Monday, October 25, 2010

I want that Carioca job!

I can't figure out, for the life of me, what a quarter of the parents of the kids at my kids' school do for a living. Seriously, it's mind boggling.  

It reminds me of weekday Ipanema beach goers. When my parents were visiting, I took my them there on a random Tuesday morning, around 11ish. My Dad turned and asked me if it was a holiday.  Nope.  Then why in the hell aren't these people at work or school?! 

That is a good question.  Any given beautiful Rio de Janeiro day, Ipanema, Copacabana, and Leblon will be pretty full considering it's a weekday.  They can't all be students or mooching off their working parents. They can't all have won the lottery, be software geniuses retired at 35, or only work nights and weekends. 

What gives? What is the Carioca secret no one is sharing with me?! 
That's what's throwing me off with about 1/4 of the parents at my kids' school.  Let me explain, school starts at 1pm, middle of the workday.  The majority of these guys get dropped off by extended family or a maid, a school bus, or are in school full time. There are also a few stay-at-home parents who bring the little rug rats in. 

Then there's the magical 1/4. Sometimes the Father drops off the kid at 1pm. Sometimes the Mother.  Sometimes it's both of them.  Sometimes I see the Mother dropping off the kid and then run into the Father just cruising the neighborhood. 

No, these are not stay-at-home parents. And I don't think there are that many independently wealthy families sending their kids to our tree-hugging, hippie friendly, Harvard school of finger painting. 

So where on Earth do these people work and can my husband work there?  My husband can sometimes get off early to pick the kiddies up but no, he's not doing drop off duty or anything close to that. And the job must pay decently if they can afford the tuition.  Even with a discount, it's nothing to scoff at. 

So here is our mission.  We must discover the secret to the wandering Carioca.  How do they make their livelihood? And are they hiring? 


  1. Maybe they are all English teachers! lol

  2. The beach thing IS pretty mind-boggling. Maybe a Rio native can enlighten us.

    However, as for things involving their kids, it seems a little easier for parents to swing it. Most of my students have higher-up positions at their jobs (doctors-- but they're the head of the department, or lawyers, researchers, or bank managers). When they're higher ups, they can control their schedules. So like for example, the doctors just don't schedule surgeries at the times that they have to pick up their kids, the lawyers don't meet with clients, etc. It seems like, at least in our town, it's easier for people to leave work for a bit, especially if they're in charge. They just stay later when necessary.

    What do you think?

  3. I think they are working wayyyy less than full time. Rich mommies and daddies give these gravy jobs to their kids jobs not on merit, but by birthright. The parents of my kids that both work the woman usually works part-time or they both have freedom. In Brazil 30 days is the minimum time leave a year. But some of my friend who are higher ups get 60 days off a year!

    Yeah major gravy train if you work for the government. Paulinia pays not 13 months a year no no, they pay 15 months out of the 12 month-year. Oh yes, 60 days on top of their 2-3 holiday per month (including a 10 day christmas vacation). Government jobs are where it's at, especially in Paulinia.

  4. Hahaha
    My hubby asked the same question!
    But I think that the most are old people...
    or model, or actor? or maybe they just like to enjoy life having a public job!

  5. Hey there, You found me on Blog Frog (a Moms Rantings). I thought I would stop in and say HI, and let you know about the HUGE coincidence. My name is Rachel also.. So my blog is about Rachel's Rantings as well. lol..

  6. Lol, I saw the rantings but didn't know you're also a Rachel! Small world!

  7. Rachel,

    I think it is a combination of factors, first of all, yes, there are a lot of rich people in Rio, principally those who live in front of or close to the beach.
    Business owners who make their own schedule as they go...independent people of all professions, who don't have a 9 to 5 schedule.
    Not to mention, Brazil is one of the top tourist destination and somewhat ever for the world, so I could see the middle class busy working in Rio and the beaches still filled with both Brazilian and International tourists.

  8. I don't buy the foreigners (you can see us) but you're right that there are a lot of people who make their own schedules.

  9. Its not the lucky people who go to the beach during the week, but the commoners, who normally have it much worse off then you.

    Rachel, you are too accustomed to the American 9-5, Mon-Fri idea, which is considered a luxury by many in Brazil. Cariocas in particular work a lot of wierd schedules, in part because of the tourism.

    Lots of people in the service industry work 3-12 or 4-1 in the Zona Sul (think about your malls, hotels, movie theaters, restaurants, supermarkets, metro, busses, etc.) and because of the Brazilian obsession with cleanliness they almost all have the opportunity to shower at work. If you are already travelling 2 hours from the baixada to work, why not show up a few hours early and hit the beach before showering and working?

    Their beach time is akin to your evening reading and glass of wine. They get afternoons free instead of nights and evenings.

    Most of them don't have weekends either. People in Rio tend to work "por escala" 6 days on and 1-2 off. My husband's last job was like that and he was definitely at the beach on his days off which only fell on the weekend every other month.

    Finally, nurses, security guards, police, life guards, etc often work on a 12/36 schedule like firemen in the US (12hour shift followed by 36 hours of freedom), which gives them evey other day to hit the beach, even though they work over 40hours a week on average, not counting over time.

    With 10+million people in the city, its not that wierd to see a couple of thousand having the same time off and heading to the beach in the middle of the week.

    Its really hard for us Americans to think on that scale. Its frustrating to see them enjoying the sun while your on your way to work, but next time thank God that you get to have your day off on the weekend with your kids (and you get your evening glass of wine) ;)

  10. I wasn't aware of this schedule but I will say that I've always been the first to disregard the whole Cariocas don't work thing. Brazilians in general. I've never found a harder working culture in my life! Even people selling snacks on the street bust their ass and have a knack at entrepreneurship! The thing is, people down here work hard and relax hard, if you know what I mean. They enjoy the free time they have in life, make the best of what they have. We could all learn a lot from that.

  11. I get pleasure out of seeing so many people at the beach midweek, how nice is that? I think a good many are students, some are retired, some tourists, some the very rich, but there are many who do work, just not the normal 9-5, M-F thing. We have many friends...doctors, attorneys, dentists, nutritionists, etc. that have a hard time keeping a FULL time job at a single location. Many work 2 days in one office and 2-3 in another office, just because there isn't enough work to stay in one place only. I have a dentist friend who has to spend 4 days a week in Rio das Ostras, because it's hard to find full time work here in Rio. My son's Dr. divides her time 2 days in Leblon, 2 days in Campo Grande (usually 5 hour days). And the good many pilots I know (which is not a job that has any normal schedule) have 5-7 days off at a time, many live outside of Brasil for 2 months and return for a month off here. I would say that less than 50% of the people I know have M-F jobs!

  12. As for parents dropping kids at 1pm, the normal schedule office time is 8-12/ 14-18 so the people do get 2 hours lunch break in which many go home for lunch, pick the kids up and drop them at school. Thats why is so common seeing the two parents doing this together, as one will drop the other one at his/her own work as well. This was the most commoun routine in all offices I worked.

  13. I had no idea! Great explanation!

  14. Hi Rachel, one very important point is that Rio is one of the few really big cities with such nice and FREE beaches, where you can spend your spare time. And because the beach is right there in the middle of the city you actually notice all these people. It's different from a city without a beach where people would spend their spare time at home or spread around parks and shopping malls

  15. Hey Rachel, interesting question and some great answers.