Friday, July 8, 2011

How to Parallel Park a Bookcart: A Secretary's Tale

Three years ago, I was a newly-graduated 18 year old, full of hope and excitement for the opportunities lying ahead of me at BYU. I decided I wanted to be more of an adult. More independent. More grown up. I decided to move out and to start applying for part-time jobs, even at the behest of my parents. I was lucky enough to get 10 or 12 interviews for jobs on campus, but nothing seemed to pan out. I was a freshman. No one will hire a freshman for a demanding secretary or receptionist position, which was exactly what I wanted. (Knowing my addiction to The Office, you can hardly be surprised.)

I still remember my interview at the LAO. I remember standing in the atrium, waiting in the chairs by the front desk, the interview with Wendy & Dave, and walking to my car thinking "Well, there's goes another interview with people who just classify me as a naive freshman." I was sitting in my room days later when Wendy called to offer me the job. I was absolutely pumped. I knew my prayers were being answered and that this job was going to be very important to who I became at BYU. And I was right.

I began at the bottom of the totem pole. I worked with Cody & Dave, both married seniors who had worked in the LAO for quite a while. From them I learned how to be professional. How to relate to adults in a work environment. How to use Google Docs and program code for Wiki sites. The best tips and tricks for the Testing Center, bookstore, and campus in general. Because of them and this job, I never felt like a true freshman. Because of them I was ahead of the campus curve. Thanks guys.

After Cody and Dave left the following April, I became #1. It is a coveted position. The AUL's (Assistant University Librarians, the administrators in my office) began to trust me. Librarians and full-time employees began to know my name. I really started to get a hang of it. The LAO became my home away from home, and I sold my soul to it. I would miss class to help with lunches and projects. I'd stay late for conferences. I would often get in trouble for working over 20 hours a week, but everyone in my office knew I was a slave and loved it. I knew I was a goner when my friends and family would ask how the library was going every time they'd see me. Embarrassing.

Last summer when I left for Wales, I was so grateful the LAO held my job for me. It might have been a deal breaker for my study abroad if they hadn't. Being gone for 6 weeks made me realize how much my life revolved around my job. All my study abroad friends new about my job and how much I loved the library. I missed the inside jokes and even wondered about how daily tasks and small projects were going back at the office. I found myself snapping hundreds of pictures of libraries and sending them to the office.

In all honesty, the best part of my time here at the LAO has been the friendships. I have formed some of the greatest friendships of my life here in this office. People I would never have been friends with otherwise. People that have impacted my life immeasurably. People I love.
  • Katie. [We bonded over Michael Scott, Cocoa Bean and Las Vegas.]
  • Kami. [A co-secretary, now on a mission, that became a much-needed friend and fellow Harry Potter enthusiast for Summer and Fall 2009.]
  • Aremy. [An LAO Secretary legend. She is the cutest mother and wife, and I always looked up to her.]
  • Paul. [My baseball buddy back in the business office, and a Royals fan. Ouch.]
  • Eliesa. [BFF, and the best little designer I know. Congrats E & B! Love you!]
  • Tiffany. [One of my best friends that taught me it's ok to be a little touchy-feely. :)]
  • Chris. [Started as a shy little project for me, and became one of my best friends and Zombie partner in crime.]
  • Laura. [The only person who understands my Star Trek jokes.]
  • Jeanette. [Mini-Me and the funniest freshman I know. Look out for this girl in the Advertising program soon. She'll change the world.]
  • Cassandra. [Actually not an employee of the LAO, but we'll claim her. She's our newest little buddy and we just love her.]
I'm actually falling apart emotionally as I type this and realize just how special the camaraderie in this office is. It's even better than the great relationships I built with teams I played on. And I don't know how it happened. I'm just eternally grateful that it did. These people have changed my life and made me better, and they aren't just work friendships. We will be friends forever. I know it. Even though I'm leaving, I can't wait to come visit Katie's baby, have dinner parties with E&B, congratulate Chris on his engagement and wedding, watch Jeanette take the Advertising world by storm, and hear about all the guys that come into our office just to ask Laura out.

I became who I am because of the Library Administrative Office. The technical skills I've learned have been absolutely crucial to my academic career. The social and professional skills I've learned, I'll carry with me in my personal life and in the classroom for years to come. But the memories, the most important and most valuable, I'll have forever. Cocoa Bean. Binder assembly lines. Office parties. Lemonade and Christmas punch slushies. Office supply shows. Arrested Development quoting. Treat Monday/Tuesday. Hating on Grad Studies and random librarians. Inside jokes. And especially just the daily office time, catching up and hanging out together. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Thank you LAO. Thank you HBLL. Thank you Wendy. Thank you friends. Thank you Heavenly Father for providing me this job, this opportunity and these wonderful people to color my life.

LAO Secretary for life!

1 comment:

  1. I remember that interview and talking to Wendy about it afterward. You definitely stood out as the best candidate which of course is so obvious now! It has been two years and I still miss working there! Congratulations on moving forward though and good luck!