Thursday, August 5, 2010
Months ago, I signed a contract with my university. In this contract, I traded 8 hours and 36 min of my day in exchange for getting 7 hours and 21 min paid. We don't get paid for breaks, but we are forced to take them. Kinda sucks.
The contract lasts for 10 days in 2 weeks. A few hours ago, I finished day 4. I am doing what they call "maintenance" of the university, more specifically, this means that I'll be cleaning offices in the biomedical research facility.
After the initial horror of my first day at work (I'm really not used to working, I'm a lazy bum), I learned to enjoy my job a little. The offices that I'm now giving their big annual cleaning belong to professors that teach classes to me. I now know which of my profs is messy enough to keep the floor of his office filled with unpacked carton moving boxes. He also leaves coffee stained tissues on his desk; a desk that is by the way filled with big heaps of papers, some ancient enough to be printed in 2004. I discovered that the one cranky looking prof suffers from significant hairloss; she also collects wooden insects and owns an old record player. It's also intriguing how, although they all have the same basic layout, all offices are a bit different: some profs have two desks, some have a big table for meetings, some have more closets. Just looking at these things gives you an idea of how the person works, and what their priorities are. The neatest looking office of them all (I couldn't even find any papers lying around) turned out to belong to a person that let their plants quietly wither away. They were right there on the window-sill, dying.
Ok fine, cleaning offices is really boring and I'm so glad that I'm only doing it for 10 days. I can't even imagine the sadness of having to do this kind of work for the rest of your life. But I'm starting to learn how to find enjoyment in the little things, and get a understanding of how manual labour can be fulfilling in its own way. I know that I'll regret saying that tomorow morning, when I dread going to work and wishing that I could just go sleep again.
But you know what...it's nice to observe my possible future workplace from the viewpoint of a humble cleaning lady. Maybe I'll even get to see a lab. Maybe.