The temp tells all

Ever wondered how boring it must be to temp for a living? Wonder no more! Read my blog and share my pain- no snoozing at the back now!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The good old days

There's really not a lot to say about the job I'm doing at the moment. I come in at 8.45, wince as dogsbody Jeff gives me a rancid cup of tea and get stuck into the day's work. At the end of it, I'm gone. I've been temping for years now and I'm sure they used to seem more eventful. It got me thinking about other temping jobs I've had.

Handing out orange juice at an exhibition

This was one of my very first assignments and was supposed to last two weeks. "Any more than that and you'll kill yourself" my then agent had said, which had bene very reassuring. I actually lasted three. The job involved dressing up in a very orange outfit which consisted of a kind of leotard with a horrible blue pleated skirt overt the top. Like a gym outfit really. As people arrived at this very boring and second rate trade exhibition my job along with two other girls was to hand out small trial sizes of orange juice that had had some kind of vitamin pumped into it to make it more healthy. Ordinarily this would be a total nightmare but the one saving grace was the look on the drinkers faces as they supped the juice. It tasted like shit and probably had weird side effects and not one person thought it was any way decent and worth finishing the absolutely tiny sample. The weeks just flew by.

Demonstrating a trouser press

Yet another trade exhibition. I was working as a temp in the office of an electrical firm and they wanted someone to do the Ideal Home and demo a trouser press and a coffee machine. No-one wanted to do it but I hated the office and saw it as an opportunity to escape. Amazingly, they agreed to let me do it. Me and a guy from the office were entrusted with the precious objects and people from work would pop by every now and again to check on us. Needless to say we got bored very quickly and so would ad lib quite a lot when it came to describing what the products could do. Penis enlargement, zero gravity and dry cleaning were just three of the hidden functions we said the coffee machine could do. We were very young and stupid. In between fanciful lies we put just about anything we could in the trouser press and dropped small blocks of hash in our cappuccino. We were never caught but going back to the office seemed so dull afterwards and we both left the company to do, other things. In my case, more temping. Am I ever going to grow up?

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The vital signs

Whenever I first start an assignment it takes me a little while to find my feet and I usually judge how well a job is going to go by how quickly I can suss out what the permanent staff and/ or other temps think of the place. By making a few observations about its employees, you can easily assess the company and its management and decide whether it's worth sticking around.

Don't get comfortable if

- People go for lots of fag breaks. This either means that the management are too slack and therefore aren't serious about their jobs (which is bad because you'll never move forward) or the staff are so miserable that speeding up their inevitable death by smoking themselves stupid is the only way they can get through the day.

- There's never any loo paper in the toilets. This means that the cleaners hate the staff and every temp has to befriend at least one cleaner, to avid them rifling through their belongings or to make sure they're always stocked up with refreshments.

- You have to pay for hot drinks. A company this tight will never up your rate for work well done or loyalty. Strip the stationery cupboard bare and ask to be reassigned.

Things are looking up if:

- People wear nice clothes. Even if they're not designer, the fact that people wear nice clothes and look good is a sign that people are happy at their job. Sitting on reception and watching everyone walk by in badly-fitting polyester is soul-destroying and rings alarm bells to me.

- Lots of people go for lunch together. While this can also demonstrate a pack mentality of twats, it also means that people generally get on well enough to spend free time together. Watch out for companies where lone lunchers sit with their Marks and Spencer sandwich on a bench outside the office.

- Your email, web access and phone line is operational within thirty seconds of you arriving on your first day. Any longer than that and you'll have to deal with IT morons all day and any company that would put you through that shit isn't worth it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Back from the brink

When things go well for me, they fly, but when they go bad, it's pretty bad. For anyone out there wondering where I have been for the last million years or so, the simple explanation is that I've been ill. Being ill gives a person a lot of time to think and I've been having mini crises day in day out, one of them was should I grow up and get a permanent job, but I then realised that I didn't really know what it was I wanted to do. So this means that although previously I saw temping as a way of life, it's now something to do while I think about what I want to do. Got me? No I'm not convinced either.

Having been off ill for quite a while, starting back on my first assignment was a weird experience. Like a leader who's been exiled, it was weird coming into a office and re-familiarising myself with all the tools of my trade. I took my place behind my desk as if getting back on a horse after a nasty fall. My new boss had clearly been briefed that I'd been out of the game in a while and explained everything very slowly as if teaching a child how to go to the toilet. I sat impassively as she explained every last button on a phone I've used at hundreds of different jobs before. Why complain? If she wants to waste her time teaching an old dog like me new tricks then so be it.

My new job is at a publishing house. They publish magazines, but believe me, Ugly Betty this is not. The publishing house distributes mags about angling, caving, and bat watching (possibly). Basically, it's a load of sports that you know people do but have never met anyone who actually does it. There's also the odd knitting title and lots of baking magazines. The only up side is my boyfriend's thrilled with the amount of new recipes I'm brining home. I don't cook them, he just likes to read them and imagine what he could eating if I wasn't such a lazy cow. So I've been her for two weeks almost and so far, so same old same old. It's a busy reception, with lots of stupid enquiries about subscriptions, article submissions and all manner of fraught housewives desperately searching for recipes for pastry. I have a cohort to help me with reception and wonder upon wonder it's a man! Well, a boy. He's called Jeff and is about 19. He's also a general dogsbody for just about anyone but is here to help if I need it. His first conversation with me entailed him telling me not to bother asking him to make a cup of tea because he'd "only do it wrong". I pointed out that I would just keep sending him back until he got it right and that I had all the time in the world. Either that or he could get his arse top Starbucks, his choice. Whether he admired me or thought I was a bitch I've no idea and he'll probably spit, piss AND wank into my tea, but at least I get to stay seated.

