An Interview with Julia Ofman: The Complete Package (Center Worker)

JJulia Ofman, a Sophomore at Bates College, started working at the Package Center at the start of this semester. Not only does Julia find the job entertaining, but she also has garnered more organizational skills and conversation skills as well.

Last year, Julia noticed that her friend who worked in the package center was always having a good time, so she asked him to find out if there were any open positions. “I kept pestering him, and he pestered his boss, and at the end of short term Vinny, my current boss, and I met and had an interview.” The position requires an interview and a short application, and if you get the job, training began a few days before the start of school.

Tasks Julia completes for her job includes processing packages, letters, and yellow slips, as well as working at the window where she talks to students and gets them their packages. “I really wanted to work at the package center because you can work at the window and chat with your friends. I also really like organizing things, so the package center which is all about alphabetizing and organizing by date is the ideal job for me.”

However, Julia’s favorite part of the job is working at the window. “I get to make small talk with friends, introduce myself to people that I’m in classes with, make small talk, it’s lovely!” and when there are no students requesting packages, Vinny and Julia have stimulating conversation about politics, school, and even the history of the area.

Working in the package center has helped Julia increase her organizational skills. Students must learn the proper protocol of handling and retrieving packages, and everything in the package center has a date, a number, and a name, and all three are used in locating packages/mail for students. “Vinny has a very particular way of doing things, so it was difficult to learn all the proper protocol, but it’s stuff I’ll need to know for years to come. I’m getting much better at small talk too — it’s silly, but I want the folks coming to get their mail to have a pleasant experience!” Julia has also become quick with scanning, and sorting, and has gotten a lot better at alphabetizing. “It sounds boring, but I really enjoy organizing things and this job is sharpening that ability. Not to mention the improved people skills!”

The experience and skills Julia is learning at the package center are great for life outside of Bates, too. This is Julia’s first time earning an hourly wage in an office setting, and she’s learning how to interact with customers, ask for help when she needs it, and keep everything in its proper place. “I’m also getting stronger! Lifting heavy packages and boxes all day is hard work — I’m getting pretty buff.” Julia believes it’s useful to have these skill sets because in “any other office setting I’m working in in the future, there will be the sorting of files, interacting with all sorts of people, and an entire new protocol to learn.”