I stuff envelopes for a living, if you call minimum wage a ‘living’. I seal them, label them, and send them through a postage meter. I collate and staple, tape and bind; I enter data into a computer. I tote that barge and lift that bale.
My official title is Clerical Assistant. Unofficially, I go by gofer, lackey, peon, grunt, flunky, or you there; take your pick. I get a thirty-minute unpaid lunch and a ten-minute break. No paid holidays. No sick days. No vacation time. I’m rock bottom on the organization chart, my friends — the place where all the shit rolls to a full stop.
It’s a job, entry-level and part-time. Lives are not at stake. It isn’t a career or a calling or a profession; it’s just a job and a lousy one at that.
Piece of cake, right? A gig where your biggest worry is a paper cut? Don’t you believe it — that place is a pressure cooker. Working there is as stressful as a stint in the bomb squad. Seriously. I can’t snip the wrong wire, exactly, but I can unleash mayhem with office supplies. You know, paper clips and staplers, toner, that stuff.
The unfortunate truth is, I work for a high-strung neurotic who harbors a deep and abiding fear of change. Any change; she simply will not stand for it. And what am I, the new girl, if not a big, unwelcome change? Well, I’m trouble, that’s what, and I bear watching. Those squinty, beady eyes are on me every minute of the working day. An ankle monitor wouldn’t be as vigilant in tracking my every move. You know what I’ve learned from this?
I don’t like being watched.
It makes me totally self-conscious. I become a bumbling, butterfingered, flustered version of myself. I lose my train of thought, my mind goes blank, and I sweat like a beer bottle. Why is that? The fate of nations isn’t hanging in the balance, I’m only labeling envelopes. Or sorting screws. Or taping flyers. I need to get a grip. But that woman rattles me.
Or did until she confiscated my pen. She just swooped in and whisked it away while I punched out perforations with it — an unauthorized use of office equipment, she said.
This, dear reader, is war.
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