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A QAnon ‘Digital Soldier’ Marches On, Undeterred by Theory’s Unraveling

Despite these delusions, Ms. Gilbert — a self-described mystic who has written four books, with titles like “Swami Soup” — mostly struck me as a New Age eccentric who could use some time away from screens. She disdains the mainstream media, but she agreed to be profiled, and we kept in touch.Over a series of conversations, I learned that she had a longstanding suspicion of elites dating back to her Harvard days, when she felt out of place among people she considered snobby rich kids. As an adult, she joined the anti-establishment left, advocating animal rights and supporting the Standing Rock …

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He Created the Web. Now He’s Out to Remake the Digital World.

Inrupt is betting that trusted organizations will initially be the sponsors of pods. The pods are free for users. If the concept takes off, low-cost or free personal data services — similar to today’s email services — could emerge.The National Health Service has been working with Inrupt on a pilot project for the care of dementia patients that moves from development into the field this month. The early goal is to give caregivers access to a broader view of patients’ health, needs and preferences.Each patient has a Solid pod with an “All About Me” form with information submitted by …

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Meena Harris, Building That Brand

Meena Harris, a lawyer and former tech executive, used to make statement T-shirts as a side job. Her most famous read, simply, “Phenomenal Woman.” (Perhaps you saw it on Instagram, worn by celebrities including Serena Williams, Lizzo, Ciara, Viola Davis, Laverne Cox and Eva Longoria.)She also made hats for the “Phenomenal Mother” and sweatshirts for the “Phenomenal Voter.” All benefited various charities.But during a summer of mass protests against racism and injustice, Ms. Harris’s apparel took on new resonance. Naomi Campbell wore a “Phenomenally Black” T-shirt for a high-end fashion event in July. Regina King accepted her …

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Biden Selects Heads of Labor, Commerce and Small Business Agencies

Ms. Raimondo, a moderate Democrat with a background in the financial industry, has served as governor since 2015. She is seen as a relatively traditional choice for commerce secretary, a post that oversees not only relations with the business community but also technology regulation, weather monitoring and the gathering of economic data, among other duties.As governor of Rhode Island, Ms. Raimondo introduced training programs, cut taxes, and eliminated regulations and offered new loans to support businesses. She clashed with unions but ultimately found compromise as she overhauled the state pension plan.Before running for office, she was a founding employee …

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The Year the Fed Changed Forever

WASHINGTON — As Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, rang in 2020 in Florida, where he was celebrating his son’s wedding, his work life seemed to be entering a period of relative calm. President Trump’s public attacks on the central bank had eased up after 18 months of steady criticism, and the trade war with China seemed to be cooling, brightening the outlook for markets and the economy.Yet the earliest signs of a new — and far more dangerous — crisis were surfacing some 8,000 miles away. The novel coronavirus had been detected in Wuhan, China. Mr. Powell and his colleagues were …

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Biden Faces a Balancing Act in Choosing Top Aides With Business Ties

WASHINGTON — Five years ago, Jeffrey D. Zients was the head of the Obama administration’s National Economic Council, working to push across the finish line a federal rule that would prevent financial advisers from taking advantage of retirees. He won praise from progressives for fending off fierce resistance from Wall Street and for fighting for consumer protections.These days, Mr. Zients is a co-chairman of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s transition team who is being watched warily by members of Democratic Party’s left wing. Progressive advocacy groups such as the Revolving Door Project and Justice Democrats, concerned that …

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Yellen Would Assume Vast Policy Portfolio as Treasury Secretary

WASHINGTON — Janet L. Yellen’s expected nomination as Treasury secretary will place the former Federal Reserve chair into a critical role overseeing President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s economic and national security agenda at an agency that has increasingly become a center of power.While Ms. Yellen’s views on monetary policy are well known from her time leading the central bank, her perspective on a range of issues that are part of the Treasury Department’s portfolio is less known.As Treasury secretary, Ms. Yellen will be the Biden administration’s chief economic diplomat and will face the challenge …

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Janet Yellen Set to Lead Treasury Department Under Biden

WASHINGTON — Janet L. Yellen became an economist at a time when few women entered the profession and fewer still rose in a male-dominated environment. She is now poised to become the first female Treasury secretary and one of few people to ever have wielded economic power from the White House, the Federal Reserve and the president’s cabinet.

