Guesstimation

Or, my shitty work ethic

One of the most depressing times of my life was when I moved to Chicago and got a secretary job downtown. At 7:30 in the mornings I caught a slow-moving brown line train, made it to the Merchandise Mart by 8:20, and hopefully rolled into my office's building, bleary-eyed and dressed in business clothes (except for on casual Fridays, of course), by 8:30. On my first day at work the girl training me asked if I "liked to do mailings." "Uh, I don't not like to do mailings," I said. In training me, she also gave instructions to "guesstimate."

After a few days one of the higher-ups made it my job to find a monthly parking space for her stupid car, only she was never happy with what I found. I called every parking lot in the area, but she still nagged me about how "the daily parking was killing her." Other than parking space finding, mailings and guesstimating, my job involved making copies, faxing stuff, answering the phone and waiting for the time to pass. Between menial tasks I checked my e-mail repeatedly and tried not to fall asleep.

So what horrible kind of company imprisoned me at $17 dollars an hour?

One that produced music programming for public television. I'm a total crybaby, right? Probably, but is life worth wasting on a miserable job? Does toughing out this kind of crap ever prove anything?

I recently saw a "60 minutes" piece on "The Millennials," a (possibly arbitrary?) generation classification that encompasses people born between 1980 and 1995. The gist was this: These people represent "a new breed of American worker," supposedly coddled by Mister Rogers and under the impression that they are somehow special. Apparently corporate America is distressed about their crappy work-ethic that puts friends and family first, work second. According to "60 Minutes," this is a departure from the past generations who put work first. I don't know about you, but I think work as your first priority is crazy. Especially when it involves mailings, guesstimation and doing the bidding of some rich, middle-aged woman. What do you think?