Culture Shock

El enchufe in Spain, is it wrong?

enchufe-in-spain
Enchufe in Spain…it’s who you know…Photo by Daquella Manera

If you’re not familiar with the term, enchufe, then here’s a definition: the influence or recommendation of someone to get a job, or similar benefit, without the qualifications or merit. It other words, getting work or something of use because of who you know, not what you’ve done.

I’ll give you an example. Imagine the Head of a school has 14 brothers and sisters. Now imagine that all of those brothers and sisters were teachers, and just by chance, they all happened to work for same Head because they got them the job, well, that would be a massive enchufe.

After reading an article this week on El Pais English, titled The Dirty Business of nepotism at Seville University, I wasn’t shocked. After checking what nepotism meant in the dictionary (favouritism to family), I read that Maria Luisa Diaz, a cleaning supervisor, gave 22 cleaning jobs to family and friends. This includes close family, in-laws, neighbours, and it’s even been reported that she gets her dog to run errands for her around the premises.

Does it really matter if the boss of a cleaning company has helped out her relatives? I guess not. What’s wrong in helping people you know? After all, she must have trusted them, and what’s more important than trust in the workplace?

The whole enchufe business is ripe in Seville, and I think Andalucía, but I can’t honestly comment about the rest of Spain (maybe you could below). It’s a phrase I learnt early on. I remember a comment from a student in a business class as we were talking about work ethics. Three of the employees were cousins, and their uncle was the boss.

‘I had to work my balls off to get this job. I had to do oposiciones, which took nearly 3 years of study, but these guys got in by a big fat enchufe.” I had to laugh as the cousins shrugged.

I guess really it comes down to who you know, not what you know, but isn’t that the same in any industry around the world? If you get on with people, then they’ll be more likely help you out.

I think the main issue is that there are loads of enchufes in politics, but there’s no surprise there.

If I could get my nephew a job in the future in the school where I work then I would. If I have some writing contacts in the publishing industry and my daughter decides to become a writer, then I’ll help her out, why wouldn’t I?

The problems come into play when other people miss out. Going back to schools. The system to become a primary and secondary school is extremely complicated. Basically you have to get a degree in teaching, then pass exams and fall in the top 10% before you are given a slight chance of a job, and even then it might not be in the same city, or even region. So, if a director of a school sorted out their relatives a job, but they hadn’t done the necessary exams, then I guess that is unfair as they have done over the ‘system.’

Personally, I’ve only ever benefitted from an enchufe once, and it wasn’t related to work. A student’s father is a lawyer, and helped me with some major issues when buying my property. If he hadn’t been around when we were closing the deal, then we could have lost a lot of money. I offered to pay him, but he wouldn’t accept, so I bought him a lovely bottle of red instead. Can that be considered as an enchufe too? If so, then what’s the problem? People help each other, you look after your own, and so I don’t see the problem.

My wife, however, did get a massive enchufe when she got a job working for Iberia. There were loads of brothers and sisters and cousins working there, but we didn’t complain.

Maybe you know of more incidents of the enchufe? Have you suffered because of it? Leave a comment below.

Annoying things in Spain, Humour, Seville

The Nutters of Sevilla

nutters-in-sevilla
Daisy are you out there? Photo by D0282

I met a fair few nutters on my trip around the world. The scariest was a 6ft transvestite called Daisy, who I met while on a greyhound bus on the way to L.A. She told me she was going to see her Mum because she’d got her a job as a show girl. Also on the greyhound bus were a drugged up couple. One of which was wearing illuminous pink shades. They both got off the bus at every chance to pop another pill. And not forgetting the obese Chinese guy I met in Siem Reap who had a go at me for going to see Angkor Wat because he said I should prefer seeing natural wonders of the world.

Continue reading “The Nutters of Sevilla”

Culture Shock, Great things about Spain, Humour

Derbies in Spain are Insane – Part 2

The buzz of being at a live game hit me like a train and I was blown away by the atmosphere, but I still hadn’t seen the real essence of a Sevilla v Betis derby.

Nando bowled up to a security guard protecting a closed barricade. The noise of the fans suddenly doubled.

“Can’t you just let us in here,” he said.

“Sorry, it’s full,” said the security guard, folding his arms.

“Come on man, my Cuñao has come all the way over from London for this game.”

The security guard shook his head.

“Don’t worry Nando, I think our seats are over there anyway,” I said, pointing in the other direction as I glanced at the ticket again, completely unaware of what Nando was trying to wangle.

“Ah man, but this is my second home, how can you not let me in with the best football supporters in Spain?”

“Go on then,” said the security guard, letting us through.

That’s when I realised that we were never going to sit in our actual seats, nor was anyone by the looks of things. As we turned past the security guard I looked behind at the stand. I’d never seen such madness in all my life. It was absolutely insane. Red and white flags were waving everywhere. Young lads, mostly in their twenties, a few skinheads, a few topless, and were going mental, eager for war to begin. There were even quite a few ladies, shouting and singing, wearing their pink Sevilla shirts with pride. Continue reading “Derbies in Spain are Insane – Part 2”