By Sara Gillooly
During the summer of 2014, I started working for financial services company, R.R. Donnelley, as part of their hospitality team making $15/hour full time. Every morning I would wake up at 6:15 AM at my Midtown Intern Housing and start my 45-minute commute downtown to the World Trade Center to start my day promptly at 7:30 AM. My morning responsibilities included making coffee for each part of the office, putting out a breakfast buffet for any clients scheduled to arrive, and organizing and refilling any snacks and beverages in all of the 12 client rooms. As the day progressed, I would be responsible for ordering and setting up lunch for any clients in-house as well as washing their plates and silverware and cleaning up any trash left in client rooms throughout the office.
On days with no clients I would find myself standing in the kitchen staring out the window to pass the time. There was nowhere for me to sit and quite honestly, not enough for me to do to occupy my eight hours each day. I started bringing a book to work on days I anticipated would be slow but my boss wasn’t crazy about the way I planned to keep myself busy. He started giving me busy work when he realized that I was just standing around most of the day. I then was asked to do a wide array of tasks including laundry, checking the office for broken computers, running errands to get our office cable boxes fixed, buying milk for the office, and carrying large bags of bottled beverages to corporate offices all over the city when the company would have off-premise meetings my boss needed to attend to.
Looking back on my summer, I feel as though my job was an immense waste of my time. I was lucky to have made above minimum wage but in Manhattan, $15/hour doesn’t really get you that far either. I didn’t learn any particular job skills that could benefit me in the future but I did come out of the job with a strong understanding of office politics and a heightened appreciation for the college degree I’m working towards. Going to work over the summer and realizing that my co-workers have to work the same job everyday of their lives gave me a new perspective of the real world and how many people truly hate what they do for a living.