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8-3-01 - Our Hour

Staffing Manager:  "I've got an assignment for you!"

Me:  "Great!"

Staffing Manager:  "It starts Monday!"

Me:  "Great!"

Staffing Manager:  "It's from 11-2 on Monday and Tuesday!"

Me:  "Oh."

A piddling two day assignment?  And not even two full days?  I shouldn't even waste my time with it.  But, I'm broke.  Beggars, contrary to popular belief, can be choosers.  Temps, or this temp, at least, can't.

Me:  "So, just three hours a day?"

Staffing Manager:  "No, four.  Four hours a day."

Me:  "11-2 is three hours."

Staffing Manager:  "Oh... is it?  Oh, yes, it is."

Me:  "But they have to pay me four hours minimum per day, right?"

I already know this to be true, but I was kind of waiting for her to mention it.

Staffing Manager:  "Oh... yes..."

Me:  "They do know that, don't they?"

Staffing Manager:  "I don't uh... let me call them back and check."

Crap.  I shouldn't have opened my mouth.  Now, the staffing manager will call them, and say something like "Do you realize that you have to pay him four hours minimum, and that you only have him scheduled for three?"  Something she should have asked them when they called in their order, but she obviously miscounted the hours or was simply unaware of the rule.  Pretty much par for the course for a staffing manager.

When she does call back, they've changed my hours from 9-1.  Typical.

Anyhoo, I go in both days.  Monday, I work 9-1, as scheduled, but Tuesday, being the efficient bastard that I am, I finish up at 11:45.

Supervisor:  "Well, I don't have anything else for you, so we'll just let you go at noon."

Me:  "Okay."

Supervisor:  "So, a nice three hour day for you today!"

Me:  "Ah... yes."

God.  Damn.

Now, I know my supervisor knows about the four-hour minimum.  She must.  The agency called her about it, and she changed my hours specifically because of that call. But she's still trying to pull one over on me.  It's rare that someone as cynical as I am can be surprised at someone's petty behavior, but I am.

See, here we have a marketing director.  Someone who probably makes about $200,000 a year.  And, here we have a company that probably pulled in several hundred million in profit last year.

And they're trying to screw me out of a measly hour of pay.


I fill out my timecard with four hours for the day, put on my jacket, grab my bag, and walk into her office.  She looks at my timecard and pauses.

Me:  "You did know that you have to pay me four hours minimum, right?"

Supervisor: (unconvincingly) "No, I really did not know that and had no idea about that rule and am just hearing it for the first time this very second."

Liar!  Liar!  Liar!  

See, this ticks me off.  If she really didn't know, I would have mentioned it when she told me she I was done for the day, and I'd have offered to do some filing, or asked if other departments could use me for an hour.  But I know she knows, and that's why I didn't mention it until I'd had my timecard ready and my jacket on and my bag over my shoulder.  If she can pull an hour's work out of her ass, I'll be happy to do it, but I'm not going to give her a head-start.

She can't think of anything for me to do, so I leave.

It takes the bus an hour to get me home.  Knowing I'm getting paid for that hour makes the ride a little more pleasant.


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8-2-01 - Synergyp

So, Tuesday morning, I'm temping in the marketing department, working on (surprise!) a PowerPoint presentation.

What is it with marketing departments and PowerPoint presentations, anyway?  You'd think once in a while, they'd actually have to crunch some numbers, look at some raw sales data, and think up some original ideas or something.  You know. Actually provide some useful service to the company that employs them.

But no.  All they do is create presentations, and this presentation is just like every other I've ever seen.  A few vague graphs, and thirty or forty slides which seem to exist for the sole purpose of featuring the word 'synergy' in a bulleted list as many times as possible.

I don't know how these people maintain their jobs.  I figure they divide their time between nervously worrying that they're about to be found out as frauds and sacked, and trying to keep a straight face when they come up with particularly amusing and meaningless phrases for their bulleted list.

Whoever created the presentation I'm working on now had tried to come up with a way of phrasing the question: "What kind of ice cream do people like?"  Knowing instinctively that the sentence, "What kind of ice cream do people like?" is far to straight-forward to be acceptable, they instead came up with this gem:

"What do consumers look for to satisfy their personal ice cream portfolios?"

Personal.  Ice cream.  Portfolios.

Bet you didn't even know you had one!

Oh, yes.  Ice cream.  I'm making my triumphant return to an ice cream manufacturer I've worked for in the past.  

The last time I was here, it was a nightmare.  It was the The Assignment That Nearly Broke Me.  It was the assignment where I essentially acted as a helper-monkey for a guy with carpal tunnel syndrome.  The assignment where I was gypped out of hours and pay that were promised to me.  It was, I must say, the most disagreeable work experience I've ever had as a temp, and that's saying a lot.

And, while they haven't paired me with a miserable carpal tunnel sufferer there this time around, they are already trying to gyp me out of pay.  More on that tomorrow.


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8-1-01 - Alas, Alack, Alarm

Last week, I wrote about some ideas I had for inventions.  I've just come up with another one.  I was inspired, really.  I woke up from a dead sleep, and there it was, plain as day.

