"The growth of understanding follows an ascending spiral rather than a straight line." ~Joanna Field

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Queen's Experience

So as some/all/many/none of you know, I work at Queen's University through the summer. It is the first real job I've had. This summer, as well as last summer.
As you may also know, I am not a student there.
So what I see from work is the view I get of this university.
Which would be great if everything ran smoothly. Of course, it doesn't. But it's not my place to talk badly of my employers, so I leave that there.
No, what I wanted to say is about what I've seen there, and some of the things I've learned from working there.

So, here is a taste of what I call my "Queen's Experience":

  1. Humans are packrats. I should know this through personal experience, but somehow coming into the room of someone who is staying for a weekend and seeing the sheer amount of stuff they bring, really drives it home.
  2. Humans are vain. Similar to above, how many body washes/soaps/cleansers/deodorants does a person need? I'd say about one of each, not six.
  3. People value odd things. They story of a person who called front desk because they had lost 13 cents and thought housekeeping had taken it makes this point for me.
  4. People have a hard time recognizing value. Much like above. The number of times things get thrown out as they look like junk, then are called for by students who left and forgot is amazing.
  5. People are forgetful when they are in a hurry. Ties once again with above. It seems to me that if you are an international student and you are taking a plane back home in 3 1/2 hours and need to get to Ottawa for that time, the first thing you would check is that you have your passport, ID, health card, and wallet and that they aren't in a drawer or under your mattress.
  6. Students are scary. Find one bullet under a bed and it strikes fear in you, lemme tell ya.
  7. Students are stupid. Why, why, why is there a traffic sign in the drop ceiling? With 40 pounds of concrete attached?
  8. People think they are important. Is it really necessary to sign your name, year and course indelibly into the drawers?
  9. Students are crazy. The "hat trick of hat tricks" (three weekends of drinking until blackout each day) is not something you need to write in your desk drawer. Worse is the guy who says he did it every night.
  10. Students are awesome. The number of closets with instructions to Narnia...
  11. Always ask directions from two different people. What is a simple "down this street, to the left" from one person is "First you take the east doors to, do you know where the east doors are?, okay, take the east doors, wait is it the south door?, well you take the doors and you'll see a statue of a monkey, though it could be a lion, I'm never quite sure... there's a statue, anyway, and..." from another. Learn these people. Avoid.
  12. Colour coding is your friend. If one door is Pink, you'll always know where you are. Except when the other three are near-identical shades of blue.
  13. Proper signage is a good choice. "A-wing is left. No, right, no, uhm... Directly across?"
  14. Elevators will break. I hope you weren't planning on getting work done today, because eleven floors is a lot to climb with a mop and pail.
  15. Even signage will fail in the view of stupidity. What is so hard to read about "Shower out of order, please use next shower" written in 2 inch letters? Especially when the only thing in that room is a shower?
  16. Transportation is a beautiful thing. Three people, three jobs and one car is not.
  17. People are mean. It is hard to know what will tick someone off, and it doesn't help when they over-react.
  18. People are kind. Sometimes you'll find a person who will just make your day over and over and over. Cherish them.
  19. Being the favourite sucks. Watching people getting put down and and told to do the worst jobs while you are favourited makes you feel squicky.
  20. Not being the favourite sucks more. Being put down and getting the worst jobs isn't fun.
  21. Getting demoted from favourite to not is the worst. People remember when you held that high seat, and aren't always forgiving.
  22. Scheduling's a bitch. 9-1, Monday to Friday is nice, 9-1, 8-4, 9-4, 10-2, 9-1 is not. Not even counting weekend work.
  23. Sometimes life is just a calamity of errors. "I won't be in as I am: sick, stressed, rescheduled without prior knowledge, helping with construction, the heat/humidity is too bad, sick, car was being fixed, parents were sick, other people need to work, no way to get home..."
  24. Five day weekends aren't that great. I'd rather a two-day weekend where I actually did anything, to a five-day one where I sleep.

So, yes. These are things working at Queen's has taught me. There are other things, I am sure, but this list is long enough, ne?

Here's a question for those of you who have/have had jobs:
What's the most important thing you've learned from them?

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