What's going on in ... ? - German for beginners in 11 episodes

Brigitte – the clueless

In reality

Born in Düsseldorf on 2 December, 1955
Grew up in Düsseödorf
Now lives in Velbert, Bologne and Reggiolo, Northern Italy (since 1979)
Marital status: single (with life partner), no children
Studied history, German and publicity
Profession: freelance publicist and translator

In the series:

travel guide and interpreter

Brigitte has not yet settled on a satisfactory way of life. As far as work is concerned, she always finds herself making compromises. In matters of the heart, however, her priorities are more clearly defined. In the distance there is a certain Klaus, but for her that is not enough. Secretly she is still waiting for true love. Her sentimental streak is suggested by her choice of music: the Argentinean ‘Milonga’ and the melancholic Brazilian folksong, both of which express her southern inclination. We usually only see Brigitte in relation to her work, in which she must constantly tell people things she has learnt by rote. Yet behind the professional façade lies a highly emotional personality. She is someone who is looking for something. In many ways she embodies a new type of German reality:

- She lives on her own, as do the majority of Germans, some 37% of the population. By comparison, in 1925 only 6.7% of Germans lived in single person households. (Source: Datenreport des Bundesamtes 2002)

- Brigitte works on a freelance basis. Originally it was only lawyers, doctors, architects and artists who worked on a freelance basis, with the exception of the artists all well-paid professions. As the number of university graduates has risen over the last 15 years, Germany has found itself confronted with the problem of graduate unemployment for the first time. More and more people have to deal with the ensuing difficulties by finding casual jobs. They don’t have permanent employers, only offering short-term services. There are freelance translators, journalists, publicists, computer scientists, teachers, directors, and so on. Their pay is usually below average and they receive almost no help from the German social welfare system. Their financial future is uncertain, particularly in respect of provision for old age. The advantage of this generally forced situation: there is no boss!

- Like many university graduates, Brigitte belongs to the growing number of German women who decide to remain childless and unmarried. The decision not to have children has many reasons. Academic jobs are often more interesting and better paid than others. It is also difficult to combine children and career. Many refuse to give up luxury and affluence for children. Children make one dependent on a husband, on money and on the state. When you have children it is more difficult to find a place to live and a job. And children also require a lot of work and attention, which is often not recognised. Many people ask themselves whether they should bring children into a world whose biggest problem is possibly that of population explosion, and when birth control is available via contraception. Brigitte has decided for herself, but she still doesn’t really know what to do with her freedom.


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