Artem Berman: Hi, Thomas.

Thomas from Berlin: Hi, Artem! Can you hear me?

Artem Berman: I can hear you well. Can you hear me?

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, I can hear you well.

Artem Berman: Okay. So, once again, it’s a pleasure, and I believe we can start. If we can start, then the first question would be, “What kind of questionnaire we are going to be using?” I have three editions like I told you before. “I have never had a job” is number one. “I was employed but I am not employed presently/anymore” is number two. And “I am currently employed” – number three. So, which one?

Thomas from Berlin: The second one.

Artem Berman: I was employed, but I am not presently employed.

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, and I took a visit to your website, read the questionnaire, and everything is clear so far.

Artem Berman: Okay. Cool. I think, in reality, it will be big fun, and, basically, it should be easy for us to proceed. So, meanwhile, I am opening the second one – “I was employed, but I am not employed presently/anymore”. So, we can proceed, we can start directly. Again, like I said you I will send you the recording of the conversation when I will have the transcript written I will send it to you it once again.

Thomas from Berlin: Well, no. It is not necessary to send me any transcription also. No, no.

Artem Berman: Okay. As you say.

Thomas from Berlin: No, no.

Artem Berman: As you say.

Thomas from Berlin: No, no.

Artem Berman: Yeah, yeah, as you say.

Thomas from Berlin: No, no, it’s not necessary.

Artem Berman: Okay.

Thomas from Berlin: You can publish it how you read or how you transcribed. Yes.

Artem Berman: Okay.

Thomas from Berlin: Because it’s nothing… How can I say… It’s not a real secret, you know. It’s… Well, my living conditions are … as these of the most disabled persons in Germany… Well… And… Yes…

Artem Berman: It is not a problem. Especially because I will be using your words without any kind of editions. So…

Thomas from Berlin: But let me ask you. I have not found any dialogues or any transcriptions from other people on your website. Where can I find them?

Artem Berman: There is just one for now. And there will be much more. There is the first interview with the guy…named Arthur Nedashkovski. And it was published like last Saturday. So, let me send you the link. Just a minute. I am opening it right now. I am opening the website.

Thomas from Berlin: Are you in the enterprise or at home now?

Artem Berman: No, I am at home now.

Thomas from Berlin: Aaaa, thus…

Artem Berman: I am at home. And, actually, when I am in Spain I am working remotely.

Thomas from Berlin: This means in Spain or in Ukraine?

Artem Berman: No, right now I am in Spain. When I am in Ukraine, I am usually in the office. We have the big office like more than hundred people working there. But in Spain, I am usually spending a low season here like you know winter etc.

Thomas from Berlin: Aaa, so…

Artem Berman: When it’s really cold in Ukraine. So… I am working remotely when I am in Spain. So, here is the first interview that was published like three days ago. I plan to keep this project up and running. And basically, it will end up with a huge database of the stories of real people about their real lives. But here we have the first one and you can read it after that, after our conversation.

Thomas from Berlin: Okay. So, let’s start.

Artem Berman: Yes. Absolutely. Let’s start. And, basically, we can proceed with the first question. So, it’s a formal question. “Are you allowing to use this interview for the scientific research work?”

Thomas from Berlin: Not, not in a spoken way.

Artem Berman: Yes, only in written way. This I understand. Perfectly. “Are you allowing to publish the interview on the website?” In a written way, not in a spoken way.

Thomas from Berlin: In the written way, in transcription way.

Artem Berman: Absolutely, of course. Now question number third, “Would you like your real name or pseudonym to be used?” You have already said you would like to use kind of pseudonym and you send me your pseudonym in the Skype, which is Thomas from Berlin, Germany.

Thomas from Berlin: Yes. Yes.

Artem Berman: Perfect. Some kind of contact information. At least e-mail so I can keep in touch with you. Maybe you will just write down in Skype, so I can contact you later on. If you don’t mind. Like whatever…

Thomas from Berlin: Yes.

Artem Berman: Whatever e-mail. Gmail… Whatever you want…

Thomas from Berlin: Yes.

Artem Berman: Great.

Thomas from Berlin: We are in contact by Skype.

Artem Berman: Okay. I mean if you don’t want to provide any more information. It’s cool. We can be in contact by Skype. Great. Now question number six, “How old are you?”

Thomas from Berlin: 59.

Artem Berman: I got it. I got it. And gender, which is probably male. I believe.

Thomas from Berlin: It is.

Artem Berman: Yeah. Now, the research I will be performing will be a quantitative research …. Probably, you know the difference between qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative is normally based on the numbers. It uses statistical data and, basically does an interpretation of this statistical data. And the quantitative is basically concentrated around the person, personal experiences etc. So, what I am running is the quantitative research. That’s why I will be asking open questions that asked, you know, to build the narrative instead of just providing “yes” or “no” answers. So, for instance, the first question of this type of the interview, “Are you married? Do you have a partner?”

Thomas from Berlin: Well, you know, don’t marry, be happy. No, well, it depends on the circumstances. No, no, no, no, I am not married.

Artem Berman: Yeah, cool. Some Greek philosopher said, “You definitely should marry. If you get a good wife you become happy, otherwise, you will become a philosopher”. Right?

Thomas from Berlin: Okay, I see.

Artem Berman: I got it. Do you have kids?

Thomas from Berlin: As far as I know, no.

