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Street grovelling leads to work for jobless Swede

David Landes · 7 Oct 2009, 15:47

Published: 07 Oct 2009 15:47 GMT+02:00

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Sometimes the toughest challenges in life can be overcome with the simplest of solutions, and after a month without work, Linus Billqvist from Hjärup outside of Lund in southern Sweden took matters into his own hands – literally.

Rather than spend more time booking informational interviews and sending off job applications, Billqvist instead decided to stand outside Lund’s central train station on a chilly Monday morning with a handmade sign.

“I’m so damn tired of being unemployed! Do you have a job? - Linus", read the sign, written with black marker on a piece of white poster board.

The sign also listed any of a number of jobs which the enterprising Billqvist felt he could perform, including manning a store counter and landscaping.

After graduating from high school in the spring of 2008, Billqvist started working for a landscaping firm. But as Sweden’s economy weakened over the last year, work become more and more sporadic until he was finally let go in early September.

Sick of living with his parents and having an empty wallet, Billqvist sent out a flurry of applications, but to no avail.

“I want to have my own apartment, build up my own life. But without a job that’s impossible,” he told the Sydsvenska Dagbladet newspaper.

He then come up with a plan inspired by a story he’d heard about a German man who’d been unfaithful to his wife and tried to make amends by standing by the side of the road holding up a sign confessing to his infidelity.

“It just popped into my head so I bought a sign and started scribbling,” he told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

Standing at the train station, sign in hand, Billqvist received stares from some passersby, and plaudits from others.

Much to his surprise, a number of people even took a copy of his CV or wrote down his phone number.

And in less than three hours, Billqvist had a job offer.

“I figured someone would probably bite, but I never thought I’d get a job on the first day,” he told Aftonbladet, adding that he had been prepared to stand at the station for a full week.

But on Tuesday afternoon, Billqvist instead found himself travelling over to Denmark for a job interview at the Hilton Hotel near Cophenhagen's Kastrup airport.

Story continues below…

He is now set to start work setting up rooms for conferences and other events at the hotel.

And while he admits the position may not be his dream job, Billqvist is nevertheless happy to have found employment.

“For now I just want to have a a job, move away from home, and get an apartment. When all that is taken care up I can start to think about I really want,” he said.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:20 October 7, 2009 by benomax
Congratulations to Billqvist for his determination. This is how life should be as a lot of people have given up on their situations. I hope every one in a similar situation builds courage as the struggle continues but victory is sure.
17:26 October 7, 2009 by justanotherexpat
Congrats to Linus - glad it worked! Now compare that story to the sight I saw in Stockholm this Monday afternoon.....an immigrant begging for money on the streets, claiming he needed the money because five guys beat him up and stole what he had..

Begging for money on the streets - I can see no logical reason for it (unless you're here illegally) - begging to work, on the other hand, surely no-one can have anything critical to say about that :)
17:46 October 7, 2009 by summer
Well thats good to read. But if i may ask, does it mean that he can't get job here ?
22:15 October 7, 2009 by Ofreo
I am sure his employer is happy to see that he is already thinking about moving on....why would he say that. Surely there are advancement opportunities at the hotel and if he were to put forth an effort, he would be rewarded but like many young people, he feels he should be handed everything rather then earn it.
12:14 October 8, 2009 by farnoxo
Well done mate - I like the spirit!
12:50 October 8, 2009 by Dr. Dillner
I would hire him; I like his spunk.
13:31 October 8, 2009 by Beynch
This must make the Terror from Hägersten fume with anger. That someone takes initiative, and refuses to depend on government handouts is contrary to s-party dogma. More power to you Linus. I'd hire you any day.
15:38 October 9, 2009 by Matthew Warner
Great Idea, once I finish my SFI course - I might try this outside Eskilstuna train station!!!
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