My invention is for a new kind of car alarm, and a truly revolutionary one at that.  This new car alarm would go off only when the car that is armed with it is actually being stolen, unlike a normal car alarm, which goes off, to all evidence, anytime a BUG FARTS WITHIN THIRTY FUCKING YARDS OF IT.

And I quote:


booooooooeeeeEEEEEP!  booooooooooeeEEEEEP!


booooo-deeeeee, boooooo-deeeeee!"

Hey, at least you can sing along to it.  I often do.  With enough practice, it can be almost soothing, much in the way that pressing a running belt-sander against your testicles almost tickles.  At any rate, it's preferable to the alarms that just go:


I mean, really.  "BEEP."  How trite.

Sure, my new car alarm is a tough sell.  Car owners obviously like being kept abreast of dangerous developments in the vicinity of their cars, such as airplanes flying overhead, buses rumbling by, and light from the sun reflecting off the hood, each a deadly threat that will prompt the nervous automobile to scream for help.

Planning on walking through a parking lot?  Well, best wrap your feet in sofa cushions and speak in hushed tones, for today's car alarms are more sensitive than a chubby teenager with braces whose father cuts his hair.  I'm not aware of the personality traits of the person who designed these alarms, but I suspect he might be described as, in a word, "jumpy."  Still, it takes a certain brilliance to creative a device that can pick up and react to the sound of a cloud slowly changing shape thirteen thousand feet overhead, so I'll give him that.  And, at the very least, the age-old philosophical question of "If a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?" has finally been answered.  That answer is a resounding 'Yes,' or rather, "BEEP."

Why, the simple ticking and tacking of my keyboard as I write this has set an alarm off in the street below my window, as did apparently, mere minutes ago, the sound of drool slowly collecting on my pillow as I lay in peaceful slumber.  And, like proud parents discussing their newborn's latest bowel movement, you can't get one going without others joining in, so the entire block is now wailing and flashing like the world's biggest outdoor pinball machine.

But my alarm will appeal to the more casual car owner.  The car owner who doesn't sweat the small stuff.  The car owner who says, "Sure, I love my car, but I realize that, since it is made mostly of steel, an elderly man clearing his throat four blocks away is no reason for me, or indeed my car, to worry.  And it weighs over a ton, after all, so the grain of pollen that has collided violently with the rear bumper at a blistering three miles-per-hour probably won't cause it to flip end over end.  Oh, and since it's mid-afternoon on a sunny day and I'm parked on a busy street in the middle of town, no one is going to try to steal my car anyway."

Who knows?  Maybe the person who buys my car alarm will even be the type who doesn't feel the need to set the alarm when parking for short periods of time, say, to run to an ATM, or to get a cup of coffee, or to wait for the traffic light to change to green.

Hmm.  On second thought, inventions take a lot of work.  I think it might just be easier and more efficient to simply remove my eardrums with a pencil.

Provided I do it quietly.


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7-31-01 - Temmmmp, Hut!

This ain't my week.  Man, it hasn't been my week in weeks.

I wrote an update for today, and it turned out okay, but then I decided I might save it for a theme week, the concept of which I thought up moments after finishing it.  So, I have to hold off on it at least until Monday, which sucks, because now it's 11:00pm, and I'm in no shape to write another update.

Luckily, the links shall save me.  First, let me send you over to wabewalker for a temporary employment story he wrote up about doing some contract work for the Department of Defense, where "even going to the bathroom involves so much bureaucracy you might as well wait until you get home."

Read Defense Detractor!

Also, you might want to check on the continuing saga over at Sluggy Freelance, which was brought to my attention by several readers last week.

And, check out this Speed Bump comic sent in by kaufman.

One last order of business:  this picture was sent in a while back, and I posted it, but due to being a knucklehead, I had lost the name of the person who had sent it in.

Here's the picture again:

It was sent in by Alan, and here is his link.

There!  With all the links this week, I have sent you rocketing away from my site!  Yes... the plan is working... soon there will be no one here at all.... MWA HA HA HA HA HA!

Anyway, thanks to wabe and kauf and Alan and everyone who sent in the sluggy link.


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7-30-01 - I Blame the Crumbs

Hmph.  I tried to get an update ready for today, really truly tried, but something seems to be wrong with my keyboard.  It refuses to write anything funny.

So, I scrapped what I was working on, but hopefully there will be something new up tomorrow.  In the meantime, at least I have a couple diversions (the links are below):


Miserable?  Of course you are.  But maybe that's because you're living in the wrong spot!  Take the Find Your Spot test and see where you're best suited to live!  It only takes eighteen short hours to complete, and it'll tell you the best spot in the country to live in, given your freakish tastes and preferences.

Also, "Pretend you're in prison and make a license!" is the enticing tag line for the Acme License Maker.  And that's what you do.  You pretend you're in prison and make a license.  A license plate.  Not a fishing license or anything.

Also, a flash animation sent to me by wabewalker, who always seems to bail me out!  Check out the adventures of Available Temping Man!

Last Week on Not My Desk


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