17th chapter

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She saw the notification for a new e-mail on her phone and hurried to the computer. For some strange reason, she preferred to sit in front of the screen to check her messages. Maybe she was just using that time to prepare in case the news was not good, or it was just a lot harder to press or send something by accident over a computer than a cell phone. The e-mail was from a school she had gone to for an interview for a vocational training position, and now they were letting her know that somebody else had gotten the spot. It was not the first time she had been rejected, and as it seemed, it was not going to be the last, but this time it was particularly painful. She sat in front of the screen and cried, both with sadness and anger. How is it even possible that I didn't meet the criteria at any interview? What the hell is wrong with me?!?

Maybe something really was wrong. This could not be true. How was a person even supposed to handle so many rejections? Perhaps she was not even eligible for that stupid training program? It was 6 in the morning when Nora decided to research everything she could about the vocational training without employment. She had to find some reason; otherwise, she would start attacking the people who interviewed her to tell her exactly why she did not get the job.

- So, the program is designed for people under 29 years of age. Which I am, okay. The person must be registered with the Employment Service for at least 30 days, which I certainly am. And they must have less than a year of work experience, which I have, that is, don't have thanks to all of you who don't want to hire me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Nora knew a lot about the program, but she never really explored all the elements of it and the way it was conceived. The more she read about it on the Internet, the angrier she would become. After a while, she realized that she was actually looking for some piece of text that would say how all of this information was not true because there was no freaking way there was a country that allowed for this nonsense to pass through. Monika, who came over for coffee and to play with Jana, arrived at just the right time for Nora to take out her frustrations on her.

- Monika! Did you know that a person doing vocational training is listed as unemployed? I mean, why is that? How is it possible to work 40 hours a week and still be listed as an unemployed person? Tell me, how's that normal?

- Of course, it's not normal, I just don't understand why you are so shocked. The fact that this program has even gone through and is being carried out tells you enough.

- But it's so stupid! And what's the deal with that not being a part of your occupational record? I mean, you're there like everyone else, right?

- I don't know, Nora, I haven't looked that much into it.

- I have, don't you worry. It was even more ridiculous at the beginning. I mean, it's already unbelievable that the program was even suggested, but then for enough people to read that and say – oh, what a great idea – preposterous! Initially, when the program was introduced in 2010, it was for people who had to pass professional state or mastership exam by the age of 25 for high school or 29 for college level, and those persons had to have less than 6 months of work experience. Then in 2012, they changed their minds and included the people who did not have to pass those exams but had less than 6 months of experience and have been registered with the Service for at least 90 days. Like in the sense of, great, guys, you have been looking for a job for three months now, and you are finally qualified to be an unemployed person for a salary of 1,600 kuna. Hey, 1,600 kuna! To be clear, that's pocket money. And then, that same year, they realized that those 90 days were a stupid idea, so they agreed on having 30 days at the Service and less than a year of work experience.

- I mean, it's obvious how much they evaluated the program before its implementation when they altered the basic conditions every other month.

- Exactly, but that wasn't the end of it. Transportation expenses were paid according to how and how far you were traveling every day, but only up to 1,000 kuna. As if it's ludicrous that you could need more than that every month. And then, the big turnaround of 2015! The figure od 1,600 kuna, as it seemed, was really low; if you think about it, that's not right! So they decided to make it 2,400 kuna.

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