I’m what you’d call a product of prime time television. In my household my sister and I planned out our days based on television shows. I awoke every summer day at about Price is Right (10:00am for normal folks) and lounged on the couch through Judge Mathis. Around the beginning of Cailou (a show my young sister was adamant to watch) I’d saunter off to the kitchen to make some food before hopping on the computer for what little time I had before my brother woke up and kicked me off. Grinding off some levels in WoW, FlyFF, Maplestory, or whatever other free to play MMORPG I decided to waste my time on, Cailou would pass and my favorite television show would finally be on, The Cosby Show. About half way through the second episode my brother would wake up and take his throne in front of the computer.
At this point you’re probably wondering if I’m going to dictate my whole day but I promise that this story has a point. Growing up I watched a LOT of television to pass the time. I could hum The Simpsons’ theme song before I knew how to multiply. So my view of the United States was shaped by what I saw on television and what I saw were cubicles and desk jobs as far as the eye could see. Chandler in Friends, Drew in The Drew Carey Show, Dilbert in Dilbert, Elaine in Seinfeld, there was no escaping the desk job. But while the shows were taking jabs at office culture, the irony fell flat in my mind and to me it sounded like the perfect job. What did I want to be when I grew up? An office worker. I didn’t really care the profession or location as long as they gave me my own space, a comfy chair and a computer, what more could an eleven year old kid ask for?
You see, the future was something we never really talked about at home. My dad’s job at the community college meant that I’d be able to attend for free so I figured that was the perfect path to my cubicle. It was junior year of highschool when an opportunity arose for me to achieve my dream early, a summer internship in Corporate America. I applied through my school for the position of “Graphic Technician”, fancy speak for a computer aided drafter, and found myself with a 40 hour a week job. On the first day they showed me to my cubicle, it actually only had two walls but I digress, and I went off to start getting caught up with manuals. I’d done it, I was finally living the dream… or, was I?
The first few weeks were great, I was making a little money, I got to listen to as much EDM as my heart desired, and the chair they gave me was extremely comfortable to boot. I even tried drinking coffee, hey, it was free. But as time went on, all of Dilbert’s complaints began to hit a little too close to home. The printer never worked jammed too much, I walked in on all of my supervisors playing Solitaire at some point, and the work I was doing was important but it would be at least 2-3 years before anyone would ever look at it and chances are someone would redo the work later on down the line, as I was doing with work coming from other offices. There was a point when another intern and I met with an Electrical Engineer and he made it clear that he was bored, that he wanted more. It was around this day that I started looking into my options, maybe community college wasn’t my best bet, maybe I could do a bit better. I continued to work through the summer and the entirety of senior year, making the best of my time there and making great connections with my coworkers. A few months after starting I discovered Questbridge and everything I read confirmed that yea, maybe I could do better.
This brings us to the present day and the answer to the question “Nat, what are you doing this summer?”.
I’m working in a cubicle,
doing what I love.
Tune in next Monday for the epic tale of Nat meets Hacker Typer.