A day in the life of a minimum wage slave

Does anyone remember Xanga? Once upon a time, it was the blogging platform all the cool kids used. Of course I had to jump on that bandwagon, though I updated it infrequently. I’ve written more here in a month than I during my tenure as theycallmechelsie.

Everything I wrote above about on that site was whiny and annoying, and it makes me cringe to read how petty I was. Apparently, this whole overdramatic thing has been a problem of mine, ahem, for a while now. An excerpt from eah entry was along the lines of “Wah! I have two tests and a paper to write this week! How will I ever complete all this work without spontaneously combusting?

But I was being honest, without a worrying about readership and growing my site traffic. I never stayed up late at night thinking about what kind of entries would be entertaining to my target audience. It was, to borrow a quote from my younger more naive self, “A place for me to write stuff down when I get drunk and want to ramble.”

Because you know how well liquor and the internet mix.

It was all innocent fun. Back then, I could have never imagined how much my life would change over five years. Back then, two tests a paper was a BIG FRICKING DEAL. Now, having that kind of workload is kind of… relaxing. In weird way.

It is slightly embarrassing for me to remember how lazy I truly was back then, especially when I have to relive it in the 1080 dpi HD of my own words. Each entry is like having a rusty machete jammed into my prefrontal cortex over and over again. (Score! I didn’t have to Google that one. I totally know where memories are stored.)

STAB! You were a whiny, ungrateful slob. STAB! You were dating someone who didn’t love or appreciate you. STAB! You couldn’t admit how lazy you were to your own goddamn self. STAB! STAB! STAB!

But there was this little gem, from when I worked as a minimum wage slave at my local public library one summer. It’s a treatment of a typical day for me at the time, a la Office Space.

Bob 1: Chelsie, we’re here to help you do your job better. More efficiently.

Bob 2: Exactly. We want to help you help yourself. We want to get to know you. We want to know what makes you tick.

Me: What makes me tick, huh?

Bob 1: Yeah, you know. What you do all day. How you do it.

Me: Huh. (pausing to think) Well, Bobs, you see, my job is absoutely pointless. My entire summer has been spent highlighting Accelerated Reader lists from schools around our area. Its utter crap. And next year, I’ll just have to update the lists again. Its a vicious cycle, Bobs.

Bob 2: Okay… (coughing into his hand uncomfortably) I’m not really sure how to handle this. Why don’t you walk us through a typical day.

Me: Okay, Bobs. I sneak into work around 9:10, ten minutes late and try to hide from my four bosses. I turn on my computer and then zone about for about an hour. But it really looks like I’m working.

Bob 1: (taken aback) Oh.

Me: (continuing, unphased) After about an hour of just staring into space or wandering about aimlessly, I check my e-mail, read MySpace, Facebook, and Xanga–in that order. If I’m lucky, I have about three messages to reply to, which I finesse into another hour of nothingness that looks like work. By this time, its almost noon, and the ladies I work with are storming the break room like its D-Day and my office is a beach in Normandy. They alternately bitch and moan about their four bosses or about who ever isn’t in the break room with them while I listen with half an ear and eye my clock on my computer.

Bob 2: Oh, dear.

Me: Ha, Bobs, I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet. I leave for lunch ten minutes early, go get some nasty fast food, and bring it back to work. From there, I head into the auditorium and turn on the TV. I eat there, ignoring everyone who opens the door and tries to talk to me because I’m not there. My lunch is my  time.

Bob 1: So what do you do after lunch?

Me: Well, Bobs, that’s the funny part. I never really come back from lunch. After about an hour and a half of watching TV in there, I can take my laptop into the auditorium and “work” (crooking fingers in quotation motion) on material for my upcoming book discussion.

Bob 2: Is that so?

Me: Yeah, Bobs, that’s right. The only real work I do all day is avoiding my bosses for as long as possible. I consider it a successful day if I can duck out of work by 5:30.

Bob 1: You’re scheduled to get off at 6:00, right?

Me: That’s right Bobs. I can say that I took a short lunch because no one ever knows when my lunch ends and the my afternoon’s work begins. That’s the beauty of having four bosses. Every one of them has to ask their superior before they can say a word to me. And I’m just crafty enough to know that the amount of time that process takes is greater than the amount of time I’m actually present and accessible to them.

Bob 2: So do you ever get any work done? At all?

Me: Oh, sure, Bobs. While I’m sitting at my computer in the morning, my bosses are constantly trekking back and forth to the bathroom. It must be the three pots of coffee they consume, I’m not sure. Any way, they have to pass behind my desk to get there, and they all like the peer over my shoulder when they walk by. I’m clever enough to have all my programs tiled in such a way that our card catalogue is the only thing you can see on the screen from their perspective. I also have my highlighter uncapped and an AR sheet in front of me so that it really looks like I’m mucking my way through all 261 pages of the elementary school AR list.

Bob 1: Well, that’s really quite clever.

Me: Thank you, Bob. It took me a while to get it worked out just right.

Bob 2: Chelsie, we really appreciate your candor. You are the epitome of the perfect government worker. If you didn’t work for the city where there is no upward mobility, you would have upper management written all over you.

Bob 1: I agree. But then maybe we can work something out. I think you deserve, oh, say, a 25 cent an hour raise? (Waggling his eyebrows suggestively)

Me: Oh, no, Bobs, I don’t think that will be necessary. I enjoy working for minimum wage.

All stand.

Bob 2: It’s been a pleasure meeting you, Chelsie. I know you’ll go far.

Bob 1: (Shaking my hand) Keep up the good work, young lady.

Me: And you too, Bobs. Good luck with your firing, or whatever.

Heh. It still makes me giggle. And I can honestly say that this was one time I wasn’t exaggerating. Not even a little bit.

Okay, maybe a little bit. But not much.


About Chelsie

Mommy. Beauty product whore. Plastic lawn flamingo enthusiast. Nosy neighbor. One day novelist.
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