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She left politics to drive a trash truck : get to know Ann-Sofie Hermansson 👏

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With public office behind them, some Swedish politicians try to be useful.

Ann-Sofie Hermansson decided to dust off her heavy-goods-vehicle driving license after leaving politics On a recent weekday, the former mayor of Gothenburg, Sweden’s second-largest city, pulled her work vehicle into a parking spot behind the headquarters of Renova, a publicly owned refuse collector. She picked her way across dirt-dappled walkways and through Renova’s warren-like offices to the cupboard where she hangs the truck’s keys. On the way she stopped to admire a new electric-driven garbage vehicle a couple of colleagues were road testing for locally-based Volvo Trucks.

“People sometimes ask me what the hell am I doing here, but for me this is a good solution,” she said. “I have to pay the rent.” After a successful career as a ministerial adviser in Sweden’s capital Stockholm, and later as the top official in Gothenburg, she was sidelined by her own Social Democrat colleagues after an unsuccessful 2018 election campaign.

But rather than follow a well-worn path into public relations — an option she said was on the table — or into an advisory role for one of Sweden’s many successful manufacturing companies, she decided to dust off a heavy-goods-vehicle driving license she had obtained on the advice of her father in her younger years.

When her notice period was up, Hermansson donned Renova’s high visibility orange overalls and took the wheel of one of the company’s trucks. She often collects compost, which Swedes deposit in brown wheelie bins outside their homes, and said locals regularly recognize her and stop her to talk politics on her rounds, which she enjoys.

“At least no one is upset with me,” she said. “That makes a nice change from working as a politician.” she added “I often ache at the end of the day, but I enjoy my work and I sleep well at night, and that’s important”.

Uruguay’s former president José Mujica refused to accept a state pension when he left office, and his assets have been reported as consisting of one battered VW automobile.

Closer to home, Sweden’s former Education Minister Gustav Fridolin forewent a post-ministerial payoff he was entitled to and took a job teaching at an adult education college in central Stockholm. He found the job on the Swedish public employment service website, he said.

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