European Youth Media Days 2016

The Working Young Humans of EYE2016

Text by Erin Stewart, Australia

We spend much of our adult lives working, and in turn figuring out how to fit in family time, hobbies, relaxation, and other activities. For young people thinking about the future, the question of balance is important. Are we prepared to work long hours for a dream job or a high salary? Or is a job just a pay cheque that funds a well-rounded life? We spoke to 10 young people from across Europe to get their thoughts on work–life balance – both how they manage it now and their thoughts for the future.


Christopher Vesselinov Vassilev, 17, Bulgaria

“I’d like to have more free time in the future, for my family and for me as well. My father

works more than 10 hours a day for not a great salary. In Bulgaria this is normal. I’d like to

go and study somewhere abroad and afterwards I can go back and try to change the

situation in my country.”


Mario Costa, 21, Italy

“In Italy work is important, but not your purpose in life. We like enjoying things outside work. I

sing in a choir. I think it’s important, both to study and to have moments of relaxation and to

do what you want. I’d like to go into politics in Italy and it might be much harder to find some

free time.”


Kristiana Tomina, 18, Latvia

“I’m a student. I would like to be a journalist. I’m worried about it. I’m a family person and I

like being with kids. That kind of makes me sad. But I need to go into a career and educate

myself and I will do it.”


Lina Toumi, 23, France

“I’m a teacher of French as a foreign language. I also volunteer in many organisations. I

could have spare time, and I chose not to. I’m so tired during the weekend. At some point it’s

too much and you can burn out, even if it’s volunteering. You really have to think of yourself

too. I think people take it very seriously in France – that you have to have a balance.”


Aaron Sinclair, 20, UK

“I study hospitality management, and I also work at a football stadium, a cocktail bar, and a

restaurant. I work three jobs and I go to college. I prefer not to have spare time because it

bores me. A lot of people in the UK do the same thing because utilities are really expensive.

People work really long hours to pay for things that are essential.”


Irvin Mojcic, 28, Bosnia and Herzegovina

“I campaign against the physical and mental walls against the Roma people in society. It’s

difficult to balance between things. When I arrive at my limit, I go into nature for a couple of



Tamara Jacobi, 23, France and Poland

“I think the most important thing is to find a job that you really like. It’s also really important to

have a family that supports you in your choices, especially as a woman. Female ministers in

the French Parliamentary Assembly spoke out last week against sexism. It’s really important

that women in the political sphere are addressing it.”


Maria Rodriguez, 20, Spain

“I’m not sure what I’ll do when I have a job, but I don’t imagine just doing one thing in my life.

I’m also a board member of the Spanish Youth Council. People who are already actively

participating in organisations, we’re engaged in so many things, we cannot stop. Not only

studying or working but getting involved in society.”


Veronika Okata, 22, Slovakia

“I work for a multinational corporation and volunteer. For my age, I have quite a full CV

already. I believe this is the age where we have to start doing something with our lives. I

want to work really hard now and party less and in the future I’ll be rewarded.”


Viktor Reier, 26, Germany

“I would like to join the German Foreign Office. They work at least 50 to 60 hours per week.

For me, it’s absolutely okay because I’m a workaholic and I love working and feeling useful.

It would be a huge privilege to represent my country.”


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