Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Today's entry begins with a short quiz. Please do not skip it. It is "de carácter obligatorio", as they might say here.

You own a business or run an organization. You want to know how many people you have working for you. Do you . . .

1. Call human resources/personnel and tell them to whip up some numbers for you?

2. Use your high-level access to enter the corporate intranet and pull together the figures yourself?

3. Ask interns from a local university to conduct a census for you because, honestly, fuck if anybody really knows how many employees there are and what they're all doing?

If you answered (3), congratulations! You're the mayor of Buenos Aires! You don't need to read this entry. In fact, I'd rather you didn't. This city is held together by string; you really need to get back to work.

If you answered (1) or (2), you might want to read on.

* * *

Of course, the city government census is political. The relatively new mayor has already tried to get rid of some public employees, which caused a huge shitstorm.

Now, the public employee unions are contending that the census is just a pretext for being able to dismiss more employees.

One of the central questions here is how many "ñoquis" there are in city government. Ñoquis are what we would call in Chicago "ghost payrollers," only with a far more awesome name. They're ñoquis because, like the delicious dumplings, they only show up once a month — every 30 days to collect their checks.

The mayor says no register exists of how many employees there are and what their jobs are. The Clarín article notes that the estimations of the number of public employees in Buenos Aires run from 110,000 to 120,000.

I guess you could say: Hey, those numbers don't vary that widely. There's less than a 10% difference between the first figure and the second.

Or you could say: WTF? There are 10,000 people who may or may not be working for you?

You can probably guess which option more accurately reflects my sentiments.

I believe the mayor when he says no one knows the real number. But the census has only a small chance of determining that number, because politics on both sides will inevitably come into play.

They'll probably have about as much luck counting ñoquis as Cristina has had counting air conditioners.


mo said...

You obviously haven't been there long enough if, with your vast Chicago experience, you haven't yet been able to snare one of those no-show jobs.

Dan said...

No kidding. The good news is that soon I'll be able to try again in Chicago.

Matt said...

And...we're back to the gnocchi. I'm guessing tomorrow's post will be about ice cream, the day after about inflation and the day after that...'how to write about only 3 topics and still keep your blog readership above 4 real people!'.

What I most liked about these noquis, though, was the footage from december (or was it january, i can't remember on which trip it was) of the guys not only turning up for work just for pay, but also to steal computers, stationary and whatever else wasn't bolted down from council offices. If i were an Argentine tax payer, I'd be really pissed off. Wait. That doesn't sound right. There are no Argentine tax payers. Just foreign suckers like me. Man, I'm really pissed off seeing my tax pesos being wasted on these scoundrels. Who can I complain to?

Dan said...

Who can you complain to?

Um. I don't know. The Internet?

Also, as far as "tomorrow's post" being about ice cream and "the day after" being about inflation, shows what you know.

I didn't write about ANYTHING for two days after that. And then even today when I posted I didn't really write about anything. So there.