For thirteen years and five and a half months, I was a paper pusher. A document generator. A file cabinet filler. It wasn’t my goal, but I could only get my job done, I could only make my boss happy if she saw those piles of paper flying off my desk and onto her desk and onto another desk and carried up the hallway and stacked on a cart and wheeled to the other end of the building to rest untouched for a few years before being carried up a flight of stairs to live in eternity.
I tried to make changes and then I gave up. I pointed to a computer screen and said “it’s all right here now” but she asked me to hit print to prove it and then the paper stacks doubled in size. I joked about how I wasn’t even sure we had customers at the other end of the paper, it would take us years to notice if we lost them all. Every year between Christmas and New Years, the office supply truck would arrive with another load of filing cabinets. Drawer labels and dividers. More carts. More folders.
I balanced the carpal tunnel of my college years with the pain of a staple under a fingernail now and then, death by a thousand papercuts. And then I quit my job.
For thirteen years and five and a half months, I was a file cabinet filler and then I quit and then my boss sold the whole company to somebody new. He walked in and the first thing he said was “throw it all away”.
It’s going to cost them $4,000 to shred it all and it makes me wince but it also makes me wish I could set up a lawn chair and watch it happen.