Being out of work is either a blessing or a curse, depending on your situation. Maybe you’re finding being home on maternity leave relaxing after working a fast paced, corporate job – or maybe it’s more stressful. Maybe you’ve recently moved and are frustrated that you haven’t found work yet – or maybe you’re secretly enjoying the break. Maybe you’ve got a partner who earns enough money for you to not have to work, maybe you’re in between careers, maybe you’re doing childcare, studying or… no matter your reason, there are a few things you need to know about being jobless in Munich.
1. Netflix is your new best friend
You may as well get your money’s worth by binge watching something new every day. Make sure you have plenty of Milka bars on hand and pay special attention to the TV shows everyone talks about in case you ever have to be social. You may be unemployed, but you’ll never be boring! Seriously, if you don’t understand what all the hype is with the new Gilmore Girls you have plenty of time to make it through all 7 seasons plus the 4 revival movies before the next Bavarian State holiday. When everyone goes out to the Biergarten, you can join them, confident in your ability to explain all of the 13 Reasons Why while expertly quoting every character from Friends. If you’re in an adventurous mood, you could even try watching TV shows in German!
2. You have time to lunch and shop
Shopping (hello TK Maxx!) and going to restaurants for lunch and dinner are also good opportunities for you to socialize, especially since you don’t have coworkers. If you’re unemployed, searching for work, and flat broke, the urge to go shopping and to nice restaurants for dinner will increase 17 billion-fold. This is when it’s best to go back to #1 and Netflix instead.
3. You can relive your student days
If you take a backpack of snacks and your Apple laptop to a coffee shop, you’ll look just like a student… no matter your age. Better yet, if you order the most organic, blended, confusing drink you can find on the menu and a butterbreze to go with it. That’s how you really fit in with the crowd.
4. Your house will finally be clean… right???
As a non-employed person, your house will obviously be spotless because your new “job” will become cleaning 24/7. Don’t think you’re done when you’ve completed the basics, such as cleaning the kitchen counters and sweeping the floor. Since you’re unemployed, you obviously have time to do things like scrub between the tiles with a toothbrush, srub spots off the walls, and keep those exterior windows polished! The neighbors can tell, even if they never step foot in your apartment. And don’t get us started on what your mother or mother in law can say!
5. The universe will help you relax
Well, as long as you find the sound of drills soothing. Your extended time at home is a sign to the Munich building & infrastructure departments that construction must begin immediately, either right outside your window or in an apartment in your building. If you’re lucky, they’ll take out the whole building next to yours and rebuild it, just for fun! Enjoy your Netflix to the gentle background noises of jackhammers, cranes, trucks going in reverse, and workers yelling everything at each other. This is especially true if you have a newborn.
6. Pyjamas are now day wear
Professionals may advise you to keep a social circle when unemployed, so as to avoid becoming a recluse. Your natural instinct will tell you otherwise – don’t fight those instincts! Live in your pyjamas, shower once a month, and avoid people altogether. Internet forums and Facebook groups (hello LMBB!) will help give the illusion of a social life, so that those professionals don’t bother you in your time of seclusion. Again, the chances of this happening increase exponentially if you have a newborn.
7. Everyone has something to tell you
Don’t talk about your lack of a job, because then everyone will give you advice (even us!). Here’s some of the advice I’ve heard:
“No worries friend, it’s easy to find English-only speaking jobs in Munich.”
“It’s tough to find work in your field without at least B level German.”
“Do you know German? Maybe you should take German classes while you have the time.”
“I wish I wasn’t working! You have it so easy!”
“It must be so difficult to live a meaningful life without a job!”
“Go to the Agentur für Arbeit! They’re very helpful.”
“Don’t go to the Agentur für Arbeit, they won’t be very helpful.”
“If you’ve got all this free time, maybe you could babysit my kids?”
8. Everyone wants to be on maternity leave
If you’re on maternity leave, you’ll gain a whole new set of skills related to caring for a tiny person while getting no sleep. Your coworkers will be so jealous you’re exempt from yet another meeting that should have been an email, and meanwhile you’ll be missing out on the good office gossip and forgetting what it felt like to have time to shower. Don’t worry, by the time you return to work, if you do, you won’t have changed at all and your life will go back to the way it was before your maternity leave… or not. Probably not.
9. Your partner will support you unquestioningly
If you live with a partner, be prepared for them to start working extra hours. They know you’re spending all that time at home by yourself, and gosh darn it they are going to support you by making sure you have maximum alone time! They know it’s best if you don’t have them around (how else will you do all the cleaning?) and that you don’t want to talk with them anyway. This is especially true if you are new to the country and literally don’t know a single person.
10. Enjoy the sun when it shines
If you’re jobless in Munich, you’ll find yourself enjoying the nice weather days by hanging out at a Biergarten, in the park, or on your balcony. You might be with friends or you might be on your own. And on the days where the weather is awful you’ll be inside, hiding under a blanket (even though you follow the customary Bavarian fashion rule of always wearing 2 sweaters, one jacket and heavy socks) and hopefully enjoying some Brotzeit. Which means you’ll fit right in!
So there you go. Follow these suggestions and no matter your employment position, you’ll know you are enjoying Munich like a local! So give yourself a cheer and maybe order another beer or a nice piece of kuchen…
Sarah Christesen is a not-too-southern Southerner from the USA who moved to Munich on a whim (her husband’s!). While her husband enjoys the life of a researcher, she teaches English, substitutes as a school teacher & writes sassy blogposts. They both enjoy hiking, Biergartens & the lack of overwhelming humidity.
Photo credit: Yolanda Ng is a cross creative who is a professional fashion designer, stylist, street style blogger for VON ZWEI and a photographer at Corner Store Photography. She is also the Creative and Marketing Director for LMBB.