Last week a couple of the major studios in town made the news about the layoffs they were both going through. A friend of mine at church asked me if our jobs (my two best friends each work for one of those major studios, and I used to work for one as well) were safe. I said, thinking about my new job, "Yes, I think we all made it." Then I said, "Oh, you know I got laid off, right?" She did not, so I told gave her the Reader's Digest version which is that I interviewed for a bunch of jobs, and got a few job offers, and decided to accept the one that pays the least and works me the most. She laughed and said, "Sounds like a great decision!"
My friend Qwendy (the one who lives in her own fictional universe, meaning that by extension, so do I) has defined my new job as my "internship," because she knows that I'm making about a third of what I did. Instead of running a major studio (fictional universe, remember,) I'm now sharing a cube with an intern. I don't have time to talk on the phone like I used to, and for a third of the money, I really am working about two-thirds harder than I ever had.
You caught that part about where I'm sharing a cube now, right? And it's not a cube that's meant to be shared. It's barely big enough for one person. Put two people in there, two chairs, two computer workstations, and you've got the potential for a great comedy. We both scrunch up against the desk so the other one can have room to leave as needed (even interns still get potty breaks), and so we don't slam into each other when swiveling to reach for a folder.
My cube mate is approximately 24 years younger than I am. That means that when I introduce her to my friend whom I've known for 20 years, her eyes glaze over, because she was still in her bassinette with her binky when Cim and I first met. This is not a frame of reference to which she can relate.
It also means that it's like sharing a cubicle with a cat in heat. It's not intentional on her part (I don't think), but now that's out of school and working on-site, all the young bucks have come out of the woodwork and are sniffing around. It is amusing to watch them get a little nervous trying to flirt in front of me, but other than laughing silently inside, I try to not pose a threat to them as I am not going to get a hose to separate them.
The other intern that's home for the summer has no concept of the space she occupies. She doesn't appear to have finished her teenage growth spurts, so is all gangly arms and legs sprawled everywhere. She drifts dreamily from cubicle to cubicle, leaving in her wake a trail of coffee cups (half full. Empty?), half-finished candy bars, bags of chips, energy bars and cookie wrappers. Yes, all half-finished. And since the packages are littered from here to there, so are the crumbs that inevitably are left behind the food items.
The last point that illustrates that I am truly an intern now, is this email I got from a customer today. Well, I personally did not receive it, but it was sent to our support email account, and I am one of the people who monitors that email queue and responds (prepared responses) to customer issues and questions. Sometimes they're just customer complaints. I've only been doing this for five weeks, but already have an impressive file of customer complaints. I got one the other day that is by far is my favorite one. He rambled on for several paragraphs complaining out how this company does business in this particular realm, how he doesn't agree with it, particularly the expiration policy, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. It was the last paragraph that made me truly feel as though I had arrived in InternLand:
(Language has been cleaned up somewhat)"Sorry again to the person who has to read this, go take a break after this. Maybe go take a half-hour [poop] to make the company mad because, there's no doubt in my mind that they're barely paying you minimum wage to wade through thousands of emails. Actually don't do that. I don't want you to lose your job over this, I know how tough the job market is.
"Have a nice rest of the day. K.L."
I love the acknowledgment that there is actually a human being reading these emails. Yes, some of them are negative in tone, which makes it VERY easy to hit the prepared response buttons. This one started off that way, but I ended up laughing harder at this than I have any of the other ones.
For the record, I am not an intern.
I am a temp.