I might have an opportunity to work a ‘mindless data entry’ job, a temp job. The odd thing is: I have very fond memories of jobs like this. It is strange. There are so many ostensible ‘cons’ to jobs like this, but I only seem to have fond memories. The cons:
Bottom positioning on totem pole
They usually don’t need you long. They have a glut of data in one pool because they’ve fallen behind, who knows why… But once you whip through that mass of whatever, and get it all entered, they don’t need you anymore.
I will tell you though: Most of the data entry jobs I have had have turned into something more. You really begin to learn the data of the company in a comprehensive way. The ‘better’ you get at entering their data, the more different types of data they want you to enter, more departments, more lines of business. It would be difficult to NOT learn the business of the business — when you’re constantly keying in the data of that business.
You can choose to think your own thoughts, if you want, if you don’t feel like giving a shit about the business going on. You can completely space out and think whatever you want…just keep the data flowing…use one little piece of your brain to enter the stuff, the whole of the rest of your brain is yours to have fun with.
You can choose your level of involvement/interest. You can really pounce on a certain area if you’re interested — usually, I am not interested. Usually I space out and just mindlessly key the data, and I don’t really care that much about what the company is doing. It’s a meditation. There are lulls in work too…major ones. In some cases, if you key the data well, they want to keep you around if they can…hoping they’ll find more stuff for you to do. So there is a lot of free internet surfing time. Comes a time though when they just can’t find any more data for you to enter…so it’s either apply for some job full-time job they have posted…or just move on to the next place.
With the data entry, I got to where I could make predictions about the data. I would know odd facts like what percent of last names are likely to begin with the letter ‘s’ for example. When keying in addresses, the place names, it was almost like the place name told a little story. Some of the names of towns…they tell a story – the name tells a micro story. Sometimes I would sneak out to google maps and look at the place…just out of curiousity. Same with last names – your imagination can trigger just off the sound of a last name. You begin to see data in shapes…instead of in series of characters. The shape of an address, the shape of a column, the shape of a table.
I have keyed data. I have queried data. I have built data tables. I have automated the flow of data from databases. I enjoy it in such a weird way that is hard to explain. It’s like working a puzzle. The data doesn’t just mean something, it is something. It is a duplicate of the thing it portrays…or something.
The action of keying data: It really brings you into the moment. You really feel it in your hands. You feel the energy of your hands – your connection to the world. You are a part of the flow, you are plugged into the grid, the network…or something…whatever…