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Rob Jenkinson's Letters from America #5
by Rob Jenkinson
2006-09-29 10:29:24
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Have you seen the film Office Space, starring Jennifer Anniston and is written and directed by Mike “Beavis and Butthead” Judge? Well, if you haven’t, I suggest you rush out and buy a copy now because it will make this whole letter a lot easier to understand. Plus it is very, very funny.

Well, I’m pretty sure that if you haven’t seen the film you must have seen The Office, either the British or American versions. I went to do my first bit of work in America since getting here; it was a little bit of office work for a Midwest tool company. Well, if you’ve seen Office Space, you’ll know the woman who just sits there going: “Good morning, Initech…just a moment!” Well, my friends, that was me.

I was grateful for the work, but, my God, it was boring. Serious, dull, mind numbing stuff, but very amusing as it gave me an insight into the typical American work place. Again, if you’ve seen Office Space, you’ll be familiar with the team meeting when the workers are told that Friday is “Hawaiian Shirt Day”, and people can wear Hawaiian shirts if they want to.

I always thought that was a joke based on reality, but, in truth, it’s just reality, no joke involved. Whilst I was there, I was lucky enough to hear the plans for future fun days, which I’ve dubbed “Morale Days”, as they’re surely designed to take the worker’s minds off suicide. So what were the morale days that I heard?

There was Car Wash Day, where workers can bring their cars in nice and dirty, and get them washed and all proceeds go to charity. There was blue jeans day (Americans don’t just call them jeans, they’re “blue jeans”), where, well, I’m sure you can guess what happens there. There was Ben and Jerry’s day, where there was free Ben & Jerry’s for an hour, but sadly you had to sit through a speech, which again requested your money for charity.

Charity giving is a big thing in America, not so much the participation of giving your money, but the recruitment of it. If you’ve been to London, you’ll be familiar with the countless charity workers who hound you for money. Here they cold call you and keep calling and calling until you tell them that you’ve got no money whatsoever or that you’re actually dead.

The impressive thing is that they will call back later to see if there’s anyone else in the house. It’s incredible.

So, it’s back to the job hunt for me. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

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Get it off your chest
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Asa2006-09-27 19:59:02
Is there a wash your car with blue jeans day?

John2006-09-29 19:53:19
Have you got a job yet?

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