I’ve Got My First Job

Daisy Valera

On the 14th of this month I began my work life.

This involves getting up at 6 o’clock in the morning and taking several buses to get to work by 8 o’clock sharp.

Where I work is called ORACEN, which is an office responsible for environmental regulation and nuclear security.

While my dreams of doing research and being surrounded by reagents have been put on hold; in the meantime I’m learning how to fill out forms and do paperwork.

I’m ready to put in my three years of “social service,” which is obligatory work for the government – otherwise my university degree would be invalidated.

This requirement is fulfilled anywhere you’re placed by the ministry under which your university belongs. In my case, the school where I studied was INSTEC (the Superior Institute of Science and Applied Technologies), which is under CITMA (the Ministry of Science, Technology and the Environment).

Social service, some say, is a way of repaying the government for our “free” university studies.

Leaving aside the fact that my work for the next 36 months will be reading and filling out papers — important papers, but papers nonetheless — I have to say that I was lucky.

My first impression is that I’m surrounded by responsible and easy-going people.

Over the few days I’ve been here, they’ve talked with me about what my job will consist of and how I should do it.

They’ve encouraged me so that I wouldn’t torment myself in the face of so many papers. One person said to me something like: “Don’t worry. Someone with no more than a ninth grade education can do this.”

After hearing that phrase, my eyes welled up. The co-worker had really been trying to make me feel better, but she achieved the exact opposite. Like her, I had not only studied to the ninth grade, but I had continued studying for eight more years.

One nice thing is that the people who surround me belong to my same social class. I still haven’t heard the sound of a single cell phone and everyone seems concerned about having enough to eat, so there’s no looking over people’s shoulders.

Relations of respect and cordiality appear to have been established, so I couldn’t feel more comfortable.

One important thing is that by contract my monthly wage is 275 pesos ($13 USD), so I still don’t know how I’m going to make it to the end of the week, much less the end of the month.

Right now I’m hoping they can fix the computer they assigned me but that still hasn’t booted up.

Still, despite these shortcomings, here I am – where I’ll try to do a good job and make an effort to better myself as a professional.

Daisy Valera

Daisy Valera:Soil scientist and blogger. I write from Mexico City, where Havana sometimes becomes so small that it disappears. However in others, the Cuban capital is a city so past and present that it steals your breath.


3 thoughts on “I’ve Got My First Job

  • March 24, 2011 at 12:06 pm
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    ¿11 dólares?…Ya me quitaste 2 dólares! El articulo dice “275 pesos ($13 USD)”. Parece que usas la misma aritmética de mi novia cuando quiere comprar zapatos con mi dinero, jajajajaja. Que por cierto, le conté de tu comentario sobre trabajo fijo por 275 pesos y esto fue lo me respondió: “jajajajajajajajajajaj, eso del salario me dio risa, sobre todo pq con eso solo no vamos a vivir jajajajajaja”. Así que a no ser que la puedas convencer que amor es mas importante que dinero, el proyecto va tener que esperar hasta que el estado cubano se sentiría menos complacido, jejejejejeje. Oye, buena suerte con el trabajo, y fíjate que vas a tener bastante tiempo para escribir para HT en las guaguas!

  • March 23, 2011 at 11:16 am
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    Lo que me gustaría decir sobre HT es que no lo considero de ninguna manera un trabajo, en estos días, tanto en la sociedad donde vivo como  en las sociedades de corte capitalista  muchas  personas se ven obligadas a trabajar enajenadamente, entiéndase por esto percibir un un salario por realizar una actividad que no les complace. A partir de lo cual te puedo decir que yo no trabajo para/en HavanaTimes (HT), digamos que colaboro con un blog que tiene un objetivo que me convence:
    hablar sobre la sociedad cubana sin estar situado en uno de los extremos. Una sociedad con tonos grises, ni blanca ni negra, como muchos pretenden en sus discursos. También HT es un colectivo de personas agradables y emprendedoras con las que siempre es un placer interactuar. Así que definitivamente NO tengo dos trabajos.
    Respecto a que te mudarías a Cuba por un trabajo fijo de 275 pesos, primero voy a traducir 275 pesos son, en el mejor de los casos, 11 dólares, jajajajajjaja. Compañero estoy segura que el Estado cubano se sentiría complacido de contratar por ese precio tu fuerza laboral, así que puedes avanzar en ese proyecto.
    Por otra parte digamos que me considero afortunada de trabajar en un momento donde tantos serán despedidos.

  • March 21, 2011 at 5:10 pm
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    Congratulations. So what does this all mean with respect to HavanaTimes? Are you NOT going to be paid the “big bucks” anymore at HT? Or does it just mean that you are going to have two jobs? Don’t knock the 275 pesos…I would move to Cuba for a steady job at 274 pesos. Good luck…and please answer my questions, jajajaja.

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