When I first started my blog, I vowed to steer clear from issues like politics and religion. However, I’ll make a rare exception today. You see, a lot of people have kindly been asking me what’s happening in Greece. With everything they see on their TVs, their worry is natural, and much appreciated – which is why I decided to break my rule and answer that question in a post.
There seem to be two points of view as to Greece’s fate. The first is that the evil Europeans have ganged up against poor, defenseless Greece.
Presumably they got tired of Greeks stealing all the sunshine and spending all day at the beach, eating souvlaki and enjoying early retirement at the ripe old age of thirty.
Which is pretty much the second point of view.
As always, the truth is somewhere in the middle. Decades of cronyism and populist policies by all the main parties have led to an overbloated public sector and a score of young pensioners. At the same time, the solutions offered by the EU have been a recipe for disaster, adding to the problem by obsessively focusing on austerity. Then again, the left seems to think it will solve Greece’s low productivity problems by hiring everyone into the civil sector. Hmm…
I could expand more, but pretty much everything I’d like to say on the matter is covered by the latest Economist article, Europe’s future in Greece’s hands.
How about me?
So, where does all that leave your average Greek? As Greece has never had a proper social security network, Greeks have developed strong family ties. Most people, therefore, have depended on family to help them through this rough patch. Which is why, should you visit, you would see far fewer homeless people than abroad.
As for me, my day job is that of web development, and social media marketing. I also do a spot of teaching every now and then, mostly for the fun of it. We’re hardly rich, but have a lovely home with a gorgeous garden, where Electra plants her veggies (by the way, we’re convinced that our bumper crop of zucchinis (see photo) this year is courtesy of our politicians, who very kindly provided the manure).
2008 was our best year, financially. I used to have eight people working for me. By 2013, we had to work twice as hard for less than half of the money. This year, business has been pretty slow, which has given me plenty of free time for writing (the silver lining).
That’s not the real problem, though. The real problem is that in 2014 I handed to the government, in one form or another, a whooping 74% of my income. As a result, I can only afford one part-time employee nowadays. So much for fighting unemployment.
Thankfully, we manage just fine, as Greece can be a pretty cheap place to live. However, when I wanted to have a minor operation earlier this year, I paid for it out of my own pocket, and went to a private hospital. Why? Because I’d had that same operation in a public hospital a few years ago, and it was botched – which is why I had to repeat it. That was 3,000 out of my own pocket – which wouldn’t be so bad, was I not forced to pay some 500 euros each month on my (compulsory) public insurance, which is supposed to cover things like that.
What makes it all worthwhile is the sun, and the sea, and the great food. But if today’s referendum leads to a “No” vote, I’ll start looking for work abroad, 15 years after my return to Greece. It’s a lovely country for holidays, with stunning scenery and some wonderful people, but it will be too damn hard to work here anymore.
So, if you hear on Sunday that the referendum has led to a “no” vote, just let me know of any teaching jobs on, say, Book Marketing near your place, and you may find yourself with a new neighbor!
PS. As Mrs. N kindly enough asked for my full CV, I thought I’d post it here.
I am feeling real sad now…and with a touch of a sweet jealousy…
You know Nicholas I am working 12 to 13 hours a day just to hear that Greeks are a bunch of lazy people…
I am 35 years old and I pay every day the faults of the previous generation.
One year before I decide to abandon my life in Athens and start a new and a hopefull one on the place my grandfather is born, on the Island of Ikaria.
Instead is the first time I am thinking to renew my passport…instead I can’t even afford the money for a proper wedding between me and Irene
But you know my old friend “Hope dies last” and I will manage to Married Irene and my childrens will born under the lazy sun of Greece and my hands will continue to bleed working on my Grandfather’s land.
I am feeling very sad because all of my friends include you and Electra follow their own Grexit and leave me and Irene back. In fact this event worries me more than the economic crisis.
I hope and I am sure that you will find very quickly a job that satisfies you needs.
P.S. Remember Greece is not only a shiny place with lovely beaches.
Thanks for that! Nothing is decided yet. If Greece continues on its way out of the EU, there’s no place for us here. It’s good to have options, though.
