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11-16-01 - Netted

Question:  What sucks worse than someone thinking you're lying when you're telling the truth?  Answer:  When they think you're lying, and you're lying.

Temps have a reputation for being slackers (I may have alluded to this at some point in the past).  Personally, this reputation bothers me.  I hate when people just assume I spend all day goofing off.  I especially hate when they assume this, and it's true.

Don't get me wrong, I do work.  Really!  Some jobs I even work very hard at (when required).  Some, however, bore me immediately, and I do the absolute minimum required to get paid.  This is the situation at my current job.  Man, do I goof off there, but it's almost entirely in self-defense.  If they know I'm not working, they're just going to give me work to do, and I simply can't tolerate that.  The work is so damn dull.  So, I spend a lot of time online, reading news sites, sports stuff, checking e-mail, chatting on IRC, etc.  This can be risky, and already, more than a few times, I've been happily typing up an e-mail or web-surfing when I notice a supervisor standing behind me.

So, I was a little alarmed a couple weeks ago when I got this e-mail from the director of human resources:

Hi Chris.  Would you please e-mail me a list of the job duties you have been doing? I need this by the end of the day today. Thanks!

If you're a permanent employee, this is more or less the mark of death.  Anytime an employer asks you to list your duties or create a job description, it's a bad sign.  It's the first step on the road to canning your ass, basically.

For a temp, this may not be anything to worry about.  A lot of times, particularly if you've been brought on to engineer a new position, they simply want some idea of what you do all day.  They may also want the list for future reference, such as when they look to hire someone permanently in the position.

Then again, they could be checking up on you.  A few days after I turned in my list of duties, I got this e-mail, again from HR:

Thanks for sending the list of job duties.  Can you add in the amount of time you spend each day on each of them?  Thanks!

Ah... hm.  They want to know what I'm doing, and how long it's taking me.  Well, doesn't mean they don't trust me, necessarily.  On the other hand, they may have looked at the list of duties and said "It takes him forty hours a week to do this?"

So, I added the amount of time I spend on each task (both exaggerating and being as vague as I reasonably could), and e-mailed it back again.  Today, I get this:

Chris one more thing on this.  Would you please download it into Excel and make it consistent with weekly increments.  So, there would be a column for the task and a column for amount of time per week. Just make your best guess on the items that are dependent on volume.  Also, do you feel like you have a full work load?  If not, I will see what I can do to get more for you to do. 

Ack.  I say again:  Ack.  Here are my thoughts:

1)  This is getting really goddamn annoying.

2)  Download it into Excel?  Yeah, okay.  Then I'll hack it into the printer and grep it into e-mail.  Get your damn terminology straight, d00d.

3)  To my list of duties, I'm definitely thinking of adding: "Creating, typing, retyping, formatting, and reformatting List of Duties.  Time involved - 12 hours per week (best guess)."

4)  You know, a pie chart may be needed here as well.  Maybe a few graphs.  A ven diagram.  Flowchart?  Yes, I think so.  A 3-D flowchart.  Maybe I'll download it into PowerPoint.

5)  They seem to think... I dunno... that I'd be interested in doing more work?  Is that the idea?  Weird.

Any way you slice it, I'm basically screwed.  They're onto me in a big way.  This was clinched when, a few minutes after I got this e-mail and was glumly rereading it, the IT guy stopped by my desk.

"Just a heads-up," he said.  "They asked me today if it it was possible for me to remove your internet access.  Better be more careful."

Grrr.  You know, if they really don't think I'm doing my job, they should at least have the balls to tell me.  (And I am doing my job, by the way.  Despite all the goofing off, I complete all the work I'm given.  I'm just not soliciting for more work.)  And anyway, I'm a friggin' temp.  We're a dime a dozen.  You don't like me, replace me.

But this is some underhanded crap.  I'm pissed off.  Yeah, THAT'S RIGHT, I'm mad that the people paying me to work forty hours a week won't let me goof off for thirty of those hours.  Got a problem with that?

Frankly, I'm wondering if HR feels they have a full workload.  Maybe they need a little more to do.

I know I've got a few suggestions.

e-mail: temp@notmydesk.com

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11-15-01 - Temp-Chat - Informing the Masses!

Once again, I'm hitting the chat channels.  My original intention when starting this endeavor was to find other temps.  When I couldn't find any, it seemed like the next best thing was to get people's opinions about temps.  The wall I ran into there was that most people didn't even seem to know what temps were.  So, I decided this mission would become more of an educational one.  I will tell the world about temps.

Yeah.  That's what I'll do.

'Course, here I am barging into people's IRC channels, just assuming they want to know anything and everything about temps.  This may not be the case, so watch in amazement as I slyly turn the conversation to my own ends.

