Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Working the brazilian way

Today i had a very bizarre deja vu at work: as two workers were performing an operation, 6 persons from different departments were supervising their work. Obviously the salary of the overseers is 5 or 6 times that of the operators (or even more due to brazil's absurd difference between class incomes).

At the moment i was looking at the scene, realization caught me: this same scene i had seen before. At a spanish website, drawn in the humour section where a lone construction worker, Paco, was being monitored by a bunch of people who'd just stand there watching.

Working:  the Spanish way.
It stroke how we suddenly had become a joke, a ridiculous representation of reality. Seems like Brazil suffers from the same cancer as Spain, sometimes, in an effort to control things too much we end up overreacting, draining unnecessary financial resources from the company that could be employed in perfecting the process instead.

Brazil also suffers from another serious cultural drawback. In Brazil things are not meant to last, but to be cleared fast so attention is drawn to other things, and to add insult to injury, the maintenance is not considered a priority in any case. This is visible on the cities itself, with beautiful areas degraded beyond recognition, left to rot through time with no one ever giving a damn.

Sao Paulo is the tragical example of such an abandon. A city nearly as big as Tokyo, with more than 8 million inhabitants to fund taxes and expenses. The city is in ruins... The city is in shambles. If you walk the city centre you will have to see beyond what your eyes can catch at a first glance: this city must have been beautiful to see. It has brilliant conception ideas, but no one to care for them after the turn politician cut the inaugurational rope.

Zen garden at the japanese quarter of Liberdade. Closed to public due to lack of maintenance.
The japanese quarter, the Se cathedral, streets, parks... All seems abandoned. Seems no one has ever even tried to keep things as they were... And when they do... Oh, how they do it! More like putting down fires! Lack of planning paired with lack of future thinking lead to one of the main words of the brazilian vocabulary: "gambiarra" that is, a job done however it is possible, just to make the cut and divert the problem.

Working: The Brazilian way.
This idea runs deep in the brazilian way of life and translates to business itself, with companies working to solve the problems with such urgency that they don't care if the solution provided will resist the flow of time. And when problems arise on the future, someone will be appointed to monitor the person monitoring the person monitoring Paco, to see that he is doing things right, while no one is actually caring if things are done right from the begging, as processes, materials and tools were meant to be a temporary solution.


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