‘I have done a lot of volunteer work in the past and this is my third job in the NGO world. I have always been interested in social issues. I now work for an NGO that supports Rotterdam youth in self-reliance. I’m surprised how many young people are in debt early on, but it’s also understandable if you don’t learn how to deal with buying on credit, for example. Then the collection agency is at the door, while no help is offered to solve the cause of the debts.
“Sometimes I doubt whether I can make more of an impact with a commercial party. At an NGO it is always very hard work for a subsidy and what you can do is limited. And there are so many interesting companies and corporations that are also involved in the social domain – I would like to take a look around the corner every now and then.
“Besides, I would also earn more. Not that this is the most important thing, but if I continue on this tour, I will never be able to buy a house. Unless I get a partner, but I really think it’s rubbish to depend on that. It seems as if you always get paid too little in social professions. I have peers who have followed the same type of education and who earn 1,000 to 2,000 euros net per month more at more commercial parties.”
‘It took me a lot of effort to find a house in Rotterdam. I registered with seven private brokers and through one of them, after extensive searching, it finally hit the spot. Now I have found an apartment of 60 square meters, and I live on my own for the first time. Before that I always had roommates, which was very nice, but now it was really time for my own place. My new house is not your favorite: it is old and draughty, but I am proud of it. The rent is 900 euros exclusive, but there is a small storage room that I rent to neighbors, so it comes down to 865 euros per month.
“A few years ago I took out a fixed rate for gas, so now I pay 83 euros per month, which is really a luxury these days. The contract will run for a little longer than a year, so the war in Europe should be over by then.
“I find it difficult that you receive your salary at the end of the month, and that the fixed costs then go off in bits and pieces. Why doesn’t it all happen on the same day? That is much clearer. I’m really not from yesterday and keep up with my administration, but if, for example, I want to buy a new winter coat and occasionally want to go to the cinema or theater, I have to look carefully at what time in the month I can do what. ”
A version of this article also appeared in the newspaper of November 28, 2022