Her expected nomination would come as rebuilding a U.S. economy battered by the coronavirus pandemic and saddled with high unemployment presents a central challenge for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s administration.

While Ms. Yellen is not the type of firebrand nominee some progressives might have hoped for — she has warned that the United States is borrowing too much money, a fact that some liberals count against her — she has paid consistent, careful attention to inequality and labor market outcomes, even when doing so earned her backlash from lawmakers.

As the chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018, Ms. Yellen also oversaw an extremely slow set of interest rate increases as she and her colleagues tested whether unemployment could fall further without leading to higher prices. Her patience drew criticism from inflation-wary economists at the time, but the policies laid the groundwork for a strong labor market and a record-long expansion that drove unemployment to its lowest rate in 50 years before the pandemic turned the world upside down.

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, one of the most prominent progressive Democrats in Congress, wrote on Twitter that Ms. Yellen “would be an outstanding choice for Treasury Secretary.”

But she faces a steep challenge: As Treasury secretary, Ms. Yellen will be at the forefront of navigating the economic fallout created by a pandemic that continues to inflict damage. While growth is recovering from earlier coronavirus-related lockdowns, infections are climbing and local governments are restricting activity again, most likely slowing that rebound.

Ms. Yellen has been a clear champion of continued government support for workers and businesses, publicly warning that a lack of aid to state and local governments could slow recovery, much as it did in the aftermath of the Great Recession, when Ms. Yellen was leading the Fed.

“While the pandemic is still seriously affecting the economy, we need to continue extraordinary fiscal support,” she said in a Bloomberg Television interview in October. She called fiscal support early in the crisis “extremely impressive” but noted that key provisions had lapsed.

Unlike the independent Fed, Ms. Yellen as Treasury secretary would find herself in a much more political role — one that is likely to require negotiating with a Republican-controlled Senate. With Mr. Biden expected to push for additional economic aid, Ms. Yellen would be central to brokering a stimulus deal in a politically divided Congress that has so far failed to agree on another round of aid.

Ms. Yellen declined to comment on her expected nomination, which was reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal.

She would be the first woman to hold a job that has been dominated by white men — like Alexander Hamilton — throughout its 231-year history and would have held the government’s top three economic jobs, including leading the White House Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton administration.

A former academic who taught at the University of California, Berkeley, Ms. Yellen was also the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, a Fed governor and the Fed vice chair before becoming the central bank’s first female chair.

Ms. Yellen said she wanted to be reappointed when her term as Fed chair ended in 2018, but President Trump, eager to install his own pick, decided against renominating her.

By replacing Ms. Yellen, Mr. Trump broke with precedent. The previous three Fed chairs had been reappointed by presidents of the opposite political party.

Instead, Mr. Trump chose Jerome H. Powell, the Fed’s current chair, with whom Ms. Yellen could soon be working closely as Treasury secretary. The two still talk, and Ms. Yellen has consistently praised Mr. Powell’s performance at the Fed, suggesting they would have a good relationship.

Born in Brooklyn in 1946, Ms. Yellen was raised in Bay Ridge, a middle-class neighborhood across the waterfront from Staten Island. Her mother was a teacher who stayed home to raise Ms. Yellen and her brother. Her father was a family doctor. She was both valedictorian and editor of the newspaper at her high school.

She attended Brown University and went on to receive a doctorate from Yale. In an interview in 2013 with Simon Bowmaker, an economics professor at New York University, Ms. Yellen explained her rationale for becoming an economist, saying she had always liked the rigor of math but economics offered something more.

