I started a part-time job in an accounting office the other week. I’m doing work that robots will eventually do because they’re faster and make fewer errors—sorting through packets of information and entering numbers into a spreadsheet that does calculations automatically for me. I’m as apathetic as one should be about a summer job, but when I finish at 4:30 each afternoon, I walk into my dad’s office and am all, “Guess how many packets I got through today???!” He usually guesses 9 or 10 and raises his eyebrows and I’m like, “I got through 12 but I bet I can do 13 tomorrow.” His vibe is mostly like “LOL, sure, see you at home.”

I’m working at my dad’s office because he got me a job there. Sure, it’s kind of low in terms of summer work. Maybe the lowest. Instead of going out into the world and finding something myself, I just chilled around until my dad offered me a job. So now I have to live with the mild to moderate shame of willfully ceding control of this one piece of my life.

The work is solitary, and the office environment doesn’t promote interaction, so I’m gaining information about my co-workers slowly. There’s a temp worker who confirms things with “cool beans,” a woman who’s good with the copier and whom I can always hear laughing with the employee she’s training, and a woman who likes to talk about how everyone else in the office is “stuck up” and told me that a portable crockpot would have made her college years so much happier. There’s also this woman who, when she leaves at 4 o’clock, says “good night” instead of “have a good afternoon” or “see you tomorrow.” It creates the sense that after she leaves the office, she is completely done with her day. I imagine her walking home and getting into bed without changing clothes or doing anything besides lifting the sheets and getting under them. I imagine her smiling the whole time. ♦