HAVANA TIMES — As you know, I have been without work for some months now and, like any self-respecting unemployed person, am looking for a job (or pretending to do so, at least). I fear I will start liking this business of slacking off and begin living by my wits, as many Cubans – particularly young Cubans – do.
These past few days, hoping to find an honest way of making a living, I’ve walked from one end of the city to the other, trying to get in touch with a friend or an acquaintance that can recommend an institution, State or private company that could be in need of my services.
Several weeks have gone by since I started my search and I’ve found nothing in the State sector that suits me. Fewer options in the self-employed sector have turned up.
I came across an opening for snacks vendor and, though there is nothing inherently bad in that, I can’t imagine myself standing behind a counter who knows how many hours a day. I consider myself a fairly agreeable person, but I have quite a few days in which I would rather not talk to anyone, so I don’t think dealing with customers is my forte.
A friend tried to convince me to start re-selling imported clothing, under the counter, of course, like so many other businesses in Cuba.
The takings were quite good, but, my God, the prices were sky-high. I don’t know who would be able to afford such expensive clothing and footwear, not to mention the fines they would apply on me if they ever caught me red-handed (and we all know how lucky rookies tend to be).
“Selling rare and used books, I can’t think of a better job for you,” an acquaintance in my neighborhood said to me. It struck me as an excellent idea. I could start with my own books, which have been stored away for so many years that they run the risk of being eaten up by moths. What’s more, there is no shortage of people wanting to sell or throw away books they are no longer interested in or have nowhere to put.
But who would want to buy a book these days, when even many university students aren’t interested in reading and, in the best of cases, are only curious about a contemporary author? I would have loved to be surrounded by novels, stories, poetry, but that is quite definitely not a good way of bringing home the bacon these days.
I continue to look for a job calmly. My island is changing and I know that, sooner rather than later, I will find something I like and that it will be afford me the security my former job couldn’t give me. In the meantime, like many other Cubans, I continue struggling to get by.