“I care about people,” she said. “I discovered that economics was of enormous relevance to our lives and had the potential to make the world a better place.”

She met her husband, George A. Akerlof, an economist who is now a Nobel laureate, while working in a research position at the Fed in 1977.

Ms. Yellen has spent her post-Fed years at the Brookings Institution, occupying an office close to Ben S. Bernanke, who preceded her as Fed chair, and other former Fed officials. They call their corridor the “F.O.M.C., Former Open Market Committee,” a play on the central bank’s rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee.

Ms. Yellen is a Keynesian economist, which means she believes markets have imperfections and sometimes need to be rerouted or kick-started by government intervention.

As Fed chair, she gave important speeches — including one at the storied annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo. — advocating continued watchfulness and wariness when it came to financial overhauls instituted after the 2008 crisis. She has struck a concerned tone about regulatory rollbacks under the Trump administration.

“It is certainly appropriate to simplify regulations that impose unnecessary burdens, particularly on small community banks,” she said in 2019. “But I’m greatly concerned that the regulatory work needed to address financial stability risk has stalled. There have been some worrisome reversals.”

She is relatively moderate on many topics, including trade. Mr. Akerlof recalled in a biographical note in 2001 that when he met her: “Not only did our personalities mesh perfectly, but we have also always been in all but perfect agreement about macroeconomics. Our lone disagreement is that she is a bit more supportive of free trade than I.”

Ms. Yellen has been a major influence on leading officials at the Fed. John C. Williams, who worked for her in San Francisco, now leads the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Mary C. Daly, who now leads the San Francisco Fed, cites Ms. Yellen as a key mentor.

That, along with Ms. Yellen’s experience working with Mr. Powell, could help facilitate the kind of close relationship needed between the Fed and Treasury, which are collaborating on a variety of crisis response programs.

Henry M. Paulson Jr., who served as Treasury secretary under President George W. Bush, praised the selection. He said Ms. Yellen “will have a tough job ahead of her, but she has the experience, talent, credibility and relationships with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle to make a real difference.”

While the other leading contenders for the job also had extensive experience that spanned fiscal and monetary policy, Ms. Yellen was seen as well placed to make it through Senate confirmation, even if Republicans maintain control of the chamber.

Lael Brainard, another top candidate for the role, is the only remaining Fed governor from the Democratic Party on the seven-member board, which currently has two open slots. She might have been difficult to replace at the Fed: Nominees have been hard to confirm over the past decade, and the Senate may remain under Republican control.

While leading the Fed, Ms. Yellen at times had a testy relationship with congressional Republicans. In one instance, Representative Mick Mulvaney, then a South Carolina Republican, said Ms. Yellen was overstepping her boundaries by talking about inequality.

“You’re sticking your nose in places that you have no business to be,” Mr. Mulvaney said at a hearing in 2015.

But in many ways, those conflicts underline how much Washington has changed over the past five years. Fed officials now regularly talk about inequality, entirely unchallenged. The central bank has formalized policies much like Ms. Yellen’s patient approach to interest rate-setting as its official stance, which it explicitly hopes will foster more inclusive growth.

“It seems like a pretty subtle shift to most normal human beings,” Ms. Yellen said of that move. But “most of the Fed’s history has revolved around keeping inflation under control. This really does reflect a decisive recognition that we’re in a very different environment.”

Reporting was contributed by Michael D. Shear, Jim Tankersley, Alan Rappeport and Thomas Kaplan.

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The Husband-and-Wife Team Behind the Leading Vaccine to Solve Covid-19

Two years ago, Dr. Ugur Sahin took the stage at a conference in Berlin and made a bold prediction. Speaking to a roomful of infectious disease experts, he said his company might be able to use its so-called messenger RNA technology to rapidly develop a vaccine in the event of a global pandemic.

