Work in the Box

You remember Jack?  He worked in a box…one that made you fast food. Now, his box is gone and his logo has gone all artsy fontsy.

When I think of the boxes I have worked in, it makes me realize that many people work in the same box for years and years. I can’t imagine doing that. I’ve exchanged one box for another after some time in each. The longest box I’ve worked in is the one I’m in now. Even though it’s in a building with horrific non-working HVAC, so that it’s really cold like a meat locker one day, and a 90-degree sweat box another, it’s truly a cool place.  Why? Because it’s a series of recording studios and computer labs at the college that I teach at. We have the most amazing students who come to learn in our boxes in the department known as Broadcast Electronic Media Arts at City College of San Francisco.  Recording studio boxes are amazing. The studios that I have taken my classes to visit are elaborate boxes where the owner has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars not only on the equipment used to record a music artist, but also on the walls and the acoustic treatment and the furnishings. AMAZING boxes those!

I have also toured in live sound for a chunk of years which brings one to one box after another night after night.  Depending on the success of the band, those boxes can be pretty gritty and small, and they can sometimes be gorgeous music halls decked out for fantastic sound.  A different box every night from 1993 – 1995  touring around the U.S. several times and Europe was definitely the toughest work life in boxes. Those years certainly helped to build my moxie. I became a mini Amazon in those years.

My first big box out of the college box back in the 1980’s was at a huge 20,000 sq ft office supply box called Schwabacher-Frey.  I answered an ad to work in their warehouse as I wanted a mindless job after college to work on my songwriting while working.  I figured that if I didn’t have to use my brain too much, I could concentrate on lyrics in my mind while pulling reams of paper and one gross of pens to ship off somewhere to a buyer. But after my interview, a guy higher up the food chain called me into the “front office” where he sat me down: “You went to UC Berkeley.  What are you doing applying for a job in my warehouse?”  I answered the exact truth.  He laughed and said, “Well, I need you somewhere else because I need some brains in my purchasing department. I can see that you’ve never done that, but I’m sure you can learn fast.” He chuckled as he walked me over to two casually-dressed women to introduce us and said, “This is Dana. She’s a member of your new purchasing staff.  Show her the ropes.”   So much for mindless work.  I learned a lot about the perks of working for a company that sells goods:  you get deep employee discounts. So, that particular work box sold a lot of stuff in boxes (pens, paper, staples, binders, paperclips, etc.) that shipped in container boxes via trucks shaped like long boxes to people around the Bay Area and beyond who worked in other boxes.

baby in a box_Finland I hear that the Finnish people keep their babies in maternity boxes.

Voila!  More to come.  Stay tuned.

About danaj33

writer * department chair of Broadcast Electronic Media Arts and audio faculty at City College of San Francisco * music composer and producer * always in discovery mode, learning, living, loving, and laughing.
This entry was posted in Life in San Francisco, Music, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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