Food for thought: working at McDonald's

Another gem from Girls. Hannah has basically been fired from her unpaid internship because the won't pay her and her parents have stopped supporting her. So she is discussing her situation with some friends.

Hannah: So I calculated, and I can last in New York for three and a half more days. Maybe seven if I don't eat lunch.

Jessa: I'm going to find you a job worthy of your talents.

Hannah: Well I appreciate that, but I don't know how you're going to find a job fast enough. I'm going to have to work at like, McDonald's.

Marnie: You're not gonna work at McDonald's.

Jay: What's wrong with McDonald's? You should work at McDonald's. It's great. Fucking incredible. You know how many people McDonald's feeds every day? You know how many people it employs around the world? Plus, they make an incredible product, okay? It tastes tremendous, it's affordable, it's fuckin' consistant. I can walk into a McDonald's in Nigeria, order chicken McNuggets, when I bite into them, you know what it's gonna taste like? It's gonna taste like home.

Hannah: Doesn't mean I have to work there. I went to college.

Jay: Yeah, I went to college too, you know where it left me? I have fifty thousand dollars in student loans, that's how deep in debt I am. I'm sorry, but watching this, this is like watching Clueless. 

 

 

"Well, when you get hungry enough, you're gonna figure it out"

The pilot episode of Girls speaks volumes about the lives of twenty-somethings who just haven't quite got everything in order just yet, and please give us some time, thank you very much. Case in point, the scene in the office of Hannah's (Lena Dunham's) unpaid internship at a publishing company, where she must ask for payment now that her parents have cut off their support of her, two years after she's finished college. Scene:

Boss: Hannah.

Hannah: Hello, Alister.

[Silence as he goes back to his work]

Hannah again: Hello.

Boss: You seem eager.

Hannah: As you know, I have been working here for over a year.

Boss: Has it been that long? Well, you are an invaluable part of our operation.

Hannah: Which, I recently learned, means very valuable, as opposed to not at all valuable. And I wanted to let you know that my circumstances have changed, and I can no longer afford to work for free.

Boss: Oh Hannah, I'm so sorry to lose you. I was just going to start you manning our Twitter--you have just the quippy voice for that.

Hannah: Oh, no no, I'm not quitting, I just um, I know that Joy Lin got hired after interning, so I thought that maybe--

Boss: Hannah, Joy Lin knows Photoshop. Now, in this economy, do you know how many internship requests I get everyday?

Hannah: I would assume, a lot.

Boss: Fifty. It's about fifty. I practically route them into my spam folder, so if you think you have just nothing left to learn from us--

Hannah: No, it is not that. Really. I just, you know, gotta eat.

Boss: Well... when you get hungry enough, you're gonna figure it out.

Hannah: Do you mean like physically hungry or like hungry for the job?

Boss: [with enthusiasm] I am really gonna miss your energy. I think this is going to be really good for you.

[He hugs her.]

Hannah: Uh, you mentioned that when I was finished with my book I could send it to you?

Boss: Uh, well, we wouldn't have you here to read it for us, would we?

In which discussing my job becomes instead a tangent on why we cannot digitize everything

I work part-time as an Archives Technician at the National Archives at Atlanta. During those days, half of my time is spent in the public area, meaning I am either in the research room assisting genealogists or in the textual research room observing and assisting researchers who are examining and using our original records. Working in the public areas is one of the most important tasks student workers do here, as it supports all the archivists by giving them more time to do the many projects they have going on, freeing them up from time-consuming work with the general public. The other part of my time is split between several tasks. One, which has pretty much been on the back burner since December, is a holdings maintenance project, as everyone who works here is assigned at least one of these, so that downtime that might crop up can be used for maintenance, organization, description, and database creation for and about the many, many collections and materials we have here. Over time, we are entering information about the items in collections and folders into a finding aid, as well as creating a database that helps archivists and researchers alike to navigate each particular collection. There are so many records here at the National Archives that I know we could all do this for the rest of our lives and not complete the task.

I often walk in the bays—which is what you call the giant warehouse-style caverns that hold the endless shelves stacked with FRC boxes, Hollinger boxes, abnormal-sized boxes, cylinders, map cabinets, and marvel at the sheer amount of material they hold. There are four bays total at the Atlanta facility. I cannot even estimate any remotely meaningful number of cubic feet or number of boxes—let alone estimate a number of documents within those. Billions. Kajillions. I laughed at a recent series of online articles and commentaries that were addressing the recent Civil Case Screening Project that NARA has undertaken in the last year (I'll explain soon), in which people objected to the National Archives deciding which records in the enormous backlog of civil cases would be kept, and which would be destroyed. People have been upset for a number of reasons, some founded, most unfounded or unrealistic. My favorite innocent comment came from a woman who perkily suggested these records all be digitized instead, since one of the arguments for destroying a portion of them was due to space constraints within NARA facilities. She proposed digitization as if that was the simpler, easier answer. Clearly this woman has neither spent much time digitizing anything (it is ENORMOUSLY time-consuming and painfully monotonous) nor, obviously, has she ever taken a peek at the cavernous bays I walk through every day I am at work. I think it would be a healthy dose of medicine for each patron, every American citizen who gets angry at the federal government for not being able to locate a record they are seeking by searching for someone’s name, to take a look inside the bays of the Archives for a glimpse at how many things we keep here. Records are not organized by a handy name reference, no. And they never will be if you understand anything about federal records. Nor, also, will they all be digitized. Not ever.