Thursday, October 11, 2007

Hell Temp

Yesterday was my last day in the shoe section of the Crap Factory. For the past few days, I've been going from meeting to meeting, trying to explain to people the work I've been doing and what next steps they need to take after I'm gone. (They always look terribly sorrowful when they hear I'm leaving; I always act distraught and ready to rend my clothes with grief that I have to go.) So for the last few days I've been the Temp With Nothing To Lose.

It's fun when there are no worries about being fired. I'm the temp who's been there for two whole weeks, and I'm totally running roughshod over the meetings and everyone in them. They graciously allot me an hour to sum up the last two weeks' of extensive work and the next three months' of stuff they'll need to do, and then try to spend the next 54 minutes of my time yakking about bullshit. You wanna yak? Go to Tibet. Hell Temp says work now, babble when I'm gone.

It was great. Everytime someone went off topic, I beat them with information, grabbed them by the hair and dragged them back to the Pertinent Cave. Socialize with someone who likes you, we've got work to do. I was all over the projector, whipping up screens full of necessary information like a crazed shoe-zealot who went to prison and found Sneaker Jesus or something. (Oh Mary, Mother of Espadrilles, hear our prayer). I was Donald Trump minus the comb-over and the penis envy.

Maybe it's working with Junior High School Students, but I suddenly lost all patience for diplomacy in the face of immaturity. I realize that these people must continue working together, and so for them, being polite, reaching for consensus, avoiding conflict -- these things have value. When you've already packed the contents of your desk in your backpack and can literally count the minutes till final departure, then it's hell bent for leather and Katie, bar the doors. "This is what you're going to do," I told them, on the strength of two-weeks' knowledge and experience. "Not that. This. This is what you've been doing wrong all along. This is how I've set you on the path to rightness. Don't screw it up; I'm not coming back to fix it again."

Even the Shoe Fairy couldn't keep up. Now, he was a challenge, but Hell Temp never shirks a good fight. Shoe Fairy is well over 6 feet and has a voice that manages to be simultaneously shrill and booming. That boy goes to 11. That's OK -- Hell Temp goes to 13. We had those flimsy cubicle walls rattling with the sheer force of our dedication to each being louder than the other. Shoe Fairy thinks it's OK to have unisex shoes. Hell Temp disagrees. Hell Temp says it makes sense to have men's shoes in the men's section and women's shoes in the women's section, even if you have to list some shoes twice or thrice, even. Hell Temp doesn't like the "industry convention" of listing men's sizes as the standard and women's as the deviation. It's messy to have a "size 9" and a "women's size 9" in the same size listing, but Hell Temp graciously accedes to having a "Men's 9, Women's 11" which is what she was shooting for in the first place.

I whirlwinded through my last few days like the Tasmanian Devil on meth. I cut through meeting-babble like a hot knife through tofurkey, leaving bodies and bruised egos in my wake. I wasn't deliberately unkind (except for treading on the Shoe Fairy's Weejuns, smoked hickory, Men's size 11), but I brooked no bullshit. And when my replacement arrived, I dumped it all in her lap, apologized for the remaining chaos and headed for the door like Sneaker Jesus himself had ordained it. Hallelujah!


Ash said...

Way to go!

Lynn Sinclair said...

I know we'll miss the Crap Factory far more than you will.