There's lots, lots more to tell but my wrists are aching and Jeffrey has been taking an awful long time in the kitchen...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Belly up

I've turned into the worst blogger ever, but it's been a busy few weeks. My boss has finally realised what a PA is for and is fast becoming the king of delegation. When the internal tone goes on my phone I don't need to look at caller display to see that it is him asking for his arse wiping yet again.

I have finally met his wife and she seems nice. She's around six months pregnant. She came in a week or so ago and he was in a meeting so she sat with me for a while. It was a bit hard looking in her eye knowing what I know but I managed it. She was telling me how boring pregnancy is- everybody telling you to sit down or relax- and all people ever want to talk to you about is the baby. She says she can feel clients- she works in PR- just look at her bump when she comes out with ideas, as if her being pregnant means she couldn't possibly have a fucking clue what she was talking about. I liked her. The adulterous bastard doesn't deserve her.

No other real news at all. Because I am sitting in a small office pretty much on my own I don't get to fraternize with other members of staff much- suits me. Everyone seems to be resolved to the fact they're not going to be doing fuck all now that Christmas is on the way, but they all try and look busy as I click-clack through their departments on the way out. I'm getting a lot of sneering because I'm the ONLY temp in the place- the company has tried loads of PAs in the past but they've all been shit so because this is my boss's first PA, the company have plumped for a temp because permanent members of staff are notoriously hard to sack. Needless to say I'm shit hot so there's no cause for concern.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The infidel

I haven't been updating lately because I've had a bit of flu. Nice and early this year so let's hope I won't be getting it again. Unfortunately my illness meant that I lost my dull as fuck job in the screening rooms but I wasn't bothered at all, especially now I've got a nice new job in a real office with real people and lots of fucked up office politics to keep me busy.

My receptionista days are behind me for now as I am PA to a company manager. He's about 26 and has never had a PA before so I have no footsteps to follow in at all. He's a lovely guy and at the moment isn't treating me like a serf but things will change- they always do. In typically office fashion, he's fucking one of the junior secretaries and she seems to be having a hard time of it. I haven't met his wife yet but she phones up occasionally and I've had to take her stuff to the dry cleaners every now and again. As far as I know she's pregnant which makes me feel a bit bad for her but it's none of my business really. His mistress must be all of 18 but I think she reckons she's ion with a chance of usurping the current wife. I see her wandering past my open door around fifty times a day on the off chance she'll bump into him. I'm finding her quite useful for taking post down to the post room actually.

Not mush else happening. I'm quite near one of my old jobs so keep seeing hatchet-faced bastards from the past everywhere. That's the trouble with being a temp- only a footstep away from a skeleton in your closet.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

You want answers? I got answers...

The lovely One Snarky Girl said I had an STD (one pleasure I've never had in real life thank god) which I think means I have to fill this in and post it here. So I have done.

Three people who make me laugh
1.My boyfriend Matthieu
2. Anyone who falls down a set of stairs
3. The man who stands outside my local tube station shouting "Piss! Piss to you all!"

Three things I can do
1. type faster than anyone I've ever met
2. be more polite than the Queen (when I wanna be)
3. whatever I want, whenever I want

Three things I can't do
1. accept that I really should have a permanent job
2. knitting
3. listen to the Spice Girls

Three things I'm doing right now
1. squinting at the screen
2. ignoring the phone
3. wondering why the phone receiver smells strangely

Three things I want to do before I die
1. this
2. that
3. the other

Three things I hate the most
1. men with sweat patches on their work shirts- deodorant is freely available, boys!
2. people with no manners
3. getting the tube on a hot day

Three things that scare me
1. unemployment
2. bosses with hard-ons that they don't really try to conceal.
3. bosses actually checking their phone bills and my internet use

Three things I don't understand
1. why do
2. fools fall
3. in love

Three skills I'd like to learn
1. if i don't know it, it ain't worth knowing
2. (except maybe tennis)
3. (and time travel)

Three ways to describe my personality
1. sharp
2. pentagonal
3. in disarray

Three things I think you should listen to
1. the door hitting the arse of an enemy as they leave your life for good
2. the hold music at channel four
3. god I don't know- whales having sex?

Things you should never listen to
1. a word any permanent member of staff tells you
2. radio one
3. your boyfriend having a post-curry shit.

Three favorite foods
1. pre-shit curry
2. anything italian
3. sushi

Three beverages I drink regularly
1. latte
2. camomile
3. tomato juice

Three shows I watched as a kid
1. blue peter
2. simon and the witch
3. my dad attempting to do the ironing- he was fucking useless but it was front row stuff.

Friday, September 29, 2006

A permanent fixture

The weekend is on its way and I can't wait. It has been a really dull and depressing week sitting in this place and I'm looking forward to a job that gets me back out into the sunshine. It looks like I'll be here for at least another two weeks though.

I had lunch with an old temping friend Debbie the other day. she was telling me I need to get my act together and get a permanent job. She says that going 'perm' has changed her life but I saw she's still wearing the same cheap shoes- her heel was hanging off for fucks sake.

I have had permanent jobs before but I've never liked them. I get really scared that if I need to get out of a shit job I have to give a month's notice and can't just escape like I can now. The downside of temping is that sometimes I really do get a job I love and don't want to leave. These jobs are scarce because the girl you're replacing usually can't wait to get back and oust the poor temp who's doing the job way better than she can.

Anyway I haven't seen Debbie for a while so it was good to catch up but she soon got on my nerves with all her big talk of her huge salary and how hot the guys are in her office. She said there was a job in the postroom if I was interested. I politely declined, but just for that insult, I let her go back to her office with a Bolognese stain on her chin. Postroom- what a cow!