While Europe battles long-term unemployment, some people have grown so restless that they have started working fake jobs at fake companies all around the continent.
The New York Times’ Liz Alderman reports that thousands of fake companies across Europe hire fake employees to sell fake products to fake customers. Products like perfume, porcelain, and exotic pets.
They make the work environment as realistic as possible: some of the fake companies have even fallen into fake bankruptcy, and the fake staff went on to set up new fake companies, taking out fake loans from fake banks.
Other fake companies have even held strikes.
The companies started out training programs to help students at the outset of their careers or people between jobs gain workplace skills.
Now, for some people, they’re just a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
The Times described Sabine de Buyzer, a French woman at a fake furniture company in Lille:
She lost her job as a secretary two years ago and has been unable to find steady work. Since January, though, she had woken up early every weekday, put on makeup and gotten ready to go the office. By 9 a.m. she arrives at the small office in a low-income neighbourhood of Lille, where joblessness is among the highest in the country.
While she doesn’t earn a paycheck, Ms. de Buyzer, 41, welcomes the regular routine.
Sounds pretty bleak. But de Buyzer isn’t entirely discouraged.
“Since I’ve been coming here, I have had a lot more confidence,” she told the Times. “I just want to work.”