This happened in December 2012 in Athens exactly at the spot where the picture is taken. This is a place very near Syntagma sq. for those of you who may have visited Athens and have some memory of it, and it is outside Zonar’s, for those of you who may have a closer connection to the area. I was passing by when a man in his early 30’s, holding a questionnaire, stopped me and asked me if I had time to answer a few questions about the recognisability of a product that they were researching. I usually stop and talk to researchers if I have time. I teach this sort of thing at university and I like to give feedback to them and sometimes pick up ideas about how to do this – marker research – more effectively. The man was very polite but a little disappointed to find out that I was not a Greek resident but then showed some interest in what I do in England where I live and we started chatting about market research techniques, television advertising and other such like. He was indeed quite knowledgeable and well spoken, he said he was the project manager for this particular research and he liked the way that I talked and seemed to know the subject and so on. After about 3 minutes I said it was great meeting him, wished him all the best with the project, shook his hand and got ready to walk away. He hesitated for about a second and then he said this: “I know you said you live in England, but if for whatever reason you decide to move to Greece and you are looking for a job like this, here is my business card, give me a call”.
Now. Of course we did not discuss any of this in any detail. Of course he did not know how much I was making at my job. Of course if I did enquire further I might have found that this job he talked about might have been very badly paid. But the fact still stands: I was walking down the road in the crisis-struck Athens, where despair walks hand in hand with unemployment, crime, racism, uncertainty and misery, and someone offered me a job. All is not lost.