My story

My personal situation on the labor market between 1983 – 2010: First of all I want to say that the collection of abilities, inclinations and talents (read: informal potential) on the administrative machinery (read: here AMS) is hard, if not impossible. This fact also influenced my personal employment situation so that I for years without paid work, ie was unemployed and had to deal with the AMS in Austria („Arbeitsmarktservice” – the AMS pays unemployment money and tries to find jobs for unemployed people), which in turn resulted in many experiences, some of which I describe here:

The early 90s for example: the AMS wanted me to either withdraw from the University of Vienna (enough to support formal education) or to get or no money. Although I have a university degree (read: Master of Arts) and had only been enrolled for achieving the doctoral degree at the University of Vienna – I only had to write my thesis – and was able to start each job offered… But it did not help, either de-registration and money (read: „Notstandshilfe” -money for long time unemployed people) – or continue enrollment and no money and no insurance from the AMS. I could not decide to stop studying, although I lived with my 4-5 year-old daughter alone in Austria.

My conclusion was: „Do you want to produce idiots?” I fell through the floor – no money, no insurance (partly private loans from friends) – loss of my apartment, etc., etc. I just could not „deregister” – because to me this polarity: either money or education in the depths was ridiculous. The idea that an unemployed person could indeed go to the nearest pub to get drunk paying with the unemployment money from the state, but is not allowed to continue her education was so horrendously distasteful that I simply could not take this pact – but continued to fight through the courts for my rights. Although I was largely on leave from my studies – but never expelled today.

After 4 long years (with a child 10 years of age) – I received a letter from a high court – I had already somehow forgotten about this trial – which said that it was decided that I was 100 percent right, the employment office then had to pay me 4 long years of unemployment money, moreover they had to pay extra support, including health insurance. There was talk of a mistake on the part of the AMS. That was very nice and I hope that this case helped others to get their right for education when not having a job.

In the 80s I tried to introduce the use of computers into my scientific studies. About this very meaningful project an essay of mine was published in the early 90s. I got no funding for this project even though the Institute at that time received a lot of money for the area of the development of IT infrastructure (440,000 ATS) – at that time a very nice sum of money. I realized since that time: It is not important what you can do or who you are, it is important who knows you. And if one is not sent by any „professor”, but initiated a project because he finds it to be right and because it must be done, someone like this will not get any support. Also the AMS did not pay me anything for the project. But at least they didn’t send me job offers below my academic qualifications.

However, that changed since about 2004-5. I asked them to pay for a course in the IT field (European Computer Driving License), but they refused and said they will only pay if it would be related to a job offer. So I founded my own association which then offered me a job if I had this ECDL. And so I could make the AMS pay. However, later on I had to pay my own salary from this „job”, together with social insurance – which caused me making further debths which I am still paying back tody. My conclusion: the labor market (especially in the view of the AMS) are not respecting individual applicants and their abilities.

Another story: I applied for a place for my daughter in a private kindergarten (I was not able to get a public one because I had no job). The answer from the AMS was: You earn not enough to get a kindergarten place for your daughter! Then the AMS sent me to a music school which looked for a piano teacher. When I arrived there and asked about the job, they replied „Well, you know … we have someone. There is a Romanian refugee woman with many children and needs the job.”

These were a few excerpts from „In my tale of woe with the AMS.” This is my opinion and I have experienced it. It would be nice if I were an exception – but I’m afraid not, I often hear stories from my friends. About e-learning I can not say anything. It is perhaps as a help quite well, but I think that the personal contact is very important. Also I am not sure, if you can learn everything from a computer. Learning is a complex process. Since 2010, I am disconnected from AMS, so I do not know how the situation has evolved. But I can say that I find it quite absurd: Older unemployed people spend their time doing one course after another before retiring, very meaningless.

Biographical information data about me

I studied piano at the university, and afterwards indology in Berlin – thus traveled very often to India. I moved to Vienna in 1978 to finish my studies (Master of Philosophy in 1983). I worked on a project to introduce IT to the university institutes I dealt with (documented in the article „IT in the Humanities at the University of Vienna – Oxford University Press”). I taught piano lessons to children and adults. I became a writer doing lyrics and novels. Today I am doing a PhD.