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*** Now talking in #celeb_central
 
<notmydesk> Hey!
<herb_> hello
<herb_> you seem happy
<notmydesk> I am!  I've got some awesome celeb gossip about Brad Pitt!
<notmydesk> Turns out before he was a movie star, he was a TEMP
<notmydesk> can you believe that?
<herb_> whats a TEMP
<notmydesk> AGGGGGGHHH
<notmydesk> um, sorry
<notmydesk> What I meant was, a temp is a temporary employee!
<herb_> for hollywood?
<notmydesk> well, no, not just hollywood. anywhere, really!
<herb_> makes sense
<notmydesk> I'm a temp, for instance, in the San Francisco area
<herb_> its a part time job
<notmydesk> well, it can be full-time. Just not a 'permanent', or 'staff' job.
<herb_> i see
<notmydesk> Like, um... they hire you to replace someone who isn't there.  like they're on vacation or dead or something.
<herb_> so
<herb_> he was a TEMP
<notmydesk> Well, no. I just wanted to use that as a lead-in.
<herb_> ahh i see
<notmydesk> I wanted to talk about temping, and it helps to have a hook into the conversation.
<herb_> lol
<herb_> ok
<notmydesk> I figured in a celeb channel, mentioning Brad Pitt might get some attention
<notmydesk> I uh... may need some professional help.
 

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*** Now talking in #discussion-x

<notmydesk> hi there!
<j3Rk> Hello.
<notmydesk> hi
<j3Rk> Wassup?
<notmydesk> not much! just got off work!
<notmydesk> what a day!
<j3Rk> Work would suck.
<notmydesk> you don't work?
<j3Rk> I'm a student.
<notmydesk> ah
<notmydesk> once you're out of school, do you think you might consider doing some, oh, i dunno... temping?
<j3Rk> I'm in Computer Engineering Technology.
<notmydesk> ah! so, that's a big fat 'NO' then
<notmydesk> maybe you can do some consulting, which is sort of like temping
<notmydesk> or contracting
<notmydesk> i'm a temp, by the way
<j3Rk> Cool.
<j3Rk> What exactly is Temping?
<notmydesk> um
<MeLLy-22> temporarily filling in
<notmydesk> yes, Melly!  Thanks!
<notmydesk> exactly!
<j3Rk> Temporarily filling in for what?
<notmydesk> you have no idea how glad I am that you've heard of it, melly
<MeLLy-22> someones permanet position
<j3Rk> In what field?
<MeLLy-22> whichever field
<notmydesk> mostly office/clerical, but all kinds of different fields
<j3Rk> So you're like an all-in-one guy?
<notmydesk> Jack of all trades!
<notmydesk> Only not many trades.
<notmydesk> and my name isn't Jack
<notmydesk> and the 'of' isn't entirely accurate, either.
<j3Rk> lol
<j3Rk> Sounds like it could be interesting.
<notmydesk> ha ha ha!  Uh, I mean, sure it is! you get to work at different places doing different things
<notmydesk> meeting different jerkwads
<notmydesk> every new assignment is an adventure. i feel like James Bond, only with no class
<j3Rk> And no hot chicks?
<notmydesk> Well. I meet plenty of hot chicks. They're just not too impressed with my career choice. Or looks. Or breath.

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*** Now talking in #cheap
 
<notmydesk> hi there!
<playr2> there! not I
<notmydesk> I'm cheap
<playr2> cheap lol
<notmydesk> 'cos I'm a part of the nation's temporary workforce!  ha ha!
<notmydesk> any other temps present?
<playr2> other temps present? penix hes talkin mad shit!
<notmydesk> no one knows what a temp is?
<playr2> one knows what being a couple months lol
<drkrool> temp is temporary
<playr2> is temporary rofl
<drkrool> or temprature
<drkrool> where at?
<playr2> at? lol
<notmydesk> eek.
<notmydesk> so, uh.  do you know what a temporary employee is?
<playr2> know what a lol
<notmydesk> okay.  try this.  do you know what a complete sentence is?
<Whiteysmalls> hahahha
<Whiteysmalls> a temp employee is kinda like a stand in employee only gonna be there for a short time
<playr2> temp employee is lol
<notmydesk> yes, Whitey!
<notmydesk> excellent
<playr2> remmeber that for me yea
<notmydesk> playr, you left the 'lol' off the end of that
<playr2> left the 'lol' LOL
<notmydesk> i'm disappointed in you
<playr2> in you i knew you for like years lol
<notmydesk> like years lol
<playr2> years lol yep lol
<notmydesk> lol lol
<katielover> LOL
<notmydesk> wow, playr.  you repeat things. like a parrot, only with a severe mental handicap
<notmydesk> lol

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*** Now talking in #texaschat

