Thursday, December 13, 2007

I had a temp job today.....

The temp jobs do help me to support my freelancing habit, so that's a good thing, right? Yes. And the fact that I don't have to go back again tomorrow is even better. But for you in positions of leadership and authority in the corporate world, I'd like to make a few suggestions for the next time you drag in a temp:

Instructions on the Proper Care and Feeding of Your Temp:

1.) Have shit ready. I realize that I still get paid even as I sit there and watch you tear your hair out because there's no network connection for the computer and the IT guy is off trying to button his shirt up correctly, but seriously, this is 45 minutes I could have spent in bed.

2.) Don't put me in a closet. I realize I'm an embarrassing temp with bad hair and that blank look of incomprehension, but if you stick me in a cold, windowless storage space, crammed in between file cabinets and boxes so covered in dust they will require carbon dating to determine their age and piles of paperwork dating back to the Carter administration, I'm going to spend the day trying to make monster faces by applying Scotch tape to my nose and adding Post-It eyeballs to the staple remover so it looks like a viper. That's just what temps do when left alone.

3.) Choose ONE PERSON to tell me what to do. Six people trying to load me down with all their crap jobs that suck the will to live right out of a person means I spend most of the afternoon trying to flush eight months of back-filing down the toilet.

4.) I require a lunch break. A real one. Not the kind where I try to eat a furtive sandwich at the piece of old plasterboard laid across an open filing cabinet drawer that you call a desk while you stare at me like every second I spend eating is stealing money right out of your kids' college fund. Give me space and time and some privacy, please. I don't want to make conversation with you. You earn a lot more money than I do, but believe me when I say that I pity you a lot more than you pity me, and I really don't want to try to explain my lifestyle choices to you. And yes, the "meat" on my sandwich looks odd because it's a veggie-tofu-fungus-wheat gluten thingy, and yes, it tastes very nice, thank you. Feel free to fuck off back to your own desk now.

5.) I leave at 5. I will not work until 5 and then spend 15 minutes "tidying up," chasing your ass down to get you to sign my timesheet, locking up file cabinets and running last-minute errands. The "last minute" that you'll get from me is the one between 4.59 and 5.00. Use it wisely; when it's gone, so am I.

6.) Yes, I am competent! I know, you're stunned that I've managed to master my own native alphabet to the level of being able to file without moving my lips, but please, try to rein in the surprise. Not all temps have an IQ equivalent to, say, a sock or the President. Applauding when I manage to accomplish a simple task like answering a phone will only succeed in pissing me off. And that's when I suddenly forget how.

7.) You are not doing me a favor. I'm doing one for you. I'm helping you out of a tight situation with grace and ability and for less pay than the guy who stocks the snack machine. Expect professionalism and competence -- not gratitude. "Letting" me come back tomorrow to do some other mindless task for little money is why I drink.

I have to say that, by and large, the people I've worked with have been extremely nice and very gracious and almost apologetic when they give me something really awful to do. But there is that odd person now and again who mourns the end of the feudal age and really just wants a scullery maid to terrify and occasionally throw down the back stairs. That's why I keep a guillotine in my car. I'm just saying.


Lynn Sinclair said...

Ahhh ... another wonderful day at the office. These rules should be printed off and handed out to the folks who employ you (and others of your species).

NuclearToast said...

I thought =I= was the reason you drink. YAY!

Ash said...

LOL! I love #2! You should post this on Craig's List under Jobs > Writing/Editing as "Free advice for employers who hire temps" :) I bet you could get onto the “Best of” section!