This week I finally earned my first Pounds sterling. For the time being, that mere fact is more important to me than the quantity of pounds, which is a good thing. I have negotiated competitively about this job, which is why my income is now below the minimum wage. The job is in a shoe shop at 10 minutes cycling from our house. It is a small shop with mostly cheap shoes. I work there together with the wife of the owner, Agnes.
My natural interest in shoes is not so great that it will bring me far in this job. Fortunately, I can compensate this with a winning smile and a high efficiency when searching for shoes in the back of the shop.
The High Street is also a place where you can get insight into the lives of people who live here. Especially the women who are out shopping on a weekday with a stroller, towing one or more toddlers with them. Agnes says that girls often get pregnant while they’re still in high school. If you are unemployed and have no education, a child is the way to get more benefits — whether you are single or have a relationship. For example, you get the right to own a home, and child benefits. In England this effect continues to increase with a second, third and fourth child. Of course the children themselves are the victims, because they grow up with an unstable mother.
It’s good to be out of the house during the day and speak to people. I have no idea how long I will do this job. The owner continues to search for a permanent employee, and I keep looking for a job that I have studied for. Until then, the shoes will keep me busy.