than a week before I’ve even become officially unemployed) all the forms are filled in. But – you knew there was going to be a but didn’t you? – I can’t hand them in yet. I got in touch with the employment agency this morning and was given an appointment for 29th June. That’s 21 days away. 3 whole weeks! Why did I even bother being quick? Also, my other appointment with the employment agency (to discuss the possibility of going freelance) is also on 29th June. I now have one appointment at 9:30 am then a second appointment with a different person at 10 am. I just hope the first person is quick!
Oh well, back to job hunting I guess. At this rate I’ll have found a job before the unemployment people even get round to dealing with my application…
I went to the IHK today – the Industrie- und Handelskammer. That would be the Chamber of Industry and Commerce to my non-German speaking readers. Why did I go there? Because my boss thought they could give me better information on going freelance than the employment agency. So I took myself off there only to be told the IHK isn’t responsible for people who want to work as freelancers… they can only help me if I want to set up a business (and if I want to do that I have to pay fees and taxes and deal with a thousand times more paperwork). Instead the woman there advised me to go the the translator’s association. So I headed off towards home – the Baden-Württemberg branch of the translator’s association just happens to be pretty much round the corner from where I live. Unfortunately it was already closed. But tomorrow I shall take myself there before 2pm and see if I can find anyone to help me.
And right now I’m off to the boyfriend’s place. He still has my CV on his computer from last time I was job hunting, so I’m off to update it, make it look pretty and stick it on a USB stick for transferral to my own computer. I’ve already seen one job that I can apply for (translating for a software company) so I’ll be getting on that first thing tomorrow…
I would also like to say a massive THANK YOU to all my bloggy friends who left such lovely, lovely comments on my last post. I will definitely keep you updated… along with the rest of the internets. Who knows, maybe the information will be useful for someone else in the future. I’m probably not the first foreigner in Germany who’s ever found themself in this situation and I sincerely doubt I shall be the last… especially if this recession continues.
I would love to say that I didn’t write once over the long weekend because I was having such a fantastic time doing wonderfully exciting things. Unfortunately, the truth is I was just too lazy. Shame really… at least then I’d have had some good news to offer you. As it is I guess we’ll just skip straight to the bad.
I arrived at work this morning only to be told my boss can no longer afford to continue paying me. The business has been doing fairly badly for a few months, we had already had a few crisis talks… and now things have reached a point where measures have to be taken… or in other words the most dispensable employee has to go. That would be me. Officially I still have a job until 15th June (two weeks notice you see) but won’t actually be going back to work (well maybe to drop something off but not going there to do any work), partly because.. well, there is no work. And partly because I still have lots of holiday to take.
So there you have it. I’ve been to the employment agency today. Got lots of forms to fill in, a form for my boss to fill in… and found out that because I haven’t been paying into the so-called “unemployment insurance” for a whole year (didn’t pay any at my first internship and have only been at this place for 10 months) I’m not entitled to Arbeitslosengeld I (unemployment benefit I… or the one where you get a bit more money) but instead will have to apply for Arbeitslosengeld II – unemployment benefit II. Also known as a subsistence allowance. Meaning they give you the amount the government claims is enough to live in (despite the fact that those who are receiving unemployment benefit II are officially below the poverty line!)
So it’s back to the drawing board… searching for non-existent jobs, trying to make my CV look interesting, (hopefully) being invited to job interviews.
Am also looking into the possibility of going freelance. I have an appointment to discuss it (and what I would have to do) with an adviser at the job centre on 29th June.
And until then? Well, I guess my days of defiant spending have now been ended for a while. I only hope I can afford to keep my flat…
Why does everything have to be so expensive? I wanted to go to Hamburg at the end of this month to visit my friend Claire. Jan agreed it was a nice idea – he also has a friend in Hamburg who he wouldn’t mind visiting. I wrote to Claire asking if that weekend would be ok, she replied that it would be and we’re welcome to sleep on her floor…. then I went to the Air Berlin website and found out that the price has gone up. Now a return flight will cost 208 euros per person. I can’t afford to spend 208 euros because a) I am intern and I don’t earn much money to start with and b) I may be unemployed next month, which means I have to save up as much money as possible so that I will at least be able to pay the rent. Jan has a proper job and earns proper money. This means he can afford to take himself to Hamburg, but he can’t pay for me as well. So… no trip to Hamburg, unless I can figure out a way to get my hands on 200 euros by the end of this week. Ideas anyone?