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My job in Belgium: How much does a library manager earn?
What is your job?
I am a librarian in the Couwelaar, the second largest library in Antwerp. Firstly, I am not involved with the collection, I’m involved with the restyling of the library, and its integration into the social fabric of the neighbourhood. There is a lot to look at in relation to the restyling, because the library has heritage. Its integration means that I work on a number of projects to make the library much more accessible to people from the neighbourhood. I also make sure that the operation is optimised: I ensure that the offices are well equipped and that we use processes efficiently, for example, to draw up the employees’ schedules.
Do you like your job?
Absolutely. The projects and the restyling are really my thing. I do not like to stand behind a desk myself, but managing the library and making sure everything runs smoothly, I like this the most.
What do you think of your income?
I get a nice salary (€4,134 gross, €2,541 net) that is in proportion to my responsibilities and the hours that I work. Moreover, I live close to my work, which is a real plus. The extra benefits I receive are meal vouchers, a mobile phone subscription, hospitalisation insurance and a laptop on loan.
How many hours a week do you work?
I work 38 hours a week. It can occasionally be more, but it can also be a bit less. The advantage of working for the city is that all overtime hours are compensated. I usually work during office hours, and one evening a week. Sporadically I also work on Saturdays, if there are activities. Despite the fact that you have to ensure that the library is always open and staffed, you have great flexibility to plan your hours autonomously. There are days when I start later and work longer, and vice versa.
Do you save?
We can certainly save, but my wife arranges the finances, so I myself have no idea how much that amount is every month. Through my job for the city I also save for my pension, at home we have a pension saving plan under my wife’s name. Soon I will start my own penion plan.
What is your biggest expense?
That is the mortgage on our house. Together, my wife and I pay around €830 per month.
What can you definitely not spend money on?
I can not spend money on a car. Really, I would seldom use it. I've had one, but it stood in the driveway for weeks. I go everywhere by bike, so a car is lost money for me. My wife does have a company car, and I have a car-sharing subscription for when it is needed. I also absolutely can not stand knick-knacks. I cannot spend my money on rubbish just to put on the sideboard.
What do you gladly spend money on?
I like to shop, so I spend quite a bit of money on clothes. I also enjoy dining out with the family or with friends. In addition, I also occasionally buy toys for my two children, provided they are made from solid material. I also spend money on travel.
What would you do it you won the lottery?
I am chairman of a basketball club for children from disadvantaged neighbourhoods. If I won the lottery, I would commit myself full-time to making that club professional. It is not that I do not like my job, but it is my dream to make Antwerp Wolf Pack a mega-project. I would also give a lot of money to good causes, but I would like to manage that myself. I would start up projects which I think are socially meaningful. And, of course, I would buy a present for my wife and the children, that would also have to happen.