Seasonal work in Austria is similar as Big Brother. Without the Big Brother. You spend most of the time in the same building, with the same people, doing the same work all day, every day. In between you are pushed into unexpected situations, which you are trying to solve while your left knee is painfully cracking and the right arm, well, you do not feel it anymore. Each of us is bearing its own cross and people who decided for seasonal work at our northern neighbours usually bear big one. Bringing along their bindle, unique character and rather impressive life story.

Decades of that kind of work are resulting in destroyed body. Sick leave is something that workers can not afford. When they are forced to do so, just because body gave up and they ended up on painkiller infusion, it is not really sick leave, but is taken as holiday by employees. Nobody ever make a stand against somebody superior. It might be that Slovenians do so due to farmhand mentality, which was somehow wrongly recapped while we were trying to understand Slovenian writer Cankar a while ago. His irony desperately needs fresh interpretation. It is up to us, younger generations, to refresh the given mentality. We shall not go down on our knees! We didn’t make a revolution on the spot, even though it crossed our minds to burn ourselves alive in front of the hotel! We didn’t make a revolution, but we did speak and with the last atoms of energy asked, if they are planning to hire new workers as we are working for 12 hour a day. Ms Boss replied that she is aware of the situation and in the very same breath offered us ice cream. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to offer strong alcohol or even soft drugs at that moment! For clearer understanding: our extra hours are treated as humanitarian work, which became well known intern joke that we even found funny at times.

Bosnians are silent because of working permits, which are not easy to get. We are pretty sure, that if seasonal workers in Austria would justify their rights and would be fairly paid, huge number of places would shut down. One worker is usually doing work of two if not three workers. At the very end Polona suggested reorganization of work and slightly better conditions for workers in the future. What she was left with, was cold blooded respond from Mr Boss saying that that is just how it is, hard work.

The text above might sound totally depressive, but we must say, that we are still on the high flying disk most of the time! Remembering each other to climb back up, if we start falling downwards! We have heard stories about good working places in Austria, which were obviously not meant to be for us – for a reason.

Physical as well as psychological stress in a certain period of life is something, what can help you to make a distance from the past and make a courageous step forward to what is yet to be. Overall we were enjoying fully in each others presence. While swearing a lot. Smoking once in a while. Wishing each other to die: to stick a pen directly to her heart or to spray vinegar to all holes of her body. Laughing with cheeping lungs. Singing and playing ukulele. Eating dinner on the forest’s moss. Posing in Austrian traditional drindl. Without any particular reason. With winter socks stuffed in bra.

Now it’s over. Farewell, Austria!

Polo and Maja

Avstrija: zakulisje sezonskega dela

Sezonsko delo v Avstriji je en tak Big Brother brez velikega brata. Večino svojega časa preživiš v eni in ta isti zgradbi, z enimi in taistimi ljudmi in opravljaš eno in taisto delo cele ljube dneve. Vmes si potisnjen v nepričakovane situacije, ki jih rešuješ, ko ti poka levo koleno in prstov na desni roki ne čutiš več. Vsak nosi svoj križ in ljudje, ki se odločijo za sezonsko delo pri naših severnih sosedih ponavadi nosijo precej velikega. Vsak pride s culo, edinstvenim karakterjem in razgibano življenjsko zgodbo.

Desetletja takega dela terjajo svoj davek: uničeno telo. Bolniške si ljudje ne privoščijo. Ko pa so vanjo prisiljeni, ker telo preprosto ne zmore več in končajo na večdnevni protibolečinski infuziji, se ta odsotnost šteje kot dopust. Nihče se nikomur ne postavlja po robu. Slovenci verjetno zaradi hlapčevske mentalitete, ki smo jo po Cankarju rahlo napačno prevzeli. Njegova ironija potrebuje svežo interpretacijo, ki ji morda ta mladi (šele) utiramo pot. Ni nam treba na kolena! Nisva ravno zanetili revolucije, čeprav name je prišlo na misel tudi, da bi se pred hotelom protestno živi zažgali! Nisva zanetili revolucije, sva z zadnjimi atomi energije povprašali, če nameravajo zaposliti še koga, kajti naš delovnik se giba okoli dolgih 12 ur. Gospa šefica je odgovorila, da se tega zaveda in nama v isti sapi ponudila sladoled. Nemara bi v tistem trenutku bilo bolj primerno ponuditi šnops ali celo mehke droge! Za lažje razumevanje: naše nadure lahko enačimo s humanitarnim delom in to je postala interna šala, ki smo je ji včasih celo nasmejali.

Bosanci so tiho zaradi delovnih papirjev, ki jih ni tako preprosto dobiti. Gotovo je, če bi sezonski delavci v Avstriji upravičevali svoje pravice in bili pošteno izplačani, bi se velika večina turističnih obratov lahko zaprla. En delavec tukaj opravlja delo vsaj dveh. Zdaj pa računajte. Ob poslednjem stiku je Polona navrgla predlog o rahli reorganizaciji dela in predvsem bolj poštenem ravnanju z delavci v bodoče. Gospod šef se je na to opazko hladnokrvno odzval, češ, da to je pač težko delo.

Kakorkoli depresivno že deluje zgornji del teksta, naj poveva, da sva midve še vedno večino časa na visoko letečem disku in druga drugo opominjava, da se tja vrneva, ko začneva padati! Slišali sva zgodbe o dobrih avstrijskih delovnih mestih, ki nama očitno niso bili namenjeni – z namenom.

Fizični (tudi psihični) napor za neko določeno obdobje je morda tisto, kar včasih potrebuješ, da se oddaljiš od tistega prej in zbistriš tisto kar še bo. Midve sva predvsem uživali ena ob drugi. Med pogostim psovanjem. Bil je pokajen tudi kak cigaret. Tek z bolečim kolenom. Grozenje s smrtjo: kulica zapičena direktno v srce ali špricanje kisa v vse telesne odprtine. Smeh s piskanjem v pljučih. Večerja na gozdnem mahu. Petje in ukulele. Poziranje v avstrijskih tradicionalnih drindlih. Brez razloga. Z zimskimi zokni zatlačenimi v modrc.

Zbogom, Avstrija!

Polo in Maja

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