My Work

I keep track of the comings and goings of people.
My work is really very simple. I write down and retain
the information that others give me.

When I started here they came in every day
with two lists of names I needed to alphabetize.
First I added the names of those who had just come.
Then I crossed out the names of those who had left.

Now the task is easier, but not as challenging.
We have instituted a number system. Numbers
are faster to find and take less space in the books.

I didn't agree with the change to numbers because
I thought they would be easy to transpose. But now
I realize that the volume of people coming and going
makes this change to numbers essential.

I tell myself, "I go home every night to my family.
My job isn't my whole life. If accuracy
doesn't matter to them, why should it to me?"

I'm proud I don't bring my work home with me.
The only time I think about work there is when
I see and smell the smoke coming from
the tall smokestacks on the other side of town.

-Poland, 1944

Ann Floreen Niedringhaus works with teen mothers in the Duluth, Minnesota public school district.

Have Something to Say?

Add or Read Comments on
"My Work"
Launch Comments
By commenting here, I agree to abide by the Sojourners Comment Community Covenant guidelines