img_0401smIt’s little glimpses such as these that make life in Mexico a little more interesting and amusing than in the always-predictable US.

This is a mattress salesperson (on duty)  getting a haircut by a woman who appears to be the cleaning lady inside of the still open store.  Hilarious.

I have two instant reactions to this.
1. Good for him. There is no one coming in, he´s got a whole lot of nothing to do, so why not take advantage of the time to take care of a personal errand, like a haircut? He might also be double-employing the woman, which works to the benefit of them both. From this perspective, it makes sense.
2. On the other hand, it does not communicate strong customer service or reflect well on the store to have their employees getting haircuts while on duty. Perhaps he could be doing other work for the company during down-times. He could be a bad employee, or he could just be a bored employee with no other work to do. Based on my observations passing by this store several times a day, I think the guy is bored.

This photo is a reflection of the lack of work productivity (certainly not personal productivity)  in Mexico, as well as the dearth of mentally stimulating jobs available. I’m leaning toward faulting the company for making this poor guy sit around the store for hours with no customers and no additional projects to work on. Why not have their sales clerks also do some accounting or inventory or cold calls or even write a newsletter? It might require more employee skills, but I’m sure they could invest a little in training.

In Mexico there are thousands of valets, guards and store tenders that spend the vast majority of their time standing around doing absolutely nothing. Perhaps these people like and seek-out these jobs. Or maybe those are the only jobs available.  Personally, I cant imagine working at a job that would require me to stand still staring into space for hours.  Aside from cultural differences in the workplace, there seems to be many more jobs in Mexico that require very little mental capacity of their employees.  And being a positivist, I have to assume that not all these employees go seeking out specifically boring jobs.

All this leads me to ponder … Could the lack of motivation and organization in the country be due in part to the literal brain-freeze and dismotivation of the population forced to do mind-numbing jobs with low personal responsibility? Could the very act of giving someone a suitable role that recognizes their talents and challenges them to think and multi-task, actually increase their self-confidence and job satisfaction, thereby improving their productivity and accountability? Could the answer to Mexico’s struggle to get ahead be found in the simple act of greater personal empowerment?  Or will chavos like this guy just continue getting haircuts while on-duty, no matter what other tasks they could or should be doing? Hmmm ….