"You're not going to see me smile today," the man said, pulling on rubber gloves. "If you fail to keep up with the line, you will be removed from the line."
I looked around the room and noticed how diverse this group of people was. Some people looked twenty-something, like me. But some people looked like they could be my mother or even my grandmother. And some people looked like they were having a rough time understanding English. I wondered if anyone else in this room had gone to college. Then for a brief moment, I wondered why I did.
My job for that day was mundane and simple. As part of a twenty-person assembly line creating gift packets for an upcoming convention in Portland, my duty was to take coupons from the girl next to me, stack more coupons on top, and pass them down the line. Not exactly what I hoped to be doing two years after graduation, but I've got to pay those students loans somehow.
The assembly line started moving and I established a rhythm. Grab the coupons, stack the coupons, pass the coupons. Supposedly there would be $45 at the end of all this. Had I really become this desperate for cash?
The pace was fairly calm at first, so I struck up a conversation with the guy next to me. He was about my age and claimed to be a musician, so I thought we might have something in common.
"Where'd you find this job?" I asked.
"Craigslist," he replied.
"Me too!" I said, realizing that everyone in the room probably replied to the same post.
"Do you find lots of jobs on Craigslist?" the guy asked.
"Yeah," I said, laughing. My mind began playing a montage of the odd jobs I've had since graduation. It's embarrassing, but I've done everything from picking up empty bottles at a nightclub to cutting crusty dog poop out of someone's rug. None of these things have anything to do with what I studied in school or what I actually want to do with my life, but money is money.
The pace of the assembly line quickened and the guy next to me began mumbling to himself in a semi-psychotic fashion. He was struggling to keep up and soon the man with rubber gloves was standing in front of us. "Is there a problem over here?" the man bellowed.
And in that moment, the seemingly normal guy next to me had an unexpected freak-out. He started yelling incoherent sentences about how awful the job was. Then he stormed out of the room.
The entire line stopped. I excused myself to go run cold water over my hands in the bathroom, taking a moment to pull out my phone and tweet about how my life resembles a bad sitcom.
I thought about just leaving, but I wanted that $45...
Lauren graduated from college two years ago with a degree in Cinema/Media Communications. She has done absolutely nothing with this degree and currently can't even find it. To learn more about Lauren and her various creative pursuits, visit www.laurenhatchmusic.com. You can also follow her misadventures on Twitter (@lalalalauren87).