It saddens me to see Greece in such a terrible economic situation. I love Greece, been twice. I’d hate to see it crumble.
Fingers crossed it works out.
Thanks. Fingers, toes, hair… you name it 🙂
Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.
I don’t pretend to know everything about the Greek financial crisis but I think it probably wants to go out on its own which other countries in the EU will look at and see if perhaps they should do the same thing. This is an interesting time for Greece and its people.
Hi Tony, thanks and welcome 🙂
Actually, a poll conducted alongside the referendum showed that over 75% of people want to stay within the Eurozone. It’s what they perceive as German-imposed austerity they protested against.
I guess the Germans seem to be running Europe’s economy at the moment. I hope for better days for Greece though.
Thanks. Most of the pain is self-inflicted, IMHO. Still, so do I 🙂
Thanks for sharing Nicholas. I’ve been thinking of you every time I hear the news about Greece. I feel so bad for all the people who can’t have access to their own hard earned money. Truly horrifying. I also live in Canada. Be warned, if you’re considering living in Toronto, it’s EXTREMELY expensive to live here. Housing prices are off the charts and traffic is horrendous. I’m hoping to get to the U.S. at some point to live. 🙂
Thank you! I was hoping to find a nice little college somewhere out of the way, so I can get a decently-priced house nearby. Just a thought at the moment, of course.
Good luck tomorrow, Nick. Hope you get the result you want. I”ll be watching.
Thanks, Ali! Just a couple of hours before the tally’s out.
Will you post about it? I’d rather hear about it from you than the media.
Lol – You bet 🙂
It would appear that the no vote has won, with some 60% of the vote. Any unis around your place that might be hiring? 🙂
Oh sorry Nick. What does this mean for you? And for Greece?
No idea. They already announced they’re cutting off access to safety deposit boxes. As that’s where we keep our savings, we’re now running on fumes.
They can do that???
My thoughts exactly. Turns out they can. My guess is they’re preparing for a haircut. Rumors abound in situations like this, of course, but they’re talking a 30% haircut of all money in the bank (even what’s in deposit boxes).
Omg! That’s harsh. Maybe it won’t be that bad, as you say, rumour control etc. We should all go back to hiding our money in socks under our beds… It’s safer!!!
Lol – absolutely. Who knew, right? 🙂
I’m sorry to here that result. I think it is very short-sighted and there will be huge repercussions around the world, but hardest of all in Greece. Good luck to you – I’ happy to look around for you since I am here. Tell me what you are looking for – send me your CV…
Thank you! There’s a link to my CV at the end of the post. I’d love a teaching position on book marketing (ideally) or web development. And thanks again 🙂
It’s nice to get the straight scoop. I do wish you guys the best. Greece is the only country I visited when I was in the service where the people liked us. Hang tough.
Thank you! I’m glad to hear that, as there are a lot of idiots around 🙂
Best of luck with everything Nicholas and thanks for sharing your update on the referendum. It’s a shame you have to think of leaving your home though I can recommend Canada, having lived there for many years, or also Melbourne, which I believe has the largest Greek community outside Greece. Thinking of you and Electra, hope it all works out for you both xx
Thank you so much, Helen! We’re exploring our options as we speak. Canada is one of the top contenders 🙂
Ever since I heard the news you, Electra and Fros have been on my mind. Those are some huge zucchinis. You could probably eat for a year on one of those. Anyway, would love to have you as a new neighbor anytime though not that way. Hope the situation improves soon,
Thanks! Still, let me know if Miami U is doing any hiring 😉
We actually only kept one of that batch, as there was no way we could eat them all. The rest went to the local soup kitchen. Today, we cut a couple of fresh ones.
The University of Miami is probably hiring 🙂 & there are a number of other private colleges & universities. If I can help in any way I’m here.
Yum. We’re having zucchini today, but it’s store bought.
They are hiring, as it turns out. I just sent them my CV 🙂
I got a great offer today to work for a multinational. The only problem is, that would leave precious little time for writing.
I’ve been having zucchinis all past week. Pie, keftes (kinda like meatballs, but with zucchini and feta instead), fried and BBQ’d. I’m afraid a zucchini flower will sprout out of my head any moment now 😀
You’re very sweet Elle, thank you 🙂 I agree, we should all meet up someday on happy circumstances 🙂
I love the idea!
