Once you become comfortable in a workplace, you begin to feel like a meaningful mechanism in the office machine. Based on this growing sense of belonging, it feels like things should stop in your absence. It is a nice thought, but it’s usually not a reality.
Being a student, I wanted to make sure that I got a little bit of sun in between my transition from the office to lecture halls. I therefore decided to end my work contract early and reserve the last few weeks of summer for a true vacation.
I did data input for four months and then receptionist work for the last month. In my mind, the tasks were menial and of little significance to the large-scale operations of the company. My various jobs were more like the pile of laundry on my floor: they need to be taken care of eventually, but they’re low priority and the time frame is of little significance.
However, as my mother likes to point out, people notice good housekeeping.
On my last day at the office, my co-workers and I went out to lunch together. At the lunch they presented me with a small going-away gift and a card. As I read the individual notes, I realized that although I had spent those months doing the tasks ‘no one else wanted to do,’ my work did not go unnoticed.
The small messages of thanks put the summer into a completely new perspective. This job was not ‘the dream,’ but my colleagues made inputting 21,000 files worthwhile. Their words were able to override the endless hours of data input, early mornings and tedious tasks.
After a delicious lunch, I returned to the office to finish my last few hours with the company. It had its bitter moments, but my corporate summer had a very sweet ending.