At the time, Dr. Sahin and his company, BioNTech, were little known outside the small world of European biotechnology start-ups. BioNTech, which Dr. Sahin founded with his wife, Dr. Özlem Türeci, was mostly focused on cancer treatments. It had never brought a product to market. Covid-19 did not yet exist.

But his words proved prophetic.

On Monday, BioNTech and Pfizer announced that a vaccine for the coronavirus developed by Dr. Sahin and his team was more than 90 percent effective in preventing the disease among trial volunteers who had no evidence of having previously been infected. The stunning results vaulted BioNTech and Pfizer to the front of the race to find a cure for a disease that has killed more than 1.2 million people worldwide.

“It could be the beginning of the end of the Covid era,” Dr. Sahin said in an interview on Tuesday.

BioNTech began work on the vaccine in January, after Dr. Sahin read an article in the medical journal The Lancet that left him convinced that the coronavirus, at the time spreading quickly in parts of China, would explode into a full-blown pandemic. Scientists at the company, based in Mainz, Germany, canceled vacations and set to work on what they called Project Lightspeed.

“There are not too many companies on the planet which have the capacity and the competence to do it so fast as we can do it,” Dr. Sahin said in an interview last month. “So it felt not like an opportunity, but a duty to do it, because I realized we could be among the first coming up with a vaccine.”

After BioNTech had identified several promising vaccine candidates, Dr. Sahin concluded that the company would need help to rapidly test them, win approval from regulators and bring the best candidate to market. BioNTech and Pfizer had been working together on a flu vaccine since 2018, and in March, they agreed to collaborate on a coronavirus vaccine.

Since then, Dr. Sahin, who is Turkish, has developed a friendship with Albert Bourla, the Greek chief executive of Pfizer. The pair said in recent interviews that they had bonded over their shared backgrounds as scientists and immigrants.

“We realized that he is from Greece, and that I’m from Turkey,” Dr. Sahin said, without mentioning their native countries’ long-running antagonism. “It was very personal from the very beginning.”

Credit…Felix Schmitt/Contact Press Images

Dr. Sahin, 55, was born in Iskenderun, Turkey. When he was 4, his family moved to Cologne, Germany, where his parents worked at a Ford factory. He grew up wanting to be a doctor, and became a physician at the University of Cologne. In 1993, he earned a doctorate from the university for his work on immunotherapy in tumor cells.

Early in his career, he met Dr. Türeci. She had early hopes to become a nun and ultimately wound up studying medicine. Dr. Türeci, now 53 and the chief medical officer of BioNTech, was born in Germany, the daughter of a Turkish physician who immigrated from Istanbul. On the day they were married, Dr. Sahin and Dr. Türeci returned to the lab after the ceremony.

The pair were initially focused on research and teaching, including at the University of Zurich, where Dr. Sahin worked in the lab of Rolf Zinkernagel, who won the 1996 Nobel Prize in medicine.

In 2001, Dr. Sahin and Dr. Türeci founded Ganymed Pharmaceuticals, which developed drugs to treat cancer using monoclonal antibodies.

After several years they founded BioNTech as well, looking to use a wider range of technologies, including messenger RNA, to treat cancer. “We want to build a large European pharmaceutical company,” Dr. Sahin said in an interview with the Wiesbaden Courier, a local paper.

Even before the pandemic, BioNTech was gaining momentum. The company raised hundreds of millions of dollars and now has more than 1,800 people on staff, with offices in Berlin, other German cities and Cambridge, Mass. In 2018, it began its partnership with Pfizer. Last year, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation invested $55 million to fund its work treating H.I.V. and tuberculosis. Also in 2019, Dr. Sahin was awarded the Mustafa Prize, a biennial Iranian prize for Muslims in science and technology.


Credit…Felix Schmitt/Contact Press Images-Focus

Dr. Sahin and Dr. Türeci sold Ganymed for $1.4 billion in 2016. Last year, BioNTech sold shares to the public; in recent months, its market value has soared past $21 billion, making the couple among the richest in Germany.

