Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Work (07/27/06)
TITLE: The Job of a Monkey
By Dara Sorensen
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Danielle resolved that today was the longest day in work history. It had been less than an hour and already she felt as if her eyes would fall out.
She clicked on her little email tab and pressed the send/receive button. A little bubble of hope rose within her. Maybe someone needed help with a project today.
No such luck.
She looked over at her sister Cassie, who looked like she was sleeping with her eyes open. She was absentmindedly clicking on the little blue links on the website she was testing.
Danielle turned to her own screen which had the same blue links. One more link and she’d lose her mind.
Click, click, click, click. The rhythmic sound of people typing away made Danielle drowsy. Her co-workers walked to and fro past her desk, ignoring the two part-time workers relegated to the hallway. People walked dangerously close to her chair. A few times she had been bumped, and occasionally, received an apology in passing.
This isn't what work should be--I should be useful--I should be doing something more than making sure a link works. Her CD player called to her, the music an inviting escape from the tedious tasks surrounding her.
The realm of the absurd was on the horizon. With each click of the mouse, ridiculous thoughts entered her head.
Surely, she thought, a trained primate could do this job—then all they would have to do was pay in bananas, rather than the $7.50 they paid her. They would have an office pet too.
She typed her thoughts to Cassie, who looked equally as bored.
Do you feel that sometimes our job consists of nothing more that what a trained monkey could do?
Cassie was drinking her bottled water as she read the IM. Suddenly, she held her mouth as water dripped from her hands and she tried in vain to hide her laughter. She typed a response.
Thanks for typing that when I had water in my mouth.
Danielle chuckled to herself. Good. Something useful came of this day after all.
Time for cookies!
Danielle dug through her tote bag and pulled out the small Ziploc bag. She grabbed two cookies, handing one to her sister, and took a bite.
“What do you have there?”
She jumped at the sudden sound of the CEO’s voice behind her. He was eyeing her bag of cookies.
Where did he come from so suddenly? “Just some cookies,” she mumbled, still trying to calm her heart from the sudden surprise.
“Are you sharing?” His tone indicated that he expected one regardless of her answer.
She nodded and handed the bag to him. “Thank you.” He grabbed one and jammed it into his mouth, disappearing as suddenly as he had showed up.
She looked over at Cassie. That wasn’t the first time someone had come up behind them without any warning, but it was the first time she had to give away one of her beloved cookies. She quickly hid them in her tote before anyone else saw them.
Lunch hour was approaching. And then four and a half more hours…
How could anyone work eight hours a day five days a week and still be sane?
She had been offered a job here after graduation. The thought of working here eight hours a day, five days a week terrified her. Two eight hour days was more than enough.
But it was a job. And hopefully, her job description would change with a college degree.
The office had done much for her and Cassie in the past. They had once thrown her a going-off-to-college party. This past year, she and Cassie were given gift cards as Christmas presents. Their work hadn’t always gone unnoticed.
Besides it was a time of transition. The business was growing rapidly and they were moving to a bigger suite. They could have been let go for the remainder of the summer; instead they had set up desks in the hallway for them, assuring them that they would have desks in a cube again when winter came. Her supervisors had apologized profusely for the move to the hallway too. Despite all of her negative feelings, she was truly cared about here.
So, it wasn’t her dream job right now. But it could be worse. She must work her hardest, even if that meant doing the job of a monkey.
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