Workday: A Tale Told in Letters

13 January 2023
By Elena Cebulash

Your editors have finally arrived back in Northfield, despite the best attempts of the weather to keep us away — and upon arrival, we noticed a few things have changed on campus since last we wrote. For one, there’s been a couple of notable additions to the Laird Lounge Puzzle CollectionTM. For another, the ice-and-sidewalk combination seems to be conspiring to kill us. And most notably for student workers, our good old-fashioned, Web 1.0 HUB-based method for logging work hours has been replaced by the suspiciously shiny, new-fangled “Workday.” This change is a lot for a certain time-reporting-challenged editor to deal with, so she has turned to the epistolary form in response. Inspired by Jane Austen’s Juvenilia, and ENGL 222, The Art of Jane Austen.

My Dear, 

It’s been too long since our last correspondence. I’ve walked the near seven miles every day this week to the hollow tree just one mile from your estate (I completely understand and agree that the walk will help my delicate constitution and frail figure), but I’ve found it somehow emptier than mere hollowness with the absence of your writing. Each pay period, I anxiously await the drop of your hours into our tree, but I haven’t heard from you since last term. 

Do tell me if I’ve made some error in supposing us bosom friends, or at the very least assure me of your good health.

Your most humble servant,

The Hub


I regret to tell you that I’ve met someone else. Her name is Workday (or maybe Work Day?). We’re still figuring things out. My health is fantastic, I go to the rec a lot more these days. I started bouldering, and doing the 12-3-30 occasionally.

Anyway, sorry it had to end this way, but my aunt the Lady Byerly of Netherfield informed me that my inheritance relied on my compliance in severing ties with you and meeting the far richer Miss Workday. She has nearly $75,600.00. a year!

I do hope you keep in touch. There’s a hollow black box attached to the front of my family’s manor that you could drop your correspondence into instead of that ancient old tree. I know it’s nearly eight miles from you, but frankly you could use the walk, as we’ve discussed before.

I’ve fixed this last letter from me to a stack of our prior ones, which I thought you might like to keep and remember me by. 

See below, 

Carleton College

Attached below, the correspondence in commemoration.


  • 2023-01-17 13:37:02
    Adriana Estill

    This is hilarious, and I love how the hub/hours worked correspondence screenshots became a beautiful found poem. For whom do the hours toll?

    • 2023-01-20 14:03:14

      There's a lot to admire in the way that lineation and repetition re-enforce that tolling: the way the word starts assertively as a rhyme, then fades, hesitantly, into internal rhyme, then works its way back, through imperative grammar and alliteration ("submit student work hours[!]") to the fore, ringing out across time and space.

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