The Toilet Business

April 6, 2009 at 9:30 am (real life) (, )

It seems I overestimated the amount I’d have to say on this blog. The job hunt has been stressful, and while I’ve still been chugging away over at Fantastic Fangirls, working up the energy to write posts on other topics has been difficult.

However, I hope that will change soon, because I am finally — at least for 8 weeks — employed, and I’ve just completed the first 9-5 work week of my life.

It isn’t thrilling work. It’s boring temp data entry, the rite of passage of young professionals everywhere. I stare at numbers all day long and plug them into a spreadsheet. But my coworkers are nice, the office is clean and has unlimited free tea and isn’t too far away, and I’m getting paid, which is more than I’ve been able to say sinceā€¦ well, since the summer.

Also, it involves toilets.

Here’s the thing: my whole family is in the toilet business. My father, who’s always dreamed of becoming a plumber (yes, seriously) finally became a pipefitter recently, and he does all kinds of plumbing maintenance for his corporation. My mother, a bookkeeper, works for a company that outfits public bathrooms with stall partitions, toilet paper holders, and other paraphernalia. And my brother works for a company that, while not explicitly toilet-related, is affiliated with the company for which I now work: a national manufacturer of toilets, sinks, and other plumbing equipment.

It’s easy to laugh at. I mean, my family spends every day quite literally dealing with other people’s shit. But at the same time, it fills me with a bit of pride. Because each of us, in our own way, is working on something important — something absolutely necessary for the comfort of human beings (at least in first world countries). My ultimate goal, as most people know, is to work in publishing, or, perhaps, to go to grad school and become an academic in the field of media and cultural studies. In my wildest dreams, I hope to someday publish a book. But I know that, no matter what I accomplish in those fields, it won’t benefit nearly as many people, in nearly as fundamental a way, as my work indexing toilet parts for my current employer.

And that? Is pretty damn cool.


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