By Santino Santinelli
My name is Santino Santinelli, I am 29 years old, Italian – and I am unemployed. I graduated in applied languages, studying English and German, and I specialised in Event Management. During my studies, I had been taking part in different European programs, so I had the chance to study and work in Germany and in Ireland.
After my graduation in Italy, I had many interviews in my home country, but most of them concluded in the same ways: “Congratulations for your CV and the advanced level of your English and German, but unfortunately we can’t employ anybody at the moment!” Or: “Practical experience is required in this job and you don’t have it at all.” What surprised me the most was the fact that apart from the congratulations, nobody really believed I could have been a resource for them – human capital that it was worth investing time into.
I never believed I would get an open-ended contract. I just expected to find a fixed-term job, but my expectations had to face the sad truth very soon: a youth unemployment rate in Italy of more than 42 percent. I think there are many reasons for that bad development: mistakes of politicians, managers, but also our traditions and culture.
Finally, I found a little company that organises international events. I thought it would be a good chance to start, but soon I realised that nobody in that company wanted to teach me his/her knowledge. I was only doing what had to be done at the moment without acquiring any further experience. It was a bad deal with ten-day-contracts, earning only 4 € per hour. I had agreed with that offer because I wanted to work in that field and I knew that other people of my age got the same salary, too.
But soon, the company began to lose clients, not because of the crisis, but because of strategically wrong choices. Last year, I worked just a few days every two or three months for them.
I started to plan an alternative way to earn money in a legal way, collecting experiences by myself and doing what I like to do. I started to give private lessons, teaching students in learning English. By now, I mainly work as a social media manager for the online newspaper “One Europe”. I take part in national or local contests, hoping to win prizes. Once, I succeeded and won a national prize for photography.
Surely enough, without the significant economic support from my family, I wouldn’t be able to survive in this way, but I am also learning a lot during this difficult period of my life. In fact, now I understand better that life can be very hard, but one always needs to use his own creativity and competences in order to receive satisfaction. I still don’t earn money and don’t have a stable contract, but at least I am living with passion, spending time doing interesting things and learning along the way.
I am still looking for a job that allows me to speak English or German or at least to work in the cultural field. I was considering moving to Germany or Ireland, but I am hesitant to do so, because during my period in Dublin, I was not successful in finding a job there. After that experience, I realised that I could face some economic problems abroad, so I preferred to stay at home.
Additionally, I don’t want to break up the different collaborations I have here in Italy and begin a new life in another country. I even don’t want to move to other regions of my country. Many friends of mine moved abroad, but just for some months with the aim to experience and to learn the language. After some time, all of them came back home.
Sometimes I think I’ve made some mistakes. Maybe I haven’t found a proper job because of my expectations. I’ve spent much time looking for a job related to my studies and I ignored jobs I didn’t consider being interesting for me.
Living without a job means to be forced to save money and to pay close attention on the way you use the little money you have. For me personally, that’s not too hard. I live in the province and life here is easy and unpretentious.
I don’t see a job just as a way to earn money. Of course, being economically independent would be great for me, but I really want a job because I need an employment – something to do that gives my life a sense. Even though I am lucky enough to receive enough support from my family.
Sometimes I feel like an opportunist towards my parents, but at the same time I know that the rest of the family also benefits from my stay at home: we can help each other in daily life. Many other young Italians do the same.
The current situation of my country is very bad. I don’t believe in our politicians, managers and businessmen and I don’t like many aspects of our culture. But I am sure there will be a change: my generation is without any chance and for this reason, we must create many new opportunities for us. I am quite sure we will be able to do so. The only problem is: We need time, many years. I believe the European Union could help us and I am sure it will do so.
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