An Open Letter to Colleagues Who Never Put Paper in the Printer

Dear Colleagues Who Never Put Paper in the Printer:

All Seven of You, Because I’m the Only One Who Ever Puts Paper in the Printer:

Why is it, pray tell, that I’m the only one who ever puts paper in the printer? You who are so entitled, who expect the lowly assistant to see to your myriad of printer needs, who seem to believe that paper magically mates with itself to make baby pieces of paper. The printer is not a closed ecosystem. Its contents do not self-reproduce. That process takes some EFFORT, and it seems to me that I’m the only one willing to put in the blood, sweat and tears to keep this office’s paper output running smoothly.

Let’s break it down. The printer in our department is, after all, more complex than a heart/lung machine, so it sure is a good thing I graduated magna cum laude from college. As you probably don’t know, there are five trays. There’s an envelope feeder. It faxes. It scans. It practically stimulates your genitals while playing an acoustic rendition of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”. You may or may not be aware of all this, because…and I can’t stress this enough…you never interact with the goddamn thing. Instead, you stand staring dumbly at the printer like it will respond to mental telepathy.

And that’s another thing. Out of all of us, I sit the furthest from the printer. For me to get up and put in paper takes at least ten seconds longer than it would take you. It’s ALL the way on the other side of the office, and I have to walk all the way AROUND the corner to get to it. What am I, an endurance runner?

I’m going to take a moment to discuss your printer expectations, so pay attention. I don’t recall my exact job description, because I was too busy celebrating that I had finally gotten a job. At that point, I would have agreed to anything, up to and including window washing, wet nursing or simian surrogacy. However, nowhere in my contract do I remember a clause stating the printer would be my sole domain; not once did I hear that my new co-workers are, apparently, frightened and repelled by this product of the digital revolution; never was I informed that my professional goals should be coddling the inorganic printing spawn of Satan.

So, you must be asking yourself, what do I hope to accomplish with this letter? Well, I’ve already given up you putting your own goddamn paper in the printer as futile, so I suppose the only purpose is kvetching about administrative injustice. However, on the off chance you take this seriously, here are my demands:

One. YOU call the production department and ask for more reams of paper. I’m a busy lady. I have to type your dictation. I have to clean the office fridge. I have to check Facebook compulsively, because administrative work demands voyeurism. I have to, essentially, run the damn place, and I think you can take a break from playing Words with Friends in your office to make a simple phone call. (Yes, bet you didn’t know I saw you on your iPhone that time, did you? Good thing you make about five times as much as I do, because you really DESERVE that salary).

Two. Maybe…just maybe…consider thanking me. I know God put me on this planet to make sure the toner doesn’t run out and the sepia color on your proposal doesn’t look too yellow, but I do respond to positive feedback. Here’s an idea: Think about your children. Think how you’d like them to be treated in the workplace. Then…here’s the tricky part…treat me the same way. I know it’ll be difficult, but that’s why they pay you the big bucks. Let’s motivate, people. Let’s share the load.

Three. Pay me more.

Oh, and in case you didn’t know. You open the ream of paper like so, and then you open the tray…no, no, not like that, there’s a handle…and then you place the paper inside. No, it doesn’t fit like that. No, jamming it in will not make it fit. Then you close the tray…yes, you have to close it all the way…no, no, just push on it. You know what? Never mind. I’ll do it myself.

I Remain Ever Your Faithful Servant,

Shannon Frost Greenstein

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Shannon Frost Greenstein is a former doctoral philosophy candidate and current office peon who laments how her years of schooling are wasted on the doldrums of administrative nonprofit nonsense. She aspires to pay off her student loans with her writing while simultaneously finishing the Next Great American Novel and acquiring more cats. She does NOT presently have too many cats, despite her husband's opinion on the matter. She enjoys good wine, Nietzsche, literature, film, and irony.