What I Learned About Life at a Company That Deals in Dead Bodies
My thankless, bizarre job made me feel like I’d be more valued if I just died at my desk and gifted them my corpse.
Illustrations by Vicky Leta
When I walked into the lunchroom, I noticed the new hire staring at the decorative containers that lined the perimeter.
“Those are coffee grounds,” I explained. He still looked confused.
“Coffee grounds. To stave off the scent of death,” I added, unsure whether this sounded too melodramatic. He nodded. I carried my lunch back to my desk. I usually ate at my desk or skipped it altogether and went for a walk. In spite of the coffee potpourri’s best efforts, the lunchroom smelled strongly of death because it was located next to the area where the cadavers were stored.
I had taken this job as a cadaver donation coordinator for biomedical research thinking that it would boost my applications to Harvard, UCLA, the University of Washington, and a handful of smaller private medical schools. The pay wasn’t great, but that was OK. It was an opportunity to learn a lot and contribute in some small way to medical research. The job consisted of answering “death calls,” the…