I immediately thought of you when I heard the banks were closing and people had no way to get their funds. Horrifying! I do hope everything works out. Moving can be a wonderful, exciting experience, but also a friggin’ nightmare. Besides, who would we visit when we finally make the trip to Greece? It’s such beautiful country, and your pics (past/present) have put it at the top of my bucket list. Your family is in our prayers.
Lol – let’s hope everything works out, and we don’t have to move, then 🙂
Of course, we could also move closer to you. Then, you could show us around.
Thanks, I do appreciate it 🙂
We would LOVE that!
Be careful what you wish for, as they say. Any colleges around? 🙂
There’s a big university 20 min. from me. Plymouth State. Google it.
Ah, nice. Will do. Thanks 🙂
Hello. What a wonderful and realistic post. I’ve been staying on Corfu a while now. Most people are uncertain how to vote tomorrow. There are truths and untruths about the Greek economy of course. I know that Greek families are so good at looking out for each other. I live in a working village on the north of the island. A great many people are part of the tourism industry during the holiday season and tend the olives out of season.Urban areas on the mainland must tell a very different story. Time will tell.
All the very very best. Kris.
Thank you so much for the kind words, and welcome 🙂
As I’m from Corfu, I’m very glad to meet you!
Great to meet you, Chris. Corfu is gorgeous all over. My Corfiot village is on the southeast (Moraitika)
Reblogged this on Anita & Jaye Dawes and commented:
I hope you won’t have to go and work somewhere else, Nicholas. Hopefully, common sense and practicality will prevail and Greece will have a better future…
Lovely post, Nicholas, and only someone as collected and sweet as you could squeeze in humor in it and just a hint of frustration. The only reason why I’ve been stopping myself from blogging about this too is because I am boiling with anger. As a comment to your post, I’ll say that if the answer is a NO, we’ll ALL be looking at different lifestyles, to put it mildly. I could never leave Greece again, especially to go to England, so Andy and I have got this alternative: a couple of chickens in the back yard, fishing trips down the beach and growing our own vegetables all year round on a larger scale. Failing that, I got my mum and dad on Lemnos and our English family members who have already come forward to send down food supplies, LOL. If anything, I’ll finally go on a successful diet 🙂 As you know Nicholas, if we don’t laugh these days, we’re lost, and I am so glad to see so many of our compatriots resort to humor. Our stoicism and calmness are what helped us survive up to here and they’ll see us through one more time, I know that, no matter the outcome.
That’s so sweet of you, thank you 🙂
We’ll probably join you in those fishing trips. They sound pretty great, actually! 😀
I’ll probably just hold the basket and let Andy do the fishing. Last time I fished I was 10, trying to catch mourmoures with my cousins on Corfu and I hooked my swimsuit instead, which was too close to the skin. Too scared to fish ever since, LOL
Lol – that’s hilarious 😀
Hang in there, Fros. Hope the situation improves soon.
Best of luck with this weekend – it’s going to be a tough few years for Greece one way or another. If things don’t go the right way, I hope you find a place to settle with your family soon. London is a fantastic place to live by the way, if you were considering it – I’m biased having grown up there (and I also have it on the brain since we’re considering leaving Hong Kong to go back) but it really is such a cool, dynamic city. And there are always lots of new opportunities.
Have you thought of setting yourself up teaching online courses on book marketing if that’s what you want to get into? When I read you wanted to teach book marketing, you made me think of Joanna Penn, over at The Creative Penn, who (until recently anyway) made most of her income from her non fiction books, courses, and speaking engagements. That could be a good setup, where income isn’t necessarily based in a single country, and therefore is more secure on the long term.
Oh, I’ve been to London an number of times. You’re absolutely right; it’s a great city. To be honest, I’d rather live in a smaller place, though. Edinburgh hit the perfect sweet spot for me, size-wise 🙂
I have thought of setting up online course. There’s a lot of competition, of course, but definitely worth considering. Thanks 🙂
There’s always hope around the corner.
I love that thought. Thank you!
