A hopeless situation

March 26, 2012

By Cathal McNaughton

Time is running out for Natassa Papakonstantinou – by August she could be homeless.

What becomes depressingly apparent as we sit in her tastefully decorated apartment in a middle class suburb of Athens, is that there is no plan B. Last August, 43-year-old Natassa was finally laid off from her job in telecommunications – she hadn’t been paid a penny for the previous six months so she had been living off her savings and hoping for the best.

She was made redundant and now gets by on 461 euros she gets each month in state benefits plus what little is left of her dwindling savings. By August she has calculated that she will be penniless and, with no money to pay her rent, she could be homeless.

She told me that every day she spends up to six hours trawling the internet for job opportunities and applies for any job she can find – she gets few replies. “I sit in my office for hours on end looking for work. I rarely go out and I am nearly always on my own.”

She has tried everything – even recruitment agencies that specialize in jobs in Australia – but she says they exploited her. “They took hundreds of euros from me for administration fees and then said I wasn’t eligible to work in Australia as I don’t score enough points for a visa. They said I could pay more money and apply again.”

Natassa is divorced and she has no family. Her mother and father, a university professor and a lawyer, died several years ago. Her brother died last year plunging her further into depression.

Her once affluent lifestyle has slipped slowly from her grasp and who knows where she will end up?

She once collected antique furniture and was a talented amateur interior designer. She used to eat out in local restaurants with her friends from work – now she shops for fruit at the local market and sits in the home she may lose, worrying constantly about her uncertain future.

“I don’t even listen to music much now. I used to love it but in the bad times of your life you forget about your hobbies,” she says.

It’s hard to know what to say to reassure her – how can I tell her things will be okay when they clearly won’t?

5 comments

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Natassa Papakonstantinou,

You need to focus on living in this world. Not losing hope. Some people goes trough some kind of hardship within their life.

Your life will turn around. Put the Lord first, the lord will take care of you.

Wake up girl,”You do have the power to turn your life around.”

I have been trough a lot also. Lost my home because someone hurt me very badly. I was not able to work for a long time. I had no one to help either.

If you can not find a job right now. Try going back to college. The Lord, is giving you time to rest. When you isolated yourself, “the depression will only get worst.”

It also help being around other people that are having hard times.

I am asking you, to help other people who might be going trough the same thing.

The Lord made you a fighting warrior. Don’t give up on yourself.

I will put you in my prayer.

chosenonebygod

Posted by Aigneas | Report as abusive

If the republicans win in November and put in the same sort of draconian budget cuts Germany insisted on in Greece, it’s going to happen in the US too. Of course, “The Lord” will then watch and wonder about all those people who screamed and fretted about Obama “taking over” their health care when they lose their jobs and their employer-sponsored insurance coverage. (My guess is a good number of them will wind up on Medicaid.) The critical thing here is that bad things tend to spiral–one bad thing feeds on and leads to another. Fewer jobs lead to less tax revenue and higher government expenditures, and then there’s a reaction and things get even worse. We are going to wind up making the same mistake as FDR did in 1937 and elongate the depression by four years by cutting government spending too soon. (The irony here is that Bush was a lot better than Hoover and at least he did something, and Obama largely continued his economic policies thus far. Hoover did nothing, and the depression was worse in 1932 than it was in ’29.)

Posted by Oprah_2011 | Report as abusive

i am so sorry to here about your situation. it makes me wish that i lived there to where i was able to assist you. as far as recruitting firms. i currently am employed through a recruiting firm and i have never heard of anyone charging you to help you find employment becasue they gt paid by the compnay. it sounds like a scam. though i am in the us and you are in australia. if i were you, i would do some research about that. most place have churches that will help you pay maybe some of your bills, like for water gas, things of that nature. maybe you can find some help with charity.

honestly i dont know what your faith in. i but i am a firm believe and a witness that there is a lesson in all of this. i have been in the same situation before. i do know exactly how you feel. i pray that god kindles your trouble heat, ease your mind, and show you what it is that he is wanting for you. because what you have now, even if you lost it all, you will have greater.

do give up or give in.

and i to know how it is to not have a family there for you.

dont give dont give in

Posted by rebecca.young | Report as abusive

I am a Chinese people. We live in different country, but I do not think your life is hopeless. I don`t know what is “461 euros” for you, but is a large sum of money for me, since I only earn ¥2500 (301.75 euros) per month. I have a wife who can go to work because she is pregnancy. If you condition is hopeless, how about mine, maybe the only way to my wife and me is go to hell. But I never think my life is hopeless. I have my dream. I work hard for my dream daily. What is your dream? You find it, you find hope and happy.

Posted by zhung | Report as abusive

I may not have how to help you more, but if you need someone to talk to I am here.
I’m a private teacher of languages ​​in Brazil. I live in Brazil but my SO is Greek, and he lives with his (mine also)family in Greece. I am always searching about news and actually I avoid talking to them about it.
No one but my SO wants to leave Greece.
It used to be a country plenty of love and joy. I haven’t seen any other country in Europe so warm as Greece.
It breaks my heart and I hope our governments can fight together. It’s not only a Greek or European problem, it’s humanitarian.
We lack compromised politicians, compromised with the truth and people well-being and not money only.

Posted by fbeatriz | Report as abusive