Artem Berman: Are you living independently or with parents or some other relatives? Like you are living on your own or with your mother, father, brothers, sisters?

Thomas from Berlin: Oh, no, no, no. I live… I live… how can I say… on my own.

Artem Berman: I got it. Now the question number eleven. Again, you can answer within the boundaries of your comfort. You provide only information you are comfortable giving away, right? If some information just kind of uncomfortable for you, you just let me know, “I don’t want to answer the question.” That’s it. So, the question number eleven, “What kind of disability do you have?” What happened to you? What was it the disability, disease or accident?

Thomas from Berlin: Well, it’s a bit, well, you know, unfortunately, you don’t speak German and therefore let me use terms of the …. UN convention for people with disabilities. You know… They are…. Can I say…

Artem Berman: Well, actually, in the worst-case scenario you can say it in German. I will find the translation in Google later on. I mean. we are living in the world of technologies, so I will be able to translate.

Thomas from Berlin: Okay, and … [Thomas is typing]. We don’t speak about disabilities. It’s better to say…

Artem Berman: Limitations.

Thomas from Berlin: Limitations…. Moment… The German word, the German word means the limitations of functions. You know … Functions.

Artem Berman: Yeah. Yeah.

Thomas from Berlin: And they are limitations of the functions. And how can I… Well, I had a car accident and I broke my neck.

Artem Berman: Oh…

Thomas from Berlin: Okay. This means a broken neck.

Artem Berman: Yeah, we are colleagues. Because at the age of sixteen I was jumping into the river, and I broke my neck as well. On the level C 5-6. So, we are in a pretty same condition.

Thomas from Berlin: So, then there is …

Artem Berman: But you had a car accident and I was jumping into the river.

Thomas from Berlin: Then the state, state after… State or condition after… concussion. Concussion, you know…

Artem Berman: Yeah! Yeah, in English it would say the consequences of the spinal trauma.

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, yes.

Artem Berman: Or the consequences of the traumatic disease of the spinal cord. I know exactly what you are talking about. That’s kind of traumatic disease of the spinal cord as the result of the trauma. Yes, I know, exactly.

Thomas from Berlin: And then there is more… Not only spinal. Yeah… You know, my brain doesn’t work as that of the healthy person… How can say….Wait a moment…It’s a decline or diminution… of the brain… You know, the brain, I don’t know.,, This means my brain can’t serve or cannot work a healthy brain. It… Well, you know, I can’t… or let me say it requires more strength to concentrate.
Artem Berman: So, basically, the question would be… You broke your neck at what level, like C5, C6, C3?

Thomas from Berlin: This is 1. My broken neck is one thing. Then there is, how can say, adaptive disorder or adjustment disorder and my, how can say… concussion. You know, the state…Different areas of problems. In this…how can say…in this…you would say…they are…

Artem Berman: Number of consequences.

Thomas from Berlin: Disabilities.
Artem Berman: In different disabilities as the consequence of the car accident. So, basically, the trauma of spinal cord was one thing. Another one is probably by that time you had a trauma of head. And several different kinds of consequences of the trauma and you are dealing right now with several problems related to that trauma to that car accident.

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, but a state has existed for years. I mean it’s a complex of problems. I mean, it’s not just one disorder… I mean there are many…consequences

Artem Berman: Yeah, I understand what you are saying, I understand what you are saying.

Thomas from Berlin: Okay, thank you.

Artem Berman: Yeah. At what age it happened? Like how old were you when the car accident happened?

Thomas from Berlin: It was in 1980th.

Artem Berman: So, you were like… How old?

Thomas from Berlin: I guess, it was 22 or so. 22-23…

Artem Berman: 22-23. I got it. If you could, please, remember “How did it affect your life in all the dimensions?” Like your social life, your family life, personal life, professional etc.?

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, of course. Every…

Artem Berman: Dimension.

Thomas from Berlin: Area of life. Every.

Artem Berman: Yeah. Basically.

Thomas from Berlin: I mean. I mean. It seems to be strange… We can speak different languages. And I can explain to you things the other people couldn’t explain, but if I were healthy I could do much much more.

Artem Berman: I can imagine. If we were speaking German it would me much easier for you to communicate. So, I do realize, basically, your kind of sharing with me your experiences and a little bit language barrier, because…

Thomas from Berlin: No-no-no-no-no-no. I mean, I mean, if I were healthy, I mean, if I didn’t have this accident, [interruptions]

Artem Berman: Yes.

Thomas from Berlin: [interruptions]

Artem Berman: Thomas, Thomas, I think, I am loosing you. Hello!

Thomas from Berlin: Yes.

Artem Berman: Yeah, now you are back. So, you were saying if you were a healthier person you would have fewer problems explaining kind of situation than you have right now. Right?

Thomas from Berlin: No-no, oh, let me explain it in the other way. If I were healthy and if I hadn’t these… how can say… disabilities… functions…

Artem Berman: Limitations.

Thomas from Berlin: Or limited functions, I could or I would do something or all things much much easier, you know.

Artem Berman: Yeah.

Thomas from Berlin: It’s… It requires much more breaks, and I could have concentrated much-much better. It’s very exhausting, you know, it’s very exhausting to concentrate.

Artem Berman: Yeah. I understand I understand what you are saying. So… Basically, what you are saying is if you were dealing with the consequences of the spinal trauma alone, that would be one thing. But provided that you have several conditions it’s much more difficult for you. To say concentrate…. So, the spinal trauma is not everything. The others conditions of yours are also a problem. I do understand what you are saying.