I know that a lot of people depend on the stipends and it’s not as easy as the media (or the EU) makes it sound. I can’t help but think that our greedy bankers (and the role they played in the crash) should put a hand out to help; they profited immensely off the Greek crash. Horrible. I know that it’s the fault of many and that many of the ones that suffer the most had nothing to do with it. I pray that things get better for them.
I’m so glad you said something because I was wondering and hoping that things were ok with you. I really hope that you don’t have to move but I know that even if things get better temporarily, that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to revive the economy. I’m very happy that, at least, you have the opportunity (ability) to move.
You’re probably not considering the US (at least, from your comments) but if there is anything I can do, of course I will do it!
Thanks! Actually, I’d love to move to the US – I’m sorry if my comments suggested otherwise. Let me know if you hear of something 🙂
Good luck to you! Greece is indeed a beautiful country (I’ve visited twice) and I hope you get to stay there.
I’ve been with my husband and children to Greece about ten times. We fell in love with the people.
Wow, ten times?! Be sure to let me know next time you visit 🙂
So did we! They were so kind to us. We met a lot of wonderful people and had some unforgettable experiences.
So glad to hear that. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thanks! Me too 🙂
Thanks for the post, Nicholas. It is so sad to think you might have to leave such a beautiful place. I know you and Electra love it there. You have a lot to offer, so I am sure wherever you end up whether Greece or elsewhere, you will have opportunities for a great future. Hoping for a better future for Greece, and sending hugs to you and Electra. You are strong, and you will get through whatever comes.
Thank you so much for that, Michelle 🙂
Oh, so distressing that Greece is having so many challenges. You’re lucky that your skills are so desirable and you’ve experience in a growing field. My guess is you can go just about anywhere you want to. I suspect you’ll be just fine wherever you end up.
Yes, yes I agree. Nicholas could fit in anywhere with his qualifications and his honesty is, of course, an added asset. I wish him and Electra luck.
Thank you so much for that! 🙂
Thanks! Let’s hope you’re right 🙂
Nicolas, good to read there are some possibilities in other countries if you need to leave Greece! I read your CV and you have incredible qualifications & experience in business & teaching. It’s just a matter of what’s on the benefit list what plan would be best. You’ve held on with business struggles over the past few years, and looks as if it will get worse! Something came to mind as I read your CV…web-based courses in your specialty, (i.e.) web programming, publishing, writing, etc. I know several authors/ editors (US) that offer courses or manuscript counsel in writing and make pretty good money. There are also university extension fee-based courses for groups. Something to think about! Sending prayers and good thoughts as you find your way through this. Christine
Definitely something to consider. Thanks for that 🙂
You’ve captured the essence of the dilemma really well. What a tough situation for Greeks! Seriously rough road ahead. And since we are all linked together in a “wonderful” global economy, everyone will feel what you feel!
Thanks! Just another example of reality being stranger than fiction, I guess 🙂
So true. I often wonder how on earth Greece can rise above this perfect storm.
I was thinking of you first when I read that the banks were closed. I am glad you are all right more or less. Portugal seems to be close behind. Take care.
I think Portugal will be fine. Hopefully, the rest of the world will learn from Greece’s mistakes.
Reblogged this on Books and More.
I’ve been wondering about you too. Thanks for the insight, and glad you’re hanging on. It would be a shame if you have to move, but we do what we must.
Quite right. Thanks, Craig 🙂
So interesting and helpful to hear the your viewpoint and personal experience!
Thanks for your perspective, and good luck moving forward. The world will be watching this weekend’s vote. ….as she walks away clutching her 401 K with a ounce of hope…. Van
Lol – thank God for hope 😀
It is interesting to see your point of view Nicholas. I am strongly against the EU, so obviously feel that the future of Greece lies outside the Euro. However, the culture of self-assessment taxation and early pensions, was always going to be a recipe for disaster, whatever the currency. So too an economy based on the vagaries of tourism. I saw a documentary today, about the thriving Greek community in Australia.Here’s an article.https://www.studylivework.com.au/greeks_in_australia
And Edinburgh is a wonderful place, one of the few that I would consider living in, outside of London. (And Norfolk of course…)
It would be nice if you could manage to stay in Greece though. They need people with talent and vision.
