Most of the world’s population has watched The Godfather and, to a lesser extent, Goodfellas, The Untouchables, and Scarface. They present a mysterious, almost vigilante, image of the mafia: slick suit-wearing guys with slicker hair and even slicker (mandatorily) black rides. But what’s it really like working for the mafia, any mafia for that matter? Well, let’s check out yet another insane career path: working for the mob. Fogetaboutit.
So, you’re heading down a path that has endlessly promoted an ending in either prison, death, or both. Yet you still want to do it; the appeal of long cars, tailored clothes, and Adidas tracksuits is just too strong. I understand; those are compelling incentives. They are also the most obvious incentives.
The lesser known ones include being given free cars, shares in legitimate businesses such as olive oil factories (an obviously Italian Mafia go-to), and your family is even financially compensated if you’re put in jail, killed, or both. Add to that an estimated weekly salary of $130,000 and you have yourself the perfect remuneration package. Oh, if you survive, because you will have to move up pretty high to take advantage of all those benefits. Until then, however, you will be selling drugs, weapons, and counterfeit cigarettes on street corners, and most probably getting shot at every so often until you move up in the mafia ranks.
Going beyond the call of duty
In most professions, you can prove your loyalty to the company you work for by putting in extra hours, taking on new responsibilities, and promoting the company’s services. These things will help you progress in your career, but you still need to have the experience to climb the corporate rungs.
The mafia, on the other hand, offers a fast-track ticket for any street-level enforcer, soldier, or extortionist. Of course, you’ll still have to prove your loyalty to the “company”, but you won’t be working on the weekends. You’ll have to kill. The best way to become known in any organized crime syndicate is to help the syndicate take out its rivals. It doesn’t matter if you’re employed by the Cosa Nostra, the Triads, the Yakuza, or any drug cartel. Loyalty is proven by taking lives.
Violence isn’t just reserved for the other guys
Every business has its own company culture: Google is laidback and carefree, Apple is really shiny and white, and in organized crime, it’s violence. And this violence isn’t exclusively reserved for rivals, either. If, for whatever reason, you botch a crime organization’s affairs, lose them money, or even disrespect them in any way, you can expect to be paid in the same currency that they dole out to their enemies.
Although vicious beatings are the norm for most organized crime syndicates, some organizations take it just a step further. If a member of the Yakuza commits an infraction severe enough, it can cost them a finger; if they make another infraction, it will cost them another. Of course, if the infraction is serious enough, including turning over associates or revealing information regarding the organization to law enforcement, the punishment is universal: death.
Clans, factions and families
Again like a corporation, many of the mafias around the world are separated into hierarchical levels and different departments or divisions. So, beyond the power struggle of upward mobility within your family, you’ll also have to keep an eye on the people that are moving up through other families, factions, or groups. Although they might be aligned with your specific organization, these individuals might actually vie for your position, and competition in this field involves a lot more stabbing means as opposed to the conventional kissing up to the boss and throwing people under the bus. Well, it might, in all technicality, involve throwing someone under the bus, but in a very literal sense of under-the-bus throwing.
To be part of an organization’s core manpower, you will definitely have to beat, maim, and murder but, due to the wide reach of these groups, this often involves pursuing other, more legitimate, endeavors. For example, it’s widely known that the Italian-American Mafia often deals with waste management.
Although, for the most part, you are safe working within these establishments, even considering they’re mafia owned, some rules of conduct still apply. Respect is paramount, for example. A man working as a bouncer at a Triad-run bar in Hong Kong retells a story in The Telegraph how another foreign bouncer had disrespected the boss. This led to an attack against him which involved meat cleavers, resulting in both his thumbs being severed and his face being seriously disfigured, even after multiple surgeries.
As with most of the world’s biggest industries, organized crime is following suit, investing in alternative energy and, surprisingly enough, even getting money for it from very unexpected sources. In Sicily, for example, according to an article in The Daily Mirror, the mafia is ingeniously getting funding from the EU to build solar and wind farms, even profiting from the buying and selling of the land the alternative energy farms are being built on.
The funny thing about working for any type of mafia is that they are often venerated as heroes and benefactors within their local communities. They often help struggling or impoverished families, develop infrastructures, and issue fair loans to local businesses in danger of closing up shop. This, of course, has the benefit of creating loyalty to the organization, making it difficult for law enforcement to recruit people that will testify against the organization’s wrongdoings.
Almost like a terrifying mafia within a mafia (a horrifying crime turducken of sorts), street gangs often work with larger (and lesser seen) organized crime associations. They function in a number ways, primarily in distributing drugs and weapons, providing protection, collecting money from prostitution rings, and/or smuggling goods from wholesale buyers for the mafia to sell. Sometimes, the mafia will even use them to intimidate business owners to extort money from them, which they will then split with the street gang. So, although you might already be working for a loosely organized type of crime syndicate, you might also be working for yet another at the same time. That sounds like fun, doesn’t it? If you piss someone off, do they both murder you or do they set up a rendezvous were they synchronously stab you?
Have you been synchronously stabbed because you pissed off the wrong type of people? Let us know in the comments section below!