We are an office staff of five. One secretary/warranty clerk, Sandi. One internal writer, Tiffany. One Allstate rep, me. One production manager and numerous account handler, Randy. One boss who oversees all paperwork and financial finagling to the big wigs of the dealership, Tom. The three women and one man are under the age of 30, the youngest of which, Tiffany, is 22. Tiffany and Sandi have children and Randy has a girlfriend he's had for almost a decade. Tom has both a wife and kids and, from what I've gathered, more headaches than the rest of us combined. I have only myself and that's seems like almost too much at times.

With all these outside commitments, there are frequent absences on someone's part. Kids get sick, then they get their parents sick, which makes me sick when they call in sick because I will have to take up their slack, their customers, their share of the burden that makes our office work. Everyone but me is burdened by some issue in the home while I am burdened by my own issues. At some point, we find ourselves passing blame like a juggling torch, looking for someone to back us up in an outright lie.

In the body shop, we oversee 7 men, 4 men in the paint shop, and 2 porters, not to mention the people in other departments that we have to deal with whether we like it or not. General Managers, dealership owners, and their ass kissing minions who cannot be trusted at all. In this, among other ways, we are united in our fight against The Man, the corporate entity that reminds us that nothing we do is unnoticed unless we fund it from within our department.

With all this, however, we are quick to put behind us our personal issues and stick it out until the end of the day, where sometimes we find ourselves sipping beers in paper cups or with their cans covered by paper towels, letting the day lapse from our heads in a fit of random conversations. In this way, I feel really lucky because, whether it's healthy or not, we share our personal lives with one another. In the brief moments where nothing is happening, we collect in corners of the office and bring to the front the issues that have been making it hard for us to focus on work. And it helps to know you can go to your boss, close his door to his office and tell him your problems, if anything but to get it off your chest and know that he will listen. Because of this, we forgive him his own inconsistencies, knowing that it is to him that we owe our daily and fruitful bread.

I know this is unusual, and I am thankful I have it for this time, that a workplace can still be another extension of human life, despite what modernity would have us believe.

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