I began working here under the false pretense that this job would be an easy paycheck.
My old job paid half as much, and that didn’t make life easy living in the city. I needed a break from what I was doing and a new, better paying gig that would buy me some time until I found something that I really wanted to do.
A friend of a friend said he had an in. With the availability of jobs being not so great, and my other job paying a lot worse, I figured this was the smarter option.
After all, I thought, how hard can it be to push elevator buttons all day long?
But it turns out that there’s more to the job than driving shareholders and guests of an Upper East Side building to and from their apartments. Like responding fast enough when my elevator is called.
What is “fast enough” changes daily depending on a shareholder’s mood.
If I don't make it in that amount of time, I am made aware of their frustration through multiple rings. They forget that they share the building with over a hundred apartments, and that I may just be attending to one of their neighbor’s off-the-wall needs.
Because another full-time responsibility here in heaven is carrying people's luggage into and out of their apartment, onto and off the luggage cart, to and from the entrance in the lobby.
By luggage I mean anything from actual suitcases, to lamps, to baby strollers, to anything heavier then a paper bag. I swear they would have me push them to and from the lobby door on the luggage cart if they could get away with it.
My other responsibilities include mailing letters for shareholders, and delivering mail, packages, dry cleaning and virtually anything else to their doorstep.
More needy shareholders require constant attendance. They ask me to open a jar of tomato sauce, or move a piece of furniture, or go get their spare key (which some of them need daily).
These responsibilities may not seem so bad to you. But when you have well over 100 apartments-worth of people hassling you to do things for them that you and I do everyday without thought or complaint, it becomes completely absurd.
Believe me, I’m an ambitious man, and if I could find a better job doing what I want to do (which, in the interest of hiding my true identity, I will just say is the complete opposite of being an elevator man), I’d be doing it. But I don’t have to tell you how the job market has been lately.
On the bright side, owing to the fact that myself and my co-workers belong to a powerful union, my job is one of the most secure in the world, strike or no strike.
During one of the biggest recessions in the history of America, some shareholders in my building lost jobs, sold their vacation houses and their cars, took their kids out of fancy schools, and started using coupons for maybe the first time in their lives. But guess what? They still have me!
Does that make me more important then their children’s education? Maybe. You see, I am among the most valuable items they own. What else do they have that they can use multiple times a day, take out their tempers on, boss around and show off to their friends, without having direct responsibility for?
If you are wondering what the problem is with that, you probably just rang my elevator.
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