Mike Rosas

Photo by Keith May I've worked at Kinko's, the campus branch in Irvine, since January 1999. My name tag says, "Document Creations Specialist," and I'm also the "Project Coordinator," which is my second title. I supervise the flow of jobs that come in, where they're at in the process, where they're going, where they end up, and I try to ensure that the quality is up to par throughout the whole process.

I answer the phone, "Thank you for calling Kinko's Campus, your 99-cent color specialist. This is Mike. How may I help you?" People will cut me off if they're in a rush. It's really long and usually people laugh, and sometimes I'll even laugh.

It gets stressful sometimes, but it seems more like it's the customers who come in who are stressed. We're right by UCI, and a lot of students come in stressed-out and freaking out because they have to have something turned in to their professor in 10 minutes and they haven't even started. People kind of rely on us to save their ass, so that's kind of our job.

Are you usually able to save their ass?

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Usually, yeah.

Have there been times that you haven't been able to?

[Rosas winces] Yeah. Every now and then, people fall through the cracks.

Is it like losing a patient for a doctor?

Exactly. It's painful. It's tough.

Do you cry?

No, no.

Does Kinko's influence my music? Maybe, in a way. I'm really interested in the corporate world and the whole style, and I come in contact with a lot of that whole "on the go" lifestyle working at Kinko's. I'm into it. I like watching people just do that kind of thing.

I think a lot of people in the art community or the music scene like to bash the corporate world and talk about how mindless and sterile and pointless these people's lives are, like they just put on a power suit and tie and walk around with a briefcase and clobber the small guy and kick and scratch their way to the top, but I'm pretty into it. I think that's the next thing. I think professionalism is the new punk rock.

There are a lot of interesting characters and dynamics in that world, but it's all below the surface because all you see are pressed white shirts and ties. Dealing with people's files and papers and rsums—I think it definitely seeps into my music because that's where I'm coming from; growing up in Irvine and working in Irvine, it's a really corporate-driven environment. It's not the streets, it's not urban; it's efficiency.

As told to Alison M. Rosen

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