The Pleasures and Pains of Juggling 5 Jobs in Berlin

5 jobs illustration

One of my few Facebook statuses that actually got a decent amount of likes read that the hardest kind of threesome to be arranged in Berlin is when you’re struggling to get both the person who’s selling whatever heavyweight furniture you want and the guy that has a van to transport it to meet you at a time that you happen to be free. And I’ve been standing by this belief for quite a time, when Berlin decided to once again mercilessly prove to me that I really don’t know life at all.

I still don’t regard organizing a threeway as a particular challenge in a city where your trusted dress code for some clubs is either kinky or naked. What kind of feels like one, though, is scheduling your week with five different part time jobs.

Frankly, I don’t even know how they all came about. One minute, I was one of those unripe expat new arrivals, excited for the 20 euros I’d get from a a cleaning gig I just figured out on a website that listed me as ‘sehr sauber, sorgfältig und zuverlässig’, and then the next, I had an interview at iHeartBerlin.

Well, that’s how it feels now. But I can’t possibly tell you how many tears of self doubt I shed over my lonely 2 a.m. kebab that I’d get from an elderly Turkish gentleman who felt like the only person willing to be there for me. That is not to say I boast now absolute confidence about my fate and only eat vegan stuff – quite the contrary. Now I just know that it’s all part of the deal.

And that’s some very useful knowledge when I realize that the only kind of American dream (which I’ve been striving for since my brothers moved to California) I’ll ever get is working 5 jobs to afford a 14 square meters WG room. And as tough as it may sound, it’s all been my choice – hustling in order to preserve my soul against being employed in a popular coffeehouse chain, or maybe just subconsciously going for the cliche destitute lot of a writer, I’ve decided to keep myself busy with the meanders of language even if it means working as a translator at a drug help center and handing out clean needles to heroin addicts.

Needless (no pun intended) to say, I do enjoy the diversity of all the worlds that I’m a part of. Thanks to all the different experiences, I pretty much know now what I’m after and I’m getting slightly better at not squandering my time on things that just don’t feel good.

Does waking up at 5 am for an 8 hours barista shift followed with some translation and crowned with writing this article make me feel so swell then? Well, it’s a part of the deal. And I know that the old me, from a year ago, would not believe how fun it’s been so far.

illustration: Berk Karaoglu, photo: Averie Woodard

Michalina by Michalina
on April 18th, 2017
updated on April 18th, 2017
in Stories
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