Thomas from Berlin: This means, for example, I can’t do many-many sports. I cannot do it. I am not allowed to. This means to swim or [interruptions]. Well, I do sports, but, but these are sports which allow me to stop at any moment and to feel where the limit are. You know?

Artem Berman: Yeah. I perfectly understand you. So, basically, this condition of the head brain that you are having is also a limitation in terms of your adjustments to the activities of everyday life. So, basically…

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, that’s right.

Artem Berman: Yes, I understand what you are saying perfectly. So, again, if you feel like difficulties or you feel like stopping we can continue any other day. Just for you to know. I mean if one hour will be a little bit difficult for you, we can do half of the questions today, for instance, and half of the questions – tomorrow. So, just keep it in mind. If you feel like stopping, you can stop me any moment you want. Okay?

Thomas from Berlin: Okay. We will see. Thank you. Thank you for understanding.

Artem Berman: Okay. Okay, question number twelve, “How your social rehabilitation started? What was the process of returning/ entering the society? What or who helped and what were the obstacles?”

Thomas from Berlin: Well, after the accident I… I had to stay at a hospital for a long time, and afterward I took part in rehabilitation measurement or something like that. I learned, I learned a profession, and after this, after I… After I managed the examination, I didn’t find any job. Really. It was… I was in a school…We are…We are…I lived at that time. It was for one and a half year, and yes… how can say… the training was great so far, but… And I passed the exam and afterward I didn’t find a job for quite a long time. And… yes…

Artem Berman: What did help the rehabilitation? You say you were attending some special school, some special courses. I guess, they were exactly dedicated to the rehabilitation after the trauma, right?

Thomas from Berlin: No-no, no-no, it took time… It means at that time I lived at boarding school or… Yes, it was a boarding school. At boarding school, I got a training… I want to… I am looking for the…

Artem Berman: Boarding school is some kind of special rehabilitation establishment or…

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, yes, yes, yes, it was. How can say…. It was…how can say… A building where I lived … I had a flat. I mean, I got the accommodation… I mean, the flat, the food. I mean, there was a restaurant, kind of restaurant, and there was, how can I say, the training, This means in the morning the training began at 8 and ended at 3 o’clock or so. And, afterward, I had time to repeat, to learn material… Yes, and I had a flat in that building. And after one and a half I year I passed the examination in front of the Berlin chamber of an industry as the industrial management assistant.

Artem Berman: I got it. So, again, let me just summarize it. So, there was a special establishment, a kind of special institution, where you lived. So, you had an apartment there. And also you

Thomas from Berlin: Just right.

Artem Berman: And also you’ve been given a training. It was both – the physical training and the professional training. And other results – after finishing up this establishment you passed the exam and received the kind of diploma of an industrial management system, right?

Thomas from Berlin: It was… how can say… It’s a certificate.
Artem Berman: I got it. I got it.

Thomas from Berlin: Yes.

Artem Berman: Now…

Thomas from Berlin: I just was there and the rehabilitation was financed by the as far as I remember the pension… I mean, the state pension insurance and the state labor insurance.

Artem Berman: I understand it perfectly.

Thomas from Berlin: This means the German Federal Pension Fund.

Artem Berman: Yeah, I understand that. I understand it perfectly. Now question number thirteen. It a little bit more about the education, “Did you have the education before your accident?” Like before what happened what kind of education you had?

Thomas from Berlin: Oh, I worked as a [interruptions], you know…

Artem Berman: Sorry, say again…
[The message was sent in Skype (with the name of profession)]
Aaa, I understand, yeah, I understand. So, basically…

Thomas from Berlin: I worked at a factory and built buses. Buses, you know?

Artem Berman: Yeah. I understand.

Thomas from Berlin: Okay.

Artem Berman: So, after the accident like you say you were passing those courses or whatever you call it, this special establishment, and you received the certificate and…

Thomas from Berlin: Wait a moment, I am looking for the English term for the training. It’s a, it’s a professional or vocational educ… This means, professional training or vocational education. This means I got completed vocational training.

Artem Berman: Okay, I see. And specialization is the industry management, right?

Thomas from Berlin: Mmmm, wait a moment. It’s industrial management assistant, and we call it [German term]. That’s the German term [pronunciation of the German term].

Artem Berman: Okay, yeah, I understand, I understand. I understand, yeah. And now about the jobs. So, you said in the beginning, you didn’t manage to actually get a job. So, “Have you ever been like employed in your life? Have you ever had regular jobs?” Whatever…

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, of course.

Artem Berman: Yes.

Thomas from Berlin: Many-many jobs.

Artem Berman: Okay, then several questions about those jobs. So, first of all, “Why you decided to have the job in the first place?” I mean not only to live, having the pension from the government, but why you decided to have the job, after all, to work? What was the reason for this decision?

Thomas from Berlin: You mean, after the accident?

Artem Berman: Yeah, after the accident and after the training.

Thomas from Berlin: Well…

Artem Berman: I mean, you had your trauma, then, you had your pension from the government, right? So you always had and have this option not to work.

Thomas from Berlin: No-no, no-no, no-no. It was… You know, I had a job before the accident.

Artem Berman: Aaa.