The two billionaires live with their teenage daughter in a modest apartment near their office. They ride bicycles to work. They do not own a car.

“Ugur is a very, very unique individual,” Mr. Bourla, Pfizer’s chief executive, said in the interview last month. “He cares only about science. Discussing business is not his cup of tea. He doesn’t like it at all. He’s a scientist and a man of principles. I trust him 100 percent.”


Credit…Bryan Derballa for The New York Times

In Germany, where immigration continues to be a fractious issue, the success of two scientists of Turkish descent was cause for celebration.

“With this couple, Germany has a shining example of successful integration,” wrote the conservative-business site Focus.

A member of Parliament, Johannes Vogel, wrote on Twitter that if it was up to the far-right Alternative for Germany party, “there would be no #BioNTech of Germany with Özlem Türeci & Ugur Sahin at the top.”

“If it were up to critics of capitalism and globalization,” he added, “there would be no cooperation with Pfizer. But that makes us strong: immigration country, market economy & open society!”

Dr. Sahin has had little time for politics this year. BioNTech has been so busy developing a vaccine that the company has not finalized the financial details of its partnership agreement with Pfizer.

“Trust and personal relationship is so important in such business, because everything is going so fast,” Dr. Sahin said. “We still have a term sheet and not yet a final contract on many things.”

Dr. Sahin said he and Dr. Türeci learned about efficacy data on Sunday night and marked the moment by brewing Turkish tea at home. “We celebrated, of course,” he said. “It was a relief.”

Christopher F. Schuetze contributed reporting from Berlin.

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Young and Jobless in Europe: ‘It’s Been Desperate’

Like millions of young people across Europe, Rebecca Lee, 25, has suddenly found herself shut out of the labor market as the economic toll of the pandemic intensifies.

Her job as a personal assistant at a London architecture firm, where she had worked for two years, was eliminated in September, leaving her looking for work of any kind.

Ms. Lee, who has a degree in illustration from the University of Westminster, sent out nearly 100 job applications. After scores of rejections, and even being wait-listed for a food delivery gig at Deliveroo, she finally landed a two-month contract at a family-aid charity that pays 10 pounds (about $13) an hour.

“At the moment I will take anything I can get,” Ms. Lee said. “It’s been desperate.”

The coronavirus pandemic is rapidly fueling a new youth unemployment crisis in Europe. Young people are being disproportionately hit, economically and socially, by lockdown restrictions, forcing many to make painful adjustments and leaving policymakers grasping for solutions.

Years of job growth has eroded in a matter of months, leaving more than twice as many young people than other adults out of work. The jobless rate for people 25 and under jumped from 14.7 percent in January to 17.6 percent in August, its highest level since 2017.

Europe is not the only place where younger workers face a jobs crunch. Young Americans are especially vulnerable to the downturn. In China, young adults are struggling for jobs in the post-outbreak era. But in Europe, the pandemic’s economic impact puts an entire generation at risk, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Young people are overrepresented in sectors where jobs are disappearing, including travel, retail and hospitality. Graduates are facing unprecedented competition for even entry-level positions from a tsunami of newly laid-off workers.

The scarring effects may linger. “If you’re unemployed earlier on in your career, you’re more likely to experience joblessness in the future,” said Neal Kilbane, a senior economist at Oxford Economics.

The European Union is trying to cushion the blow by encouraging businesses to recruit young people. But such programs may have little impact as Europe confronts its worst recession since World War II.

Europeans coming of age in the pandemic are lowering their expectations of the jobs and careers they can get. Many are resorting to internships, living with parents or returning to school to ride out the storm. Young workers without higher education risk sliding even further.

Credit…Gianfranco Tripodo for The New York Times


Alvaro Castillo Sierra knew something was amiss when he was asked to certify during a March job interview that he wasn’t living with someone who had Covid-19. At PVH, the Amsterdam clothing retailer where he had hoped to land a coveted marketing position, there were no handshakes.

He realized an economic crisis linked to the pandemic was imminent.

