Posted by: ingogulde | April 2, 2010

From Job Security to Job Uncertainty – How many East Germans lost their Jobs after the Fall of the Wall

The change affected literally every area of my life, directly or indirectly. Over night, my whole world view ceased to exist. At the same instant, a new and overall better world was created.  Socialism turned into democracy, centrally planned economy into market economy, Mark into Deutsche Mark, scarcity into abundance, grey landscapes into flourishing landscapes, constraints into new freedoms.

Eisenmoorbad Bad Schmiedeberg

Most things changed for the better but others for the worse. For example, job security turned into job uncertainty. In the former GDR (German Democratic Republic) almost everyone had a salaried job. When the wall came down, many businesses in our area shut down because they could not compete in a market economy. Unemployment skyrocketed. The day my mom lost her job was probably one of the most dramatic changes for our family during that time. She took several weeks (or even months) of training courses offered by the “Arbeitsamt” (German Employment Agency) to acquire new knowledge and skills which were essential to get back into a job. Eventually, she succeeded and was offered a job by a local spa/clinic, “Eisenmoorbad Bad Schmiedeberg” which remains one of the top employers in the region. The premises of her former company are now a parking lot for that spa. What meant the end for some businesses became the basis of growth for other businesses in our area. Other people were less lucky and had to leave their home towns to find a new job. Most of the people of my generation decided to migrate to bigger cities or abroad to find (better) opportunities.


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  1. […] Yes, we did not have everything we wanted (e.g. bananas) but we had a good life after all. Now, everything was about to change. And I, as a child did not know how it would change. I felt confused and as if the world that I […]

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