Thomas from Berlin: I worked at the factory as a welder. It was…how can I say. It was a very interesting job. Job made much fun and brought much money, but, well, I had one result… I had a car and motorbike, you know. It was one of the successes to work as a welder. And after the rehabilitation measurement, I wanted to…to get the job… to get the job again. And because I worked as a welder. I worked in the factory, and therefore I chose the training as an industrial management…

Artem Berman: Yes.

Thomas from Berlin: Assistant, because I was informed how a factory works, you know.

Artem Berman: Yes, I understand, yeah.

Thomas from Berlin: And, yes. This means I wanted to work in the business field. I couldn’t work as a welder. And therefore I wanted to work in the factory … how can say… in the bookkeeping area, for example.

Artem Berman: Management position, right?

Thomas from Berlin: Not, really, in the management field. I wanted to work as a bookkeeper. This means the [German term] is trained to work in the bookkeeping area.

Artem Berman: Yeah-yeah.

Thomas from Berlin: For example, yes, yes, and it’s…

Artem Berman: Yeah, I perfectly understand, yeah, understand it. So, “Have you had the jobs after the accident?”

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, I managed to work as a bookkeeper.

Artem Berman: Oh!

Thomas from Berlin: Yes. I got a training afterward. This means I had some part-time jobs, and the labor insurance, the state labor insurance financed a training for a bookkeeper.

Artem Berman: Yeah, I understand.

Thomas from Berlin: And it lasted one year, it was very-very interesting…how can say… training. And do you know SAP, for example?

Artem Berman: Yes.

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, SAP is… how can say… is a program for bookkeeping.

Artem Berman: Yeah, I understand.

Thomas from Berlin: Yes.

Artem Berman: Standard accounting practices, probably…

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, yes, yes, yes.

Artem Berman: So, again the question, “Why did you decide to work?” I mean, after the accident, you had a pension, and probably financially you could have allowed…

Thomas from Berlin: No-no-no-no. I didn’t have a pension afterward. Only got the basic money to survive.

Artem Berman: So, you didn’t have any state pension.

Thomas from Berlin: I haven’t had any pension then… at that time.,. I had…how can say…Wait a moment…

Artem Berman: Probably, only insurance money, and that’s it. No special pension.

Thomas from Berlin: Yes-yes. Insurance money. It’s called unemployment benefits.

Artem Berman: So, just for my own curiosity. In Germany, there is no special pension program for the people who are getting disability. Like, you know, there is no special government program, special government pension for this kind of people, right? In Germany, or…

Thomas from Berlin: No-no-no-no. Could you explain your question?

Artem Berman: In Ukraine, for instance, if you are getting the disability, you automatically will be getting the pension, from the state, from the government. Of course, it will be a very small pension, but you will be getting it no matter what. So, even if you never worked and you got this disability, the accident happened to you, you will be having the pension from the government. So, I am just asking if in Germany there is some kind…

Thomas from Berlin: No-no. In Germany there is… how can say… different… scales or…

Artem Berman: Levels…

Thomas from Berlin: Moment…Wait a moment…

Artem Berman: Yeah… No worries…

Thomas from Berlin: Okay. They are different patterns or schemes. In Germany exist different schemes. Someone for people with disabilities or with limited functions there are different ways or in Germany exist different ways to get the basic money to survive. There is unemployment money 1 and unemployment money 2. If someone worked, had an accident or something else, which leads to…

Artem Berman: Loosing of the functions.

Thomas from Berlin: Yes. This one would get the first one. This means unemployment money 1 from the state labor insurance. If someone…And after that, after the period of time, I mean this is limited for a period of time. And, afterward, someone would get unemployment money 2. And unemployment money 2 doesn’t depend on the wages, on the income, someone got beforehand.

Artem Berman: I got it. It’s just some kind of social benefits, which are not related to the previous work experience.

Thomas from Berlin: Yeah, this is in the second form. This means unemployment money two doesn’t depend on the income someone got beforehand. And unemployment money one depends on the income beforehand.

Artem Berman: But are we talking about the money you receive like monthly or it’s kind of one-time payment?

Thomas from Berlin: It always depends on the monthly income.

Artem Berman: Right. So, after your accident you didn’t get neither…

Thomas from Berlin: No-no, no-no. This means…how can say…the took part in labor market reform in Germany in 2005.

Artem Berman: Oh, I see, I understand now. Basically, it’s just because what happened to you happened long before they were making the reforms. They were making reforms in 2005, and your accident took place a long time before, right?

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, yes.

Artem Berman: So, I now understand. So, by that time, there were no special programs in the state, and they are right now.

Thomas from Berlin: No-no, no-no, no-no there were…how can say…special programs. I mean rehabilitation measurements for people, who are able and to want to take part in the labor market again or in the labor market again. I mean there have been, how can say, possibilities to take part in the labor market again. But I couldn’t find any job, you know.

Artem Berman: But again, again, again the question, “Back then, when you had your trauma at the age of 22-23, 80th of the past century, for instance and you had an option not to work at all and just receive some kind of social money from the government, or at that time there wasn’t such an option? ” I mean at that time could you decide, “I don’t want to work anymore. I will be receiving that social money from the government.” Or at that time there was not such an option?

Thomas from Berlin: I don’t remember. I don’t remember. I was, I… how can say… I wrote application after application. I wrote more than 5 hundred applications for a job, you know.

Artem Berman: But again, you couldn’t go without job, right? So…

Thomas from Berlin: I couldn’t find any job.