Best wishes, Pete.
That’s so sweet of you, thank you. I, too, would rather stay here 🙂
I’m actually the opposite; I love the EU, and believe in it. But it needs to choose a destination and stick to it. Right now, it’s like a ship with two captains heading in opposite directions.
Thanks for the link. Yes, there is a thriving Greek community in Australia, as in many other places (Astoria springs to mind) 🙂
I hope that it gets sorted to your satisfaction Nicholas.
You’re kind as always, Pete. Thank you 🙂
Glad you have ‘come out’ on ‘your’ Greece. it was impossible not to wonder what you thought. About 20 years ago I subscribed to a magazine published in Estonia which had a sub -title ‘Working for the Post Eu Europe’. Maybe we are seeing the beginning of the post Eu Europe?
I believe we’ll weather this storm, one way or another. In that, I’m optimistic. First, we have to stand up to populism, though, and that can be pretty hard.
I loved this post, Nicholas. We share the same worries, being neighbors. In my 47 years, I don’t remember feeling as angry and worried as I feel now. What I don’t hear being debated is what kind of message a 51-49 result will convey. Because it looks like that’s where we’re heading. We’re a hot mess, that’s what we are.
But Electra is plain hot (the other, good kind) and so are your zucchinis. My mother-in-law makes the best cold zucchini summer soup. I’ll get the recipe for you if you don’t make it.
Lol – you know a girl is worried when she reveals her real age… 😀
Yep, Electra’s pretty hot :b
Thanks in advance for the recipe! Sounds great 🙂
The US may not be the place to look, either, since we are going the way of Greece with all of the public unions and governmental welfare programs. If we elect Hillary, it will be the same old, same old.
Lol – trust me, it’s not so bad 🙂
Unfortunately UK isn’t a great place to be either regards earning a living wage, never mind the lack of affordable housing and over abundance of interesting weather…
Don’t be too harsh on good ol’ UK. We’ve spent quite a few years in Edinburgh, remember? Plus, my company is still there, so it feels like home. So, definitely a strong contender. I’ve put out feelers with both Napier and the University of Edinburgh 🙂
Good Luck Nicholas 😀
Living in the UK might be a better solution, esoecailly since Nicholas studied there.
You’re right; I am rather fond of the UK 🙂
Thanks for the update from your perspective.
Thanks for reading 🙂
Everyone is watching what’s going on in Greece. Take care.
Thank you so much for sharing your plight. MR N and I have been worried for you. As we are in the currency business, so to speak, we keep close tabs on what is going on in Greece. You and your family are in our prayers.
You should seriously think about moving to Canada. We also have public health insurance but our economy is stable and improving. There is a huge Greek community here and Canada welcomes those who can contribute to the well-being of Canada.
We’d love to have you as neighbours! 🙂
I’m going to send you an email this weekend and we can talk more.
Love those zucchinis! 😀
That’s so sweet; thank you! Canada is one of the top places we’re considering. We both just love the place – and the people. Just find me a decent job offer and we’re there 🙂
YAY! 🙂 Let me check out some things and I’ll send what I find your way. Could you email me your CV?
Darn, the CV. I knew I was forgetting something 😀
I was just answering your email on the novella (awesome stuff, by the way – 30,000 words in 2 weeks?! Damn, girl!), so I’ll just add it there. Or maybe I’ll add a link on my post, too.
Awww thanks so much for your kind words. Yeah, I’m kind of in awe how much I wrote. The funny thing is that it was easier to write than POTL.
Who knew I had it in me?
But like you always tell me, seize every opportunity. 🙂
Hear, hear 🙂
Yeah, Canada! 😀
Hear, hear 😀
Your offer sounds great, but isn’t it too cold for people from sunny Greece.
I would gladly do that, Nicholas, if your discription of Greece hadn’t sound so muc like Brazil. 🙁
Lol – rings familiar, doesn’t it?
I remember the year 2008 in the US. Then I had a few hundreds $$$ in cash hidden in the house, just in case the banks would shut down. Sadly I know the feeling. To me it is as if it was yesterday.
It’s a rather shocking feeling, isn’t it?