<notmydesk> Hi there!
<notmydesk> I'm planning on moving to Texas, and was wondering how the temping market was out there.
<Lady_T> depends on which part of texas you move to i suppose
<notmydesk> hm. well, say Austin, for example
<Lady_T> im in amarillo area and i dont think the temp market is to great
<Lady_T> ahhh
<Lady_T> yesss
<Lady_T> austin is good
<notmydesk> are you a temp?
<Lady_T> use to be :)
<Lady_T> homemaker now
<notmydesk> ah, really!
<notmydesk> how did you like temping?
<Lady_T> hmmm
<Lady_T> notmydesk?? what kind of temping are we talking about
<notmydesk> well, office temping i guess?
<notmydesk> what kind did you do?
<Lady_T> office temp
<notmydesk> me too!
<notmydesk> did you like it?
<Lady_T> yup :)
<notmydesk> wow. someone who actually liked temping.
<notmydesk> you're a rare find, Lady_T
<Lady_T> why's that?
<notmydesk> most people i meet don't even know what temps are
<notmydesk> and if they do, they don't like them
<notmydesk> and if they do like them, they... actually, that hasn't come up yet
<notmydesk> so, don't you wish you'd stayed a temp instead of having a buncha screaming kids?
<Lady_T> ummm my screaming kids are 18 and 15 now
<notmydesk> and they're still screaming? at that age?
<notmydesk> might want to get them into therapy, ASAP
<Lady_T> nooo actually it turns into bitching and whining
<notmydesk> well, maybe having kids isn't all that different than temping then.  'Cos that sounds a lot like my afternoon.

e-mail: temp@notmydesk.com

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11-14-01 - Hall-Marked

Huh.  Wednesday already?

Sorry for the recent slack.  Two things have contributed to it:

1)  I'm still at the same job (the one with the intercom and lunch table).  Unbelievably, the job has gotten even more soul-suckingly awful, but to bring you up to date would be to just post a laundry list of complaints, and I don't really want to do that.  Well, not at the moment, anyway.

2)  I actually have been working on the site, a lot.  I've been messing around with a new design, but since I'm not a web designer, it's been going frustratingly slowly.  I spent most of the weekend fiddling and cussing with the site, getting just about nowhere, so when it came time to open up a can 'o' update-ass, I just didn't feel like it.

3)  I said two things.  There's no third!  Don't get greedy!

Anyway.  One of my cardinal rules of temping is to keep a low profile.  I broke that rule last week.  I hate when I do that.

One of the people I work with, this guy Jason, took a job with another company in Los Angeles.  His last day was Friday, and so there was going to be a little goodbye-party for him.  On Thursday, a card was sent around the office for everyone to sign.  One of those good luck, we'll miss you deals.  SOP.

So, naturally, this card comes to me, and I don't really know the guy at all.  I'd never said more than two words to him and vice-versa, and I didn't know what his new job was (or even what his current job was).  He was just this dude in the building I'd see in the hallways.  

Normally, I'd just write 'Good luck' or something simple, but I got stupid.  I wrote:

'Hi.  I'm not sure who you are or where you're going or why.  But, I guess you work here, and you're going somewhere for some reason.  Well.  Good luck with that. - Chris (the temp)'

So, Monday, people start coming up to me.  People who had been at his goodbye-shindig, and had read the card.  Apparently, it was an incredibly boring affair, because, as one woman put it, "What you wrote in the card... it was the hit of the party!"

Huh.  A bunch of people came up to me during the day, saying how funny they thought it was.  Personally, I didn't think it was all that funny, although in comparison to what everyone else had written, I guess it might have stood out a bit.

The point is, people were coming up to me and talking to me, something I generally try to avoid.  Yes, they were saying nice things, but (and this is probably something I should seek professional help for) when people I don't know look at me or talk to me, I generally want to crawl under the nearest rug.  Still, I held up okay for most of the day.

Then it got worse.

APPARENTLY, someone didn't get that it was a JOKE.  This woman, let's call her Cathy because it's actually her name, took this, my greeting card-witticism, as a CRY FOR HELP.

Cathy did no less than actually coming up to me, putting her arm around my shoulders, and saying "You're the temp, no one knows you, and you don't know anyone."  She did this in a very therapeutic tone of voice I'm not sure I can describe.  Let's say you've lost your foot in a tragic skee-ball accident, and you feel bad about it for a long time, and then someone comes up to you and makes you face the facts:  your foot is gone.  It's gone forever.  But LIFE is NOT OVER.

Anyway, since then, she's made a noticeable effort to include me in conversations with large groups of people, she keeps inviting me to lunches, she constantly asks me about my background... all very nice things, but the kinds of nice things that make the skin on the front of my body try crawl around and hide behind me.

Can't blame her.  I asked for it.  Next time I'll stick with 'Good Luck.'

-----

Diversions:  You know what's really fun?  Playing with the same Diversions that were up last week!  Yeah!  So, again, it's   Boinkmail, Worm, and Habbo Hotel.  I'll try to have some new ones up for tomorrow.

e-mail: temp@notmydesk.com

 Last Week on Not My Desk

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