This year, my criteria for a summer job were I had to work at the corporate level and earn enough to get myself through the upcoming year of university. The result is four months in a cubicle doing grunt work.
If the corporate world is a circus, I am the input monkey. My start-up task was to go through some files and move all the duplicates to a different folder. The assignment seemed simple enough, but the large volume of files made this challenge worthy of a corporate Survivor.
I was in charge of organizing 21,000 files.
After the first few hundred files, I was an official speed-demon. I could feel my eyes drying out from lack of blinking. It was like playing a super challenging song on Guitar Hero: if I blinked, I could miss a note, or in this case, a duplicate file. I quickly became so efficient at inputting that I found I needed something else to stay entertained.
First, I tried to make a drumbeat as I typed on my keyboard. Since I have very little rhythm and even less musical experience, my drumbeat sounded more like a hand spasm. Abandoning my own musical endeavors, I turned to local online radio and headphones. Unfortunately, the only station that worked was an Urban/R&B station with obnoxious DJs and a 10-song playlist on constant repeat.
After listening to the same Britney remix for the 15th time one morning, I decided to try another stream of entertainment: online comedy radio. Unfortunately, the stand-up was too good. I found myself clamping my hand over my mouth and plugging my nose in an effort to suppress my laughter.
I soon discovered that constantly giggling alone in your silent cubicle is not the best way to fit in at a new workplace. It was back to the never-ending rotation of Britney Spears and the Black Eyed Peas. At least it kept my toes tapping while I shifted thousands of files from folder to folder.