Artem Berman: This I understand. But there was not an option not to work at all, right?

Thomas from Berlin: I don’t remember.

Artem Berman: No-no, again, again.

Thomas from Berlin: Well, well, to spoke honestly, it never came into my mind to give up to search a job.

Artem Berman: That is what I am asking exactly. So, you never, like you are such kind of a person that for you it never was an option not to work. You always wanted to work, and you always were keeping your efforts to find the work. You never thought that I actually can just give up and not work at all.

Thomas from Berlin: That’s it. Yes, yes. That’s it.

Artem Berman: I understand, I understand. Okay, I understand. Now, say, finally, you found a job. Finally, you were employed.

Thomas from Berlin: Well, I went to the hospital here in my district, and I asked for a job. And they gave me a job. But really, believe me, not for persons with limited abilities. Yes.

Artem Berman: So, basically…

Thomas from Berlin: It was… how can say…it was very dangerous for me to do this job because it was… I had to carry heavy things, and I cleaned the streets in the hospital. Really, I had headaches… Really…It was…

Artem Berman: I understand… As you were saying, you were trained as the bookkeeper in any kind of the industrial objects… Did you ever found the job in these industrial objects?

Thomas from Berlin: I had some jobs as the bookkeeper, but they were always restricted. It was just for a short period of time.

Artem Berman: I understand.

Thomas from Berlin: But you know it was, how can say… Wait a moment…

Artem Berman: No worries, no worries…

Thomas from Berlin: Okay, I am looking for the English…how can say… I got… the reason I… It was limited in time or it was for a limited period of time.

Artem Berman: Yeah, I understand. It wasn’t a full time employment.

Thomas from Berlin: This job was a because someone was absent…

Artem Berman: On the vacation or other reason, so you were working as a replacement kind for limited period of time. It wasn’t full-time employment, right?

Thomas from Berlin: You know, I got… I got… Wait a moment… I got employment contracts or labor contracts, which are limited to just 1 month or for 3 months, and that’s all.

Artem Berman: Yeah, I understand, I understand what you are saying. Now the question…

Thomas from Berlin: Or someone was on holiday or…

Artem Berman: Yeah…

Thomas from Berlin: But yes…

Artem Berman: Yeah, I understand… kind of replacement work. It wasn’t a full-time employee. I got it, I understand it. Now the question, “Did any organization in at all, in which you were working for a parttime, for instance, did any organization provide you with any kind of special necessary support related to your conditions?”

Thomas from Berlin: This means if someone help me to…

Artem Berman: It means, it means if they were providing you with any adjustment or special conditions related to your state of health, for instance, I don’t know if you are… It’s like…

Thomas from Berlin: No.

Artem Berman: For instance, you are in a wheelchair. Did they provide you with a ramp if you need a flexible time schedule, did you did they provide you the flexible time schedule etc.?

Thomas from Berlin: I can only tell two words – forget it.

Artem Berman: Yeah, I got it. So, basically…

Thomas from Berlin: Don’t…Yes… No…

Artem Berman: Basically, no special conditions. You were working like anyone else, and they didn’t…

Thomas from Berlin: Yes.

Artem Berman: Adjust your working places to help you. I understand it, yeah, I understand it. Now, again the question, “Have you had any career growth opportunities in those organizations?” Again, since you are saying you were temporarily employed. Probably, not too much, right? Again, I guess they did not provide you with any career opportunities, but just as a matter of asking, did they?

Thomas from Berlin: There was, I remember, just one, one bookkeeper job. There I was asked to stay longer or without… with unlimited contract, and I told the SEO, “No, better take the woman, who normally works here.” Because she was here for a short time and I… and I…and I told him…You know, he had to decide whether she or me. And I told him, “No, this woman has … has a child, and better take this woman with the child.”

Artem Berman: I do understand it.

Thomas from Berlin: I remember just only one situation, where I was asked to…

Artem Berman: To remain, to remain in the work position and get going with the company. I got it.

Thomas from Berlin: Let me tell you about the second situation.

Artem Berman: Okay.

Thomas from Berlin: When I worked, when I been inside, yes, you know, as a disabled person with the broken neck, I worked on a building site, and I had to leave the workplace regularly because I attended a night school. And … how can say, and I was asked to work longer, you know not to work only 8 hours. Sometimes I worked 10 hours or 12 hours and the management or the superiors ask me to work longer, and I told him, “No I can’t because I visit the night school”. And 3 days later I got me, how can I say it in a friendly way… I got the dismissed.

Artem Berman: Yeah.

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, you know.

Artem Berman: I understand you.

Thomas from Berlin: It’s necessary sometimes to work longer, but I couldn’t do that.

Artem Berman: I understand that. By the way, I didn’t ask you and from what you are saying it appears you are not, but just to be sure in that one, “Do you use the wheelchair after the accident or you are not dependent on the wheelchair. Are you walking by yourself?”

Thomas from Berlin: I don’t use any wheelchair.

Artem Berman: Great, just, so, I mean, I didn’t realize that, but I understand it now. Again, question number fifteen, and we are doing great progress. I think, some 25 minutes, and we are done. And thank you very much again for agreeing to go throw all that with me now. Now, “Was any of your jobs related to your education?” So, I believe, yes, since you finished the courses, where you were trained as a bookkeeper?

Thomas from Berlin: You know, my replies and my answers, all are related to, to, to 3 decades, you know.

