Changa comes from the Argentine colloquial language, referring to an occasional or short-term job. Used on occasions where the person is unemployed and gets a temporary job.
The word changa can also derive from “changas”, which refer to informal, risky and heavy work activities, and generally, poorly paid. This word etymologically comes from the Galician-Portuguese «changa» with the same meaning.
In essence, a changa is a subsistence job.
In another sense related to the first meaning, it implies action, where the term is metaphorized: you can get paid for a job and spend the money immediately, and there use the phrase “the changa was spent on food.”
We call changarín a person who for a long time cannot find a stable job, and goes from one job to another quickly, also changing the areas. It is considered a qualifying adjective.
The presidency of Argentina has long included this category in different censuses, to differentiate a person who does a job from another who is totally unemployed.
In other Latin American countries, its use is common, under other meanings.
- For Cuba , changa refers to a joke or joke.
- In Puerto Rico , it can be used to refer to the butt of a marijuana cigarette.
- Paraguay and Uruguay also report a temporary subsistence job.
- In Argentina it is in common and permanent use, always referring to aspects of an economic nature, but also to a description of a social situation, by indicating that, for example, a family lives off “changas.”