20 December 2012

Croats at work

Aleksandar walked down the old roman street. Renaissance buildings loomed around him filled with shops and dolceries. The street was filled with people both native and foreign to this old city from Greek myth. 
Aleksandar was too busy to notice what was going on all around him. The street was named Sergijevci. A noble important family which stuck with the first Roman emperor and helped him defeat Cleopatra and Marc Anthony in the naval battle of Actium.
Behind him the Golden door of the Sergiai family welcomed more people in the streets ancient womb.
The unemployment office was glass building set between the social security office and a computer shop. Aleksandar paused there to look at open positions posted on its crystal walls and read those focused on software development. Behind him children laughed and played in a playground filled with centuries old roman stone sarcophagi.
A men approached him from behind. He was older, thin, neatly dressed in an official sort of way. He stood beside him and studied the same open position as him , that of a lowly developer in one of many small software companies located in Pula.
“I think I’m going to go to work outside the country”, said the man.
Bored Aleksandar said, “Why, what is wrong here?”
“It is hard to find proper work, the money is not so great for us and people out there know how to work and pay a man. I have a friend who is a foreigner and his lives here, he is married to a local girl and he says ..”
“.. that he is shocked and surprised at out mentarly, how our government works, how people work and where he comes from is completely different and better and we are yet to achieve that level of perfection.”, Alesandar finished for him.
Aleksandar was irritated by the old man, he heard the same spiel many times and something always chaffed him about that. Now he finally got it in a flash of inspiration.
“Oh, yes. That’s exactly that”, said the surprised old man. “I mean isn’t he right?”
“Of course he is right. He properly should be.”, said Aleksandar. “He comes from an another country, from another language, another history , another culture and another set of genes. But what is wrong is that we automatically assume that we are ‘wrong’ and he is ‘right’!”.
The old man looked at him quizzically and asked. “What do you mean?”.
“Why are we under developed, what is wrong with us and our system?”, asked Aleksander and then continued. “We are ten years from a war, the world is in a recession and we are struggling. But people are generally content, people try and learn to work and improve them selves. The law protects workers rights and we are covered for health insurance. Each of us speaks several languages per default . I speak three of them not including my own. I’m well versed in culture, history and sciences. And I’m a highly qualified software engineer not under qualified work monkey.”
“But surely you do not forget the problems out system has with long waits and byzantine bureaucracy?”, asked the man irked.
“No! But every country has problems with its system and everybody struggles in some way and then everybody chimes theirs is better. All, except us.”, said Aleksander. “My point is that we are not the ugly step child of Europe. We are not worse then everybody else. Out engineers are talented, work hard and work long hours and go to great lengths to satisfy the client. The clients I worked with were all satisfied with out work.”
“Well then I see I have your options set”, said the old man. “I bid you good bye then. I have trip to prepare.”
With that the old man tipped his head, turned and walked in the direction of the old austro hungarian ship yard.
“Bye.” , said Aleksandar.
He stood there a few moments. People passing around him. Some searching for work, searching for a better future and others going on their way to their place of business. There were a lot of lawyers offices and local official buildings in the area.
Aleksandar shrugged and turned around In the opposite direction the old man left towards the forum of the city to glance to the temple of August and rest his thoughts on the city Julius Cesar built.

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