Subject and Keywords:
In the context of debates on the meanings of precarious employment, this paper explores the varied ways young workers in Poland and Germany are managing precarity. Biographical narrative interviews with 123 young people revealed four different ways interviewees experienced precarity. These different approaches reflected varied ways in which interviewees were orientated to work, the meanings attributed by them to precarious employment and the material and cultural resources they possessed. It is argued that despite institutional differences, precarity in both countries is experienced similarly and represents a tendency to endure precarity and cope with it by individual means. Simultaneously, criticisms of precarity were more typical of young Poles than Germans. Cross-country variances were explained by the different mechanisms of institutional support for young workers and the greater belief in meritocracy in Germany.