Mr. Castillo Sierra, 25, had worked diligently since graduating from a top Spanish university in 2018 to lay the groundwork for a dream career in the retail or cosmetics industry.

Armed with an economics degree, he crunched financial data at a Madrid bank consultancy, then worked in a paid internship at the cosmetics giant L’Oréal, helping to manage and analyze brand budgets and campaigns.

In February, he moved to Amsterdam and landed interviews with PVH, Adidas and other big retailers. His excitement grew when PVH invited him for a second interview in March.

When the coronavirus hit, the position was pulled back.

“I had all these interviews with great companies,” Mr. Castillo Sierra said. “But then the rhythm stopped.” His days were soon consumed with trawling LinkedIn for job openings, which dwindled rapidly. Instead of entry-level posts, more internships were listed.

Mr. Castillo Sierra returned to Madrid in July to live with his parents and took another internship, this time with 3INA, a vegan cosmetics brand, where he assists with the company’s marketing program and is paid less than 600 euros (about $700) a month.

He enrolled in an online master’s degree course in digital marketing, in hopes of increasing his chances at employment should the market recover.

“I have experience, and it’s a struggle to find work,” Mr. Castillo Sierra said. “I can’t imagine what it’s like for other young people.”


Credit…Elena Heatherwick for The New York Times


Despite a government furlough program designed to limit unemployment, hundreds of thousands of workers were laid off in Britain just as Alicia Davis entered the job market.

Ms. Davis, who had earned a master’s degree in psychology, was soon competing with a rapidly expanding pool of unemployed candidates with work experience she didn’t have. Many were angling to secure any kind of job — including entry-level positions that are traditionally the steppingstone to careers for new graduates.

“I started to think, ‘Oh, God, it will be more difficult than I initially thought,’” said Ms. Davis, 22, who has moved back into her parents’ home northwest of London.

When she applied for a human resources position at a London company, she learned that 800 others were seeking the same job, many with senior management experience.

Ms. Davis recently took a four-week gig conducting surveys for a car company. It pays Britain’s minimum wage of £8.20 an hour.

The work leaves her with less time to push out job applications, and she wonders when she will get an opportunity to start a career in occupational psychology.

“I know at some point I will get a job, hopefully related to what I want to do,” Ms. Davis said. “But I feel like I’m a year behind where I should be.”


Credit…Gianni Cipriano for The New York Times


At 15, Mario Palumbo, who grew up in public housing near Naples, dropped out of high school to support his mother and sister after his father died, taking temporary low-paid jobs as a mover and a house painter and at construction sites.

But in recent years, Mr. Palumbo, 33, who is passionate about food, was proud to have forged something of a steady career as a cook. Having worked his way from coffee carrier to waiter, and then to assistant chef at trattorias around Naples, he was hired in September last year on a temporary contract as a chef running a station at a trendy restaurant.

When the pandemic hit Italy in February, his contract wasn’t renewed. Jobs were so scarce that the Italian Mafia fanned out around his neighborhood, trying to recruit gofers from scores of unemployed young people. Unemployment rates across Italy rose to 9.7 percent in August.

Unable to find work, Mr. Palumbo started relying on his mother’s €300 basic income check. He eventually found an off-the-books job in May at a restaurant in Calabria, 300 kilometers from home. But when the coronavirus resurfaced in August, the position was cut. This week, as infection cases spiked, restaurants throughout Italy were ordered to shut at 6 p.m., dealing a further blow to jobs.

Mr. Palumbo said his sole hope had been to move to Italy’s more prosperous north. But his finances are so thin that he can’t afford the train ticket or rent there. So he is staying put.

“I have energy, and I know how to roll up my sleeves at any sort of job,” Mr. Palumbo said. “But everything is stuck, and my hands are tied.”


Credit…Sabine Mirlesse for The New York Times


Elise Lauriot Prevost took a gamble when she decided to pursue a master’s degree in human rights two years ago.

