Temping Escapade #10

For a while now, I've been on a losing streak with the temping gigs. I knew I had some hard times due me, from the eight months I'd spent on Easy Street when I worked at the aerospace defense company -- but I didn't know it was going to be this bad! I guess my penance had yet to be fully served.

By far, the best -- and only -- good thing about Temping Escapade #10 was discovering the magnificent Woolworth Building. (The company happened to be located in this building.) I'd heard about the Woolworth Building many times before, but I had never set foot in it.

Walking into its lobby that first morning was practically a religious experience -- I was positively astounded by the grandeur that lay before my unsuspecting eyes. The Woolworth Building is an ode to the bygone days of sheer supremacy in workmanship. Following is a description from the Woolworth Building's brochure:

"The beauty of the building is not confined merely to its graceful height and exterior. A lofty three-story-high entrance arcade frames walls of golden, veined marble. Wide, marble staircases lead up to the richly decorated second floor balconies with their huge frescoes of 'Commerce' and 'Labor.' The vaulted ceiling is set with brilliantly colored patterns in glass mosaics that glow like a million jewels. Lace-like wrought iron cornices are covered with pure gold leaf..."


Yes, the lobby was quite amazing. I soaked in its splendor. But I wasn't hired to stand there and gawk all day -- I had to leave the lobby and report for duty. I headed upstairs....

Hardly anyone was around, but I did find someone to show me to "my" desk. I found a note left on the desk for "The Temp." Why, yes -- I suppose that's what I am, but I prefer to be called "Laura." The note was list of various tasks needing to be done, and instructions on how they were (supposedly) to be completed. The tasks were common temp fare, and ones I'm unfortunately not a stranger to: all the tedious, boring jobs no one else wants to do. But it was the tone of the instructions that annoyed me more than the actual tasks on hand. This is what the note said (verbatim):

1."The first thing I need is for you to take everything that is in a pile on my desk and file it in the first dark brown cabinet in front of my desk." The guy knew he was going on vacation in two weeks. So what does he do? Not file a single thing for a long time, knowing he can just leave it for the temp.

2. "I also need a list of all the files in that dark brown cabinet and type that list on an Excel Chart so we know all the different files in that cabinet." Make a list of every file in the file cabinet? That's a damned crappy task if I ever had one... thanks a lot for that one.

3. "I need an inventory of all the supplies in the supply cabinet." Is this before or after I swipe the majority of them, out of sheer frustration and disgust for this job?

4. "You will be answering my phone by saying 'SST Can I help you.' " Oh, really, I will? And who's around here to make me? I'll answer the phone however I choose -- but don't worry your little head... I'll be polite enough.

5. "You will also be answering Susan's phone and say "Susan XX's Office may I help you." Ditto on that one.


Ordering a temp around like that -- the nerve! And, I found out the guy who wrote the note was a temp himself... whatever happened to temp camaraderie? I guess in his world there ain't none.

Even though I was left virtually alone (and free from additional ordering about) on this job, it was still an oppressive two days of filing, listing the names of every file, and inventorying every last Post-it and Bic pen in the supply cabinet. My spirit took a hard blow, but at least I got a story out of it.

I began to longingly yearn for the good ol' days of aerospace defense, like I had in Temping Escapade #5. Yet, through it all, I still had a gleam of hope left in me -- hope that there would be better temp jobs for me in the future. Perhaps over yonder, on the other side of the horizon? I was more than willing to hightail it to wherever I needed to go! I thought, "By now I've suffered enough. Isn't it my time, please, to be dealt a winning hand?"