Friday, September 18, 2009

All Growns Up

Today I finished my first week of work at the travel agency. I don't really have anything to do with the planning end of the business, so I don't receive any phone calls or emails. I'm kind of like a behind the scenes person there. What I do is go through all of the information they have on hotels, wineries, estancias, and other places. These are called, "Write Ups." Since they were all written by Argentinians, the English isn't perfect. My job is to go through them and correct any mistakes I find, as well as update the information if it has changed. Also, if there are new Write Ups that need to be done, I take care of it.

The job is going well so far, and as this is my first time working in an office, it's a different feel from the rest of the ones I've held down. Since I turned 16 I have been working in some form or another. Everything from retail to stadium events, to being a theater usher, travel writer, even working in a warehouse. And, of course, as a volunteer teacher. I've never been lazy about finding jobs. This one is different from all the others though. I dress up a bit and then sit in front of a computer most of the day. There isn't a whole lot of interaction with my co-workers, which could just simply be aided by the fact that we're from different places and they don't really feel like opening up yet.

But it's a different side of the world too, and I don't just mean geographically. In the other jobs I've had, I also had the mentality of someone who had the temporary job. Working in retail as a 17 year old, you don't really care if the company does well or how many shirts get folded. You just want your paycheck. And if it becomes a real mess or you can't do it anymore, you just quit. Move on and find a new job--it's that easy. But that's not the case anymore. I want to do a good job so that I can maybe attract new clients to the company, which might wind up getting me a little more money or job security. Because while I'm new to Argentina, I want to be able to stay for a while, and I'd rather live comfortably than unsure of how long the checks will come in.

It's also a different environment. I work in the downtown business center, and all day long business suits and skirts rush by on cell phones and trying to catch the bus or metro. People bump into you and don't say sorry, just keep on moving quickly. No one has any time. There's always something that can be done. It's a different world than I'm used to being in. It's interesting, though. I wouldn't say I'm totally turned off by it, but it's a totally different thing altogether. Then again, I'm one week in, and instead of having time to stroll around the city and take my time, I'm now waking up early, spending time in rush hour traffic, sitting in the office for 9 hours, and then rushing home again. Making the transition from volunteer working 20 hours a week to full time in the business district is a tough one.

A famous street in Buenos Aires is Calle Florida. This is a pedestrian street with performers and lots of shops. It's pretty touristy, and it's worth checking out once or twice. Then it just becomes a hassle. But my office is right by this street, so I naturally have to walk it once or twice a day, and I've very quickly grown to hate it. Thousands of people fight to walk by, everyone bumping into you or trying to hand you some flier. It's as miserable a street as you can imagine when you walk it everyday. It's almost better to take your chances with the cars on another street.

The street is like the situation with work. The first couple times at it, you haven't got a care and it seems pretty cool. But after a while you realize that it's just like everything else, and can be aggravating at times. People work because they have to, and you only walk down that street if you're from Buenos Aires if you have to. The good news is that I'm moving tomorrow to a new apartment in the Microcentro, which is much closer to my office. It's also on the other side of it, meaning I won't have to walk down Calle Florida anymore. I'm going to try to enjoy the weekend as much as I can, and then it's back to work on Monday.

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