Artem Berman: Yes.

Thomas from Berlin: I… I wrote more than 5 hundred applications after I passed my first exam.

Artem Berman: Yes.

Thomas from Berlin: But in the mid time, I had different jobs, and more than 80% or 85% of them were… was restricted in time. As this means limited, but I and I had some small jobs, which are connected, which were connected to my education.

Artem Berman: I understand. Only some limited amount of jobs, where really connected to your education. I do understand that…

Thomas from Berlin: Yes-yes.

Artem Berman: Now, the question, probably, fairly, easy question, “Do you believe that the education or the education you received resulted in more opportunities in terms of the ability to find a job in your life?” So, like you said it, unfortunately, it was very tough for you to get a job. So, the question is, actually, “Do you believe the education that you received did help you to get a job in the end of the day?”

Thomas from Berlin: All in all, I can’t deny that the basic education, I mean, the boarding school was or has been helpful in many ways. You know, I am, I am also trained as… not only as a bookkeeper but also as…as… foreign language correspondent for the English language. Yes, and it helps me in many ways, yes.

Artem Berman: Yeah.

Thomas from Berlin: I mean not really, how can say, in my job earlier, but to you, wait a moment, I would like to open one file.

Artem Berman: Yes.

Thomas from Berlin: Or I would write you. Do you know this Ukrainian website?

Artem Berman: No, not, really, but I will check it out.

Thomas from Berlin: You know, don’t you know “Happy child”?

Artem Berman: No, unfortunately, no, but am opening the website right now.

Thomas from Berlin: And you will find at that website more than 250 translations of mine.

Artem Berman: Oh, I see, yeah.

Thomas from Berlin:  Yes, I have translated more than 250 translations from English into German.

Artem Berman: I do, I do understand, I didn’t hear about this one site, but I, of course, know about several projects with similar kind of purpose, and I do participate in some of them. So, yeah, I understand.

Thomas from Berlin: And did you know I do it voluntarily, and l didn’t get any money, but, how can say, I got some help to visit Ukraine.

Artem Berman: I understand that, yeah.

Thomas from Berlin: And I feel much much better when I visit Ukraine.

Artem Berman: I do realized that you work as a volunteer and you are helping children who need a help. These that have to get a funding for their treatment. And, yeah, you are doing right. Thank you very much for doing that. And, basically, back to the interview, so, yeah, “Getting the education does help in the life  in terms of the number of abilities and opportunities you are getting?” Obviously, because you, for instance, speak English, you can do the translation from English to German and vice versa. So, I do realize. Now, at the current moment do you work and if you are not working at the moment do you plan to work ever again in the future? Like regular work, trying to get regular work, full-time employment?

Thomas from Berlin: I don’t plan, but I will do it. Did you know, I am so frustrated about the bad experiences that I don’t look for a job, you know. It, it goes these frustrating situations have destroyed my hope to get a job but if, if someone would offer me a job, and, how can say, and the conditions would suit, I would say “yes”.

Artem Berman: I understand it, I understand it. The question number seventeen, “Can you imagine yourself never returning to the job, never working again?” So, for you would be difficult, you will prefer to work, right?

Thomas from Berlin: I would prefer to work, yes.

Artem Berman: I understand you. Thank you. Now the question number eighteen. Do you perceive a job as an important mean of rehabilitation and integration into the society?  Especially for the people with some kind of limitation or special conditions in terms of their health?

Thomas from Berlin: Sorry, I don’t understand the question completely.

Artem Berman: Yeah, I will rephrase it, “Do you think that a job is a very important thing in terms of the rehabilitation and integration of the person into the society?”

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, of course. It’s, how can say, I mean a job, that is suitable for the person, who looks for a job. Gives social, how can say, connections, gives money to the… to live a comfortable life, and… or to find a family or to… or whatever. You know, a job is very important for someone, who is healthy and for someone, who has or…

Artem Berman: Some kind of limitation.

Thomas from Berlin: Yes-yes.

Artem Berman: I do understand what you’re saying. Now, the question number nineteen, “Do you receive any financial help from the state now?” I believe, it is the option number 2 from those two options you were referring to, remember?

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, yes, you are right.

Artem Berman: Okay, cool.

Thomas from Berlin: But stop, stop. Let me tell you…

Artem Berman: Yeah.

Thomas from Berlin: It’s a combination… It’s a bit difficult to explain… It’s a combination of … the states. And pension fund, and the labor and state labor fund searched for a job for me for one year and they didn’t find a job. Yes, and therefore, I get a pension, but this pension is limited to 3 years. This pension is not enough to live in dignity, and therefore I get the rest for an employment money 2. This means I get the same amount of an employment money 2, but most of this amount is based on the pension. It’s called [German word].

Artem Berman: Okay. I think I understand. Of course, it goes deeply into internal German system. So, it’s a little bit difficult to understand it if you are not in Germany. But, nevertheless, I think I am getting your point. But the next question, “What percentage…” Again, probably, we don’t need the exact number or you can answer whatever you want, “What percentage of your total income is coming from the salary if you are working or when you were working? And what percentage from some kind of pension whatever the pension is? Like option number 1 or option number 2…”

Thomas from Berlin: Okay-okay-okay. Let me tell you…The [German words], I mean, this pension not is from the state pension fund, and the unemployment money two is from the tax… from taxes.

