A Strange Job Change

Osmel Almaguer

Another Havana amusement park.

Modesto works today as a custodian at one of the many slipshod markets that distribute food rations here in the outlying Alamar suburb.  He’s had this job for more than two years and has never had any problems.  His supervisors have never had to give him special attention, and there’s been no theft or any other irregularities reported on his shift.

The only thing that could have been held against him was from his previous job, when he cared for the rides at the Children’s Amusement Park there in Alamar, and what happened was pure childishness.  It was then when embarrassment forced him to change jobs.

Nowadays changing ones employment has become commonplace due to the personnel reductions and the demand for “suitable” workers.

To be “suitable” these days you need to be qualified for the position you’re to carry out, live near your workplace and, especially, to be willing to carry out any task demanded by your superiors, even ones not related to the job description for which you’re paid and as dictated by your contract.

Of course such “discipline” is a fundamental factor in the evaluation of one’s suitability; and owing to his blunder, Modesto had to give up his previous position.  However such indiscipline is not an isolated act in Cuban society today.

The average worker here usually sits around killing time, mistreats their customers, pilfers company resources, abuses of the power of their position and — in the case of custodians — sleeps on the job.  I say this from this first-hand experience, because there was a time when I used to be a guard.

So to make a long story short, Modesto — in an effort not to fall asleep — would get on a different ride at the amusement park every night.  This went on until one night when a mechanism failed and the stop button didn’t work.  The poor fellow ended up circling around in a little airplane till dawn.

I don’t have to say what condition he was in when they found him.  From that day on the teasing was ceaseless, at least until he decided to resign.