Interview with a Mexican Office Worker (Godín): Reading Practice

In Mexico, OFFICE WORKERS ARE OFTEN DUBBED ‘GODÍNEZ’; it’s a humorous reference to office culture and the type of person that works in an office (make sure to check out the full article if you wanna know more!).

Cartoon of a typical "godín" with tie, shirt, glasses and briefcase


We asked international business relations expert Estephania Sánchez to tell us whether she finds the term offensive AND to shed some light on Mexican office practices and slang.

Let’s get to it 😉

Entrevista con Estephania Sánchez, Licenciada en Relaciones Comerciales


¿Te parece ofensivo el término “Godín” / “Godínez”?

No me parece ofensivo, me parece gracioso.

¿Utilizas el término?

Sí, lo utilizo.

¿Qué opinas acerca de la forma en la que se representa a los “Godínez” en medios de comunicación y memes?

Es gracioso porque es verdad.

¿Qué elementos considerarías parte de la cultura “Godínez” en las oficinas?

Vivir para trabajar y no trabajar para vivir, me gusta la burla de las ventas clandestinas por catálogo o LAS TANDAS, la bolsa de papel de Zara utilizada como lonchera…

¿Has vivido alguna experiencia particularmente única, interesante o extraña que puedas catalogar como “Godínez”?

Una señora que no tenía un puesto tan bien remunerado mandaba un correo a un grupo de personas vendiendo desayunos. La venta está prohibida en la empresa por lo que solo personas de confianza podían entrar a ese grupo. Cada viernes enviaba un correo con el menú de la siguiente semana para que las personas de ese grupo hicieran sus pedidos y entregaba en uno de los sótanos del estacionamiento. Por cada 5 desayunos te regalaba algún alimento tipo TORTA o sándwich, o pan de dulce. MENTALIDAD DE TIBURÓN.

¿Cuáles son las frases, dichos o expresiones que más frecuentemente has escuchado en las oficinas?

VAMONOS, QUE AQUÍ ESPANTAN / BUENOS DÍAS, ¡TARDES YA! / ¿QUÉ YA? ¡DESQUITANDO EL SUELDO! / DESQUITA EL SUELDO MIJ@ / YA FUE MUCHO LUNES, YA QUES SEA MI JUBILACIÓN O ALGO


Interview with Estephania Sánchez, Expert in International Business Relations


Do you find the term Godín” / “Godínez” offensive?

I don’t find it offensive; I find it funny.

Do you use the term?

Yes, I use it.

Do you have any thoughts on how “Godínez” is portrayed in the media and memes?

It’s funny because it’s true.

What elements would you consider part of the “Godínez” culture in offices?

Living to work and not working to live. I enjoy the jokes about underground catalog sales, the TANDAS (inside the office), using a Zara paper bag as a lunchbox, and so on.

Have you experienced any particularly unique, interesting, or strange situations that you’d classify as “Godínez”?

A lady with a not-so-well-paid position used to sell breakfasts via email to a group of people (in the office). Internal sales were prohibited, so only trusted individuals got to be on the distribution list. Every Friday she’d send an email with the following week’s menu so that everyone on the list could place their orders. She’d then deliver the breakfasts in the parking lot. For every five breakfasts, she gave away something free, like a sandwich, a TORTA, or some kind of pastry. SHARK MENTALITY.

What are the phrases, sayings, or expressions that you hear most often in the office?

VAMONOS, QUE AQUÍ ESPANTAN / BUENOS DÍAS, ¡TARDES YA! / ¿QUÉ YA? ¡DESQUITANDO EL SUELDO! / DESQUITA EL SUELDO MIJ@ / YA FUE MUCHO LUNES, YA QUES SEA MI JUBILACIÓN O ALGO


Glossary of useful words/expressions


Una tanda

‘Una tanda’ is the Mexican equivalent of a Rotating Savings and Credit Association (ROSCA).

They’re VERY popular in the workplace, especially amongst employees who don’t have well-paid positions within the company and are looking for ways to generate savings.

As you might’ve guessed from Estephania’s answer, there are PLENTY OF MEMES about ‘tandas’ at the office!

Una torta

This is MEXICO’S TAKE ON A TRADITIONAL SARNIE … and trust me, they’re scrumptious.

They’re made with a ‘bolillo’ (a type of bread roll) and just about any and every kind of filling you can imagine. Think ham, meat, chicken (you know, the classics!), BUT ALSO tamales, chilaquiles, and other similar Mexican delights!

¡Vámonos, que aquí espantan!

Vámonos, que aquí espantan’ literally translates as ‘let’s go, they scare in here’, and it’s a SUPER common way to bid your colleagues farewell at the end of the day.

But who or what is so scary?

Well, it might be your friendly (or not-so-friendly!) office poltergeist, your frightening boss, or your creepy coworker. Regardless, it’s your signal to get out of there!

Buenos días, ¡tardes ya!

This phrase is very popular with Boomers and Gen X, who upon realizing that they greeted someone with ‘good morning’ when it’s way past noon, almost invariably correct themselves with a ‘tardes ya’ or ‘oops, it’s already the afternoon’!

¿Qué, ya? ¿Desquitando el sueldo?

‘Desquitar’ is an EXTREMELY VERSATILE Spanish verb (one of my personal favorite translations is ‘to get even’ … not that I’m vindictive or anything …), however, in this context, it means something like ‘to squander’.

Let’s say you go out for lunch, and you treat yourself to a fancy coffee. Back in the office, your coworker could ask you jokingly, ‘¿Qué, ya? ¿Desquitando el sueldo?’or ‘What now? Squandering your salary?’.

¡Desquita el sueldo, mijo/mija!

On the opposite side of the spectrum, ¡Desquita el sueldo, mijo/mija!’ is used to encourage people to spend their money; it’s kinda like saying ‘Don’t be cheap, dude!’.

Ya fue mucho lunes, ya que sea mi jubilación o algo

This one means something like ‘Monday’s dragging on; I wish I could just retire or something’ … and, yep, it’s a common one-liner amongst disgruntled ‘Godínez’.

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