The Chance to Reinvent Yourself

Por Alfredo Fernandez


HAVANA TIMES – Until we accept that the only permanent thing is change, we won’t have understood the meaning of life.

Taxi drivers’ unions almost all over the world have held strikes with the goal of stopping, or failing this, of lessening the advance of [ride-sharing] companies like Uber, Cavify, or InDriver. They were incapable of reinventing themselves, and today they’re paying a high price.

You don’t have to be very intelligent to know that the last traditional taxi driver has already been born; they thought that the poor service they offer – one that, on not rare occasions could even include assaults and kidnappings – would be forever.

Today, with the quarantine, I’ve seen notices on the posts offering haircutting services in the client’s home, with the barber advising that they’re duly disinfected. Although it’s true that this situation has brought many problems, people’s creativity has also begun to show itself.

The YouTubers can already be counted as the great beneficiaries of the quarantine, with channels that have multiplied with thousands of followers, as well as companies that approach them more and more to do advertising, even to the residents of Cuba.

I’ll never tire of repeating it: there are no calamities without blessings. Just as marriage brings the mother-in-law, divorce holds the blessing of never seeing her again.

Personally, I already observe an acceleration in the creativity of human beings as a result of this catastrophe, to the point where I wouldn’t find it strange if within a year there were new forms of work, yes, jobs never before seen. Which ones? I couldn’t say with precision, but if you’ll recall carefully, ten years ago there was neither Uber nor Glovo, nor telecommuting. And all that was created without the pressure to reinvent immediately, as we have on top of us today.

Here in Ecuador, it hurts me to see that over a million and a half workers have been laid off, following years of working. But I’m cheered by knowing that this mishap will cause many to be reborn, awakening their interior genius, daring to forge something they’re passionate about, but that they had put off because of being tied to a mediocre job.

I’m a realist, more than an optimist, and thanks to that, I expect a near future peopled with creativity and innovation, as has always happened after humanity comes out of a disaster. You’ll soon see.

I see, in the immediate course of events, the United Nations asking the World Health Organization to review their protocol for informing the peoples, as well as the countries, about illnesses, increasing the preventive measures for avoiding the propagation of diseases. I see – Why not? – governments investing more in health campaigns and consequently, in education, since without the latter, the former doesn’t exist.

Some years ago, I read a report of the International Labor Organization saying that over the next 20 to 60 years, a contemporary worker will hold at least nine different jobs. And – surprise! – six of those nine jobs don’t even exist today.

In 2013, when I read the article, way before this pandemic, the International Labor Organization took it as a given that we’d be called to witness an unstoppable explosion of creativity in the next years. Now, all the conditions are set for it to shoot forth.

Companies with an internet platform, such as Uber, Glovo, etc. have brought a job solution to thousands of Venezuelan immigrants in Ecuador. Daily I see people who wouldn’t have obtained a decent salary in a country as broke as this any other way.

Let’s finish this crisis and continue on the wave of creativity which we were already, inadvertently, mounted on for years now. But yes, it will depend on you to take advantage of it or not.

Alfredo Fernandez

Alfredo Fernandez: I didn't really leave Cuba, it's impossible to leave somewhere that you've never been. After gravitating for 37 years on that strange island, I managed to touch firm ground, but only to confirm that I hadn't reached anywhere. Perhaps I will never belong anywhere. Now I'm living in Ecuador, but please, don't believe me when I say where I am, better to find me in "the Cuba of my dreams.

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