Artem Berman: So, you were paying taxes during your employed time, and now you are receiving those money from the tax fund, right?

Thomas from Berlin: No, no, no, no. Everyone, who gets an unemployment 2, gets money from the taxes.

Artem Berman: I see, but again… Right now, I believe, kind of all your income comes from those 2 sources, but when you are working you also receiving the salary. So, the question, “When you were working and receiving the salary, was the salary a significant part of your total income or you still mostly depended on those social programs?”

Thomas from Berlin: No, no, no, no. When I … guess… It was only at one job. I mean, after the rehabilitation measurement there was just one job where I got state benefits. At all the other jobs, I had… I lived with income.

Artem Berman: So, when you are working you are not getting any extra state benefits and you are only getting the income from your work. I do understand that.

Thomas from Berlin: Yes. Yes-yes. Just add in one case, because it was a part-time job. I only worked for 4 hours per day, and therefore the money was not enough to live, and therefore I got state benefits for my flat.

Artem Berman: Okay, I understand. Here is this question out of my curiosity. For instance, I am in a wheelchair, and it’s the reality that I am in a wheelchair. And if I were working in Germany could I still receive the pension and the salary from my work or if I am working I am not anymore receiving the pension? How does it work in Germany? Just in general.

Thomas from Berlin: In general, if your income were not enough, you would get state benefits.

Artem Berman: Yeah.

Thomas from Berlin: But there is a different kind of that benefits.

Artem Berman: Mmm.

Thomas from Berlin: But…

Artem Berman: But talking about the money, monetary, there is some level, right? And if you are…

Thomas from Berlin: And the level is and the basic level.

Artem Berman: And, basically, if your income is below this level state will pay you the difference. Otherwise, if you are receiving more than this level state wouldn’t pay any money.

Thomas from Berlin: But let me explain in this way. It’s always better to work. Maybe, because, how can I say, let me tell you… the special way. There is a fixed rate or flat rate, which allows you to keep some of your income. The state would not take it from you. You can keep it. This means, for example, you would… if your money were not enough you would get unemployment two. Like everyone, but there is a fixed rate you can keep additionally from your income. It’s always better to work, always.

Artem Berman: Yes, so, if you are working you are getting a little bit more than if you will be totally dependent on the unemployment two. I understand.

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, yes.

Artem Berman: Yeah, I understand. Perfect, perfect. So, the question and the last question about the money, but nevertheless “Are you satisfied with the income level that you have right now?”

Thomas from Berlin: No.

Artem Berman: Okay, fair enough, and, basically…

Thomas from Berlin: No, but stop-stop-stop.

Artem Berman: Yeah.

Thomas from Berlin: Why don’t you ask “why”?

Artem Berman: Normally a person is not satisfied with the level of the income because the person thinks he or she needs more. That’s why. Tell me why.

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, but I don’t know how much I need more. That’s the problem. Because I get unemployment money two. Okay, but I don’t… You know, I got some… It depends on the… Wait a moment.

Artem Berman: Yeah, sure.

Thomas from Berlin: Let me tell you. It’s a convention of the imagination of the rights of a person with disabilities. You know. Okay, I got some rights. There are many rights.

Artem Berman: Absolutely.

Thomas from Berlin: But you know, this agreement, of the United Nation Convention allows me to do many things, but I don’t have the money for that. And the unemployment two was made… was founded for healthy persons.

Artem Berman: Right, right.

Thomas from Berlin: But it…I can’t finance my rights according to the United Nations Conventions, because I don’t know what is financed by the state. You know, it’s possible to claim my rights, because there is a fixed sum of 416 euros, so… And, on the other hand, there is a UN convention there are all these articles, and I don’t know how I can finance my rights.

Artem Berman: So, yeah, I understand. On the paper, on the paper, kind on, in theory, you have many rights as the disabled person or the person with the functional limitations and those rights are written down on the paper. But, in reality, with the money you are getting from the state, in reality, you can hardly afford…

Thomas from Berlin: For example, the exact calculation for the 416 euros I get like everyone. 1 euro and 53 cents monthly for basic education. What can I buy for 1,53 euro at education?

Artem Berman: Right, not much.

Thomas from Berlin: I can’t, I can’t buy a toilet paper for 1 euro and 53 cents. And how could I get an education, basic education at my, how can say, at my basic…

Artem Berman: Yeah, I understand.

Thomas from Berlin: This money is much too less. It’s basic security benefits for the job seekers. This means unemployment money two is called basic security benefits for job seekers.

Artem Berman: Yeah, I do understand.

Thomas from Berlin: And I could give you the link to the translation. It’s an online translator which is called Yes, it’s…

Artem Berman: Yeah, I can see.

Thomas from Berlin: And it causes everyday problems because I don’t know how to use the money for my rights. It’s, it’s, how can say, it’s very-very changing.

Artem Berman: Yeah, right. On the paper, you have several options, but in reality, with the money, you are getting you can hardly elaborate any of those options. Again, they use these trick with the wording, right, for instance, basic education. What does it mean? Nobody knows.

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, I mean, for example, my every washing machine gives up life. I mean, every washing machine get broken.

Artem Berman: Yeah.

Thomas from Berlin: The day will come for every washing machine, but I don’t know how to save money for a new wash machine. Well, there is nothing in the 400 and 16 euro, how can say, calculated. There is no travel or there is no money for traveling, but it’s a basic right to travel.

