Monday, May 9, 2011

¿Cómo va la chamba?

I remember the first time I heard the word chamba.  I also have very vivid memories of the first I used it, because I got laughed at.   Don't worry, the laughter turned out to be a good thing.  My amigo was impressed with my knowledge of Mexican slang. 

Enough patting myself on the back.  Let's get to the task at hand.

¿Cómo va la chamba?

If you don't know what this means, let me rephrase it.

¿Cómo va el trabajo?

I'll be you know what it means now.  That's right, chamba is simply a colloquial way of saying 'job'.

Tengo demasiada chamba
I have too much work

Busco chamba
I'm looking for work

¿Cómo va la chamba?
How's the job going?

Jale is another word for work.

¿Cómo va el jale?

Jale also means "pull", and it's common to see this on doors in Mexico. 

There's also the verb chambear. Wanna guess what it means? If you're thinking it means to work, then you're 100% correct.

Estoy chambeando, te llamo luego
I'm working, I'll call you later

¿Tienes que chambear hoy día?
Do you have to work today?

¿Chambeaste ayer?
Did you work yesterday?

There's also chambeador and chambeadora.  Or trabajador and trabajadora.  Both of which mean a hard working person.

Se solicita mecanico chambeador y responsable
Looking for a hard working and responsible mechanic

Remember, these terms are colloquial.  If you actual find yourself looking for work in Spanish, the word you want is empleo,  and stick with the more formal term trabajar.  

These words are pretty straight forward and easy to use.  If you never noticed them before, I'll bet you start noticing them all the time now.  At least that's what usually happens to me when I learn something new.

¡Hasta la próxima!


  1. I was told in the Guadalajara area that "mucha chamba" was a way to say you had lots of stuff you had to do, in a sort of overly busy way. The usual reaction when I'd try it was, 'ah si, si,' with a smile and shaking head in agreement.

  2. I was searching for the meaning of Chamba because that form exists in Tagalog, a native language in the Philippines. I was surprised to find out that it means 'job' in Mexican Spanish. In Tagalog, it means 'lucky'. For example, if I'm playing darts and hit the bulls eye, somebody who saw that would say, that's 'chamba' and would ask to do it once more to see if it's being lucky or real skill.

    Philippines was colonized by Spain through Mexico.

  3. Wouldn't it be "Tengo demasiada chamba" or is this a special case?

    1. Nope, you are correct. Thanks for pointing out my typo.