Friends in her undergraduate class of 2018 had found jobs quickly in an economy that was finally on an upswing after Europe’s financial crisis. But in the competitive world of humanitarian work, earning an advanced degree seemed like the best way in — even if it meant thousands of euros in student loan debt.

The bet didn’t pay off.

Today, Ms. Lauriot Prevost, 23, is grappling with how to pay back over €90,000 — more than $100,000 — in university tuition after her applications for more than 70 jobs hit dead ends.

“I went to grad school to further my career, and now I’m graduating in the middle of a pandemic,” said Ms. Lauriot Prevost, who received her master’s degree at the Paris Institute of Political Studies in June.

When an internship at a Paris law firm surfaced, she grabbed it. The victims’ rights cases there are the type she wants to handle, and her workload of 75 hours a week is about that of a full-time lawyer. Yet the pay, €600 a month, hardly makes a dent in her debts.

Ms. Lauriot Prevost faces an additional financial burden after moving from her grandparents’ home into a small apartment during France’s national quarantine, so as not to endanger their health.

To earn extra cash, she babysits occasionally and would tend bar at night if she could. But her current workload leaves her exhausted with little time to spare.

“I’m super stressed. I need to find a job immediately to be able to pay my rent and my loans,” she said. “But I absolutely don’t have any free time — even to apply for jobs.”


Credit…Myrto Papadopoulos for The New York Times


Christina Penteridou feels that she has no future in Greece.

Ms. Penteridou, 21, graduated in July with a filmmaking degree from the University of Westminster in London, and was directing her first independent film, a fantasy-thriller, when the coronavirus hit. She returned to her hometown, Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, in March and began looking for entry-level production jobs.

But the search is so grueling that she is searching for ways to leave her country again.

“Greece can’t offer me a future,” said Ms. Penteridou, who was proud to have established an independent life in London during the last three years. Now, she is unemployed and living again with her parents.

Greece had just started to recover from a decade-long financial crisis when the pandemic delivered a fresh blow. Some of the nearly half a million young Greeks who left to find jobs were returning as an improving economy created new opportunities — including in long underfunded areas like the arts.

But jobs in those sectors were among the first to dry up in the latest crisis.

By the time Ms. Penteridou began looking in Greece, many productions had stopped. Those that resumed cut the numbers of people on set.

“They don’t have money to spare for someone in an entry-level position, especially at a time like this,” Ms. Penteridou said.

She recently did a photo shoot for a clothing brand to earn income, and will soon teach film seminars to young people. But the pay is so thin that she is looking for work as a waitress while she remains in Greece.


Credit…Elena Heatherwick for The New York Times


When Tariro Madzingira’s marketing job wound down during the pandemic, she knew that landing new work would be a struggle. Many of her peers seemed bewildered about how to navigate an increasingly volatile labor market.

Instead of panicking, Ms. Madzingira, 24, took matters into her own hands.

She returned from London to her parents’ home in Birmingham and enrolled in an eight-week career coaching course. She sharpened her interviewing skills, targeted career planning strategies and strengthened her confidence.

She is now coaching other graduates online for free, helping them hone their career searches and overcome the anxiety that comes with being a part of generation Covid-19.

“A lot of graduates that I’ve spoken to are doing so many applications and feeling really flustered,” Ms. Madzingira said. “I want to help them stop being panicked, and to understand that they do have some control.”

Ms. Madzingira, who is Black, knows what it means to overcome hurdles.

“It’s increased pressure when you know that in the workplace Black people are treated differently,” she said.

She has channeled the pressure into motivation. When a dream job at a creative marketing firm went to a more experienced candidate, Ms. Madzingira took an unpaid online internship at the company instead to get her foot in the door, in the hope of landing a permanent role.

But when she logs off from her internship, she pivots back to working with young people in similar straits.

“It makes me really happy because it’s purposeful work,” she said.

Iliana Magra and Emma Bubola contributed reporting.

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