Artem Berman: Right. No, I understand you hundred percent. So, there is a huge difference between what is written on paper and what we can observe in reality.

Thomas from Berlin: Yes.

Artem Berman: I understand it perfectly. And that’s why you were saying that you would be much better off actually working because than you would get your salary and keep some money. Because you just cannot live really in a sense of, you know, word ‘live’ like fully.

Thomas from Berlin: Yes.

Artem Berman: Fully with full life with the money, you are getting from the state.

Thomas from Berlin: It is a kind of independently.

Artem Berman: Yeah.

Thomas from Berlin: You know, it is very, how can say, very challenging to go to the unemployment office. Yes, to ask for the money and what kind of problems will come next and… Well, you know.

Artem Berman: Well, just, probably, you know that yourself, you know, in Ukraine, for instance, the money you will be getting from the states would be 60 euros.

Thomas from Berlin: Yeah.

Artem Berman: So, it is not 416. It is 60. So…

Thomas from Berlin: Yeah. To be honest, it sounds like a Holodomor.

Artem Berman: Well, yeah, it is, and I can hardly imagine, and really, I can hardly imagine how it can happen in reality. All those politicians, you know, or our president, people from parliament, probably, you know… they are ugly and disgusting because while in a country people live and getting 60 euros monthly. But that for another story. We better stop right now. It’s…

Thomas from Berlin: You know, I have been to Ukraine 8 times, and I can not imagine these 60 euros because Ukrainians are so intelligent, and, you know, the nature is so rich and I can only guess about that…

Artem Berman: Well, what can I say. Hopefully, one day we will get, finally, the government that will steal a little bit less, and care about people a little bit more. Meanwhile, we reached the question number twenty, which is the last one, but it requires a little bit creative thinking. I will start a phrase and you should continue this phrase, right? So, there are several words and then 3 points, and you are continuing. So, for instance, I am and then 3 points. What would you say “I am …” and then…

Thomas from Berlin: [Message is written in Skype]

Artem Berman: It’s a good answer because some people say, “I am living”, “I am dreaming”. “I am a human” I got it – I am human. It’s a good answer, absolutely. Now “Before the disability I was…”… “Before the accident I was…”.

Thomas from Berlin: [The answer is in Skype] healthier…

Artem Berman: Yeah, fair enough. Now, “I am able to…”, “I can…”

Thomas from Berlin: I am able to…

Artem Berman: It can be more than one word. I mean, it can be a narrative, few phrases, few words, up to you. So, “I am able to…”.

Thomas from Berlin: I am able to do things… I have grind off.

Artem Berman: Great, great answer. Now, “I will be…” or “In the future…”

Thomas from Berlin: Okay, wait a moment… I will be someone, I don’t know.

Artem Berman: Great, I mean great answer. And last two – one a little bit negative and one a little bit positive. So, the negative one “I fear being…”  or “I am fearing…”

Thomas from Berlin: Moment, be unhealthy.

Artem Berman: Yeah, I understand, and the last one “I want…”,

Thomas from Berlin: I want to be the one I am, I want to stay the one I am.

Artem Berman: Yeah, I understand it. Okay, thank you very much, sir. At this point, we reached the end of the interview and you answered all the questions. So, again, thank you very much. If you have any questions, I can answer, I will be happy too. Otherwise, again, thank you, thank you, thank you very much.

Thomas from Berlin: Okay, you could do me a favor, could you?

Artem Berman: Yeah, absolutely.

Thomas from Berlin: Could you, could you, could you tell me someone, who can teach me Ukrainian?

Artem Berman: That is a good one. Let me think about that. I mean….

Thomas from Berlin: My lovely friend don’t have time because she has to work day and night.

Artem Berman: Yeah, I understand. I will be, I, actually, I have a very close friend of mine, who is working as a professor in the one of the best and greatest Ukrainian university named University of Shevshenka, and …

Thomas from Berlin: Stop, wait a moment, I guess that university in Kiev.

Artem Berman: Yeah, absolutely. And she is a professor of that university and she is the professor of Ukrainian history and literature. So, I will talk to her and probably she will get me several persons who can do that potentially. So, give me like 1,2,3,4… several days, let me say, and I will get you several persons, several contacts, who speak both English and Ukrainian. Or maybe we will even find somebody who speaks German and Ukrainian, and then probably you can start what you want, learning Ukrainian. So, I will talk about that, and I will be back to you here in Skype with the contacts of the persons who can do that. Okay?

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, okay, so, well let me remember, how can say, “Contra spem spero”,  do you know – “Без надії таки сподіватись”,

Artem Berman: To have a hope? Yeah, сподіватись.

Thomas from Berlin: Yes, to have a hope without hope. Oh, no. “Без надії таки сподіватись”. Yes. Леся Українка.

Artem Berman: To be hopeless, but have a hope. Yes. Right, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Being hopeless, but still, have a hope. So, yeah, again, give me several days, and I will try to find somebody for sure. Okay?

Thomas from Berlin: Okay, thank you very much, indeed.

Artem Berman: Thank you very much, sir. And as soon as there will be a publication, I will send you a link to the material. Thank you.

Thomas from Berlin: Okay, you are very welcome.

Artem Berman: Thank you very much.

Thomas from Berlin: And “Бувай здоровий”.

Artem Berman: You too. All the best to you. Thank you very much. Bye.

Thomas from Berlin: Bye.

Artem Berman: Bye.