German companies, but probably other companies elsewhere in Europe as well, need you to be 20 years old but have 30 years job experience when applying for a job. This means you should have 9 years work experience before your mother conceived you and at least 9 months experience during pregnancy plus 20 years after labor and delivery. So if you are over 30 there is little chance of finding a job. However, if you were lucky to find one you need to work till you are frail of old age about to say goodbye for good. The puzzling question is: what is the meaning of the German Solidarity System or the so called Generation Contract?

Germans lost trust in their pension scheme long ago before Norbert Blume, the former CDU’s short and heavy secretary of labor, announced nonchalantly his historic speech: Renten sind sicher” meaning “we guarantee pensions”. But what a miserable life a German worker leads, be he a blue-collar worker or white-collar worker? He counts days till he can go on holiday to the 17th German state Mallorca. At least five years before retirement age, if he were lucky to make it, his visits to the doctor’s increase dramatically and he suffers from all sorts of illnesses, not only “Kreislaufkollaps” circulatory collapse, the German pet health problem.

Germans feel their Beruf “profession” is more than central in their life and affectionately call it “Berufung” life’s calling or vocation. Another saying goes as far as claiming “Arbeit hält Jung” meaning the more you work the longer you will stay young. This type of “Berufung” should not to be confused with legal “Berufung” at court meaning lodging an appeal to a higher court. The German word Arbeit which is of feminine gender “die Arbeit” shows that German women are more industrious than German men and more easily find a job as a secretary provided that they are young and blond. “Arbeit” after all has become a drag with the unemployed men at Arbeitsamt. But friends, there is no reason to complain you know “Arbeit hält Jung”. It is better to be married to your job “verheiratet mit dem Beruf” than stay home. Not a few German men find the idea of retiring even more terrifying because then they are then at a loss what do, suffer from loneliness and are afraid of marital conflicts. The divorce rate peaks.

Dr. Jamshid Ibrahim
Bremen – Germany