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I know this is just a goofy temping site, but I feel like I should try to put some meaningful words up here today.  But I'm sure there's nothing I can write that you haven't already said, or thought, or felt yourself.  I still can't quite fathom that this actually happened, possibly because I have nothing in my lifetime to compare it to.  It's just too big, and too horrible, to comprehend.


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9-11-01 - Downtime, P.S.

If you enjoyed Slime Volleyball, there's a newer version.  Found it in the Slime Volleyball forum (yes, had some free time today).

It's quicker and harder, and the physics and controls are a little different.  Also, if you beat the opponent slime, you face a harder challenger!

Slime Wars Beta

Have fun!


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9-10-01 - Downtime

Hey!  I'm taking a little time off from the site, about a week, I guess.  Sure wish I could do the same from work.

In the meantime, if I come across any good diversions, I'll post 'em here, like this one:

Slime Volleyball!

As far as content goes, there should be some new stuff up around the 17th or so.  Seeya then!


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9-07-01 - Ask a Temp

An e-mail from a reader named Brian:

"hi. i've been temping for one year now and keep coming up against the same difficult scenario.

"it's a hectic working environment here at [my current assignment]. everybody here is always darting around, never having enough time in the day to do everything that needs to get done. meanwhile, i'm sitting at a desk with nothing to do but answer the phone that rings once an hour. and when a call comes through, i never know what to tell anybody. so, i really can't see a reason for me being here. but, they're paying me, so i'll stay as long as they have the money."

Yeah... okay...  So far, doesn't sound like a problem at all.

"...i feel bad just reading stuff off your site all day while everybody around me is running around like mad. my policy thus far has been to always have the mouse pointed at the minimize button, and if i hear footsteps, i just click the mouse. in an instant, the internet dissapears  and a complex spreadsheet i made in excel last week fills the screen. i scratch my chin and move the cursor around pretending that i'm actually doing something. of course, i'm not. and i feel that my co-workers are starting to catch on."

Chances are, they aren't.  It's normal to feel paranoid about your carefree days of websurfing, but if they are as busy as you say, they probably won't notice.  Besides, if they need help, they should ask for it.  It's their responsibility to keep you busy, not yours.  Also, you might try using Alt-Tab as an alternative to clicking the minimize button.

i know you must have encountered this situation before. do you have any advice.

I'm encountering this on my current assignment, as a matter of fact.  My advice?  Enjoy it as long as you can.  It's only a matter of time before someone asks you for help or gives you some mindless task to do.  You've got a good thing going, Bri, don't muck it up.

ps- have you ever gotten sick at work and....well...had to free ball your way through the rest of the day? it happened to me last week. sick, huh? i would have told them about it and just gone home, but it was a little embarassing. besides, i need the money, and i got a little power trip having nothing but my thin pants between my balls and my coworkers.

Um... okay, this just got weird.  

(How many e-mails do I get that seem fairly normal until the P.S.?  I really can't say.  A lot.)

Anyway, Brian, I'm having trouble making the connection between getting sick and having to remove your underpants.  Did you barf in your shorts?  Or is this some sort of, uh... 'runs' problem?  I'm confused.  And slightly afraid.


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9-06-01 - Rabble Raffle

So.  Last week, I mentioned how surprised I was that the real estate agents I am currently working with aren't exactly the fast-talking salespeople I imagined they were.  This week has done little to change my new-found opinion of them.

There was a meeting of all the agents on Tuesday, and it was one of the saddest affairs I've ever been witness to.  They shuffled, shoulders stooped, into the conference room, and sat there silent, save for an uneasy symphony of nose-whistling and the occasional rattling cough.

When they had all assembled, my supervisor called me into the conference room and told me to go find a basket.

A basket?  Where the hell am I going to find a basket?  What kind of basket?  An Easter basket?  A laundry basket?  He saw my blank stare through the cloud of halitosis that had settled over the room, and added, "Or a box."

Um, okay.  I poked around and found a box, medium sized, that was currently holding ten reams of copier paper in it.  I emptied it and took it back to the conference room.

"No, no, not one that big," my supervisor said.  "Something small, like a bowl."

Okay, a bowl now.  I wondered what the hell was going on.

When I returned with a bowl, I found out.  My supervisor was trying to get the pathetic rabble of home-sellers rallied up with a raffle.  He took all their business cards and announced he would have a drawing, and some lucky agent would win a prize.

He dropped the cards in the bowl, then told me to pick one out and read the name.  Now, normally, I would hate doing something like this.  I don't like speaking, or even standing, in front of large groups of people.  It makes me nervous and self-conscious, but I felt strangely at ease here.  More than that, actually, I felt radiant.  Powerful.  Commanding.

For me, an unfamiliar sensation.

What I was experiencing was a charisma void, a black hole of personality in the room.  Despite my timid nature, lack of self-confidence, and, short, wimpy stature, I simply outshone these agents.  I owned them.  I could break them with a word.  I could mold them, shape them, bend them to my will, make them into my own personal army.  Sure, sure, it would be a slow-moving, ineffective, jowly sort of army, but still.  I've always wanted an army, and gathering this one would be a snap.

Anyway, I picked a card and read the name, hearing my (comparatively) deep, rich, sonorous voice rolling over the audience.

"Hey." my boss said, upon hearing the winner.  "Janet wins.  That's twenty-five bucks."  He pulled a crinkled wad of bills out of his pocket and handed it to Janet, who was thankfully sitting right next to him, saving us from having to watch her totter up to the front of the room.

And that was the whole contest.  No one clapped or smiled, even Janet herself didn't have much of a reaction.  Inspiring, truly.  It had no build-up, took about two seconds, and ended with some rumpled cash trading hands.  Kind of like... well, never mind.


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9-05-01 - Temps Gone Bad

More temps in the news this week!  I'm so proud!

First of all, in an article sent in by Tom and a completely different Tom, a temp gets proactive with a tow truck!

And here's another temp doing some creative accounting for the Children's Miracle Network!

Keep up the good work!


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9-04-01 - Slaby's Run

Hope you had a nice Labor Day, or as they spell it in Canada, Labour Day, or as they spell it in Japan, Lazy American With No Values Sleep Late and Miss Work Which They Do All The Time Anyway Day.  I'm sure you all echo my sentiments of HOLY JUMPED-UP JESUS IN A SIDECAR IT'S SEPTEMBER ALREADY?!?!?

Well, maybe you're not exactly echoing that, considering the blasphemy and capital letters and annoying punctuation.  But still, I don't know where the time goes.  The days and weeks seem to pass at a crawl, but the months (and years) fly by faster than something that flies really fast.  Possibly a peregrine.  Or Superman.

Still, let's talk about August.  An article from was brought to my attention by a reader named EmilyHere's the link to the article, but to sum it up, it's a report on the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge, a 3.5 mile footrace that's been taking place annually since 1977.  This particular branch of the race (apparently, it's run all over the US, as well as in Europe and Australia) took place in Syracuse, New York, on August 7, amid sweltering heat, which is the main focus of the article.  Temperatures were so high that many participants, employees of local companies and businesses, were sent to the hospital suffering from dehydration.

Also mentioned, however, was a disqualification.  The winner of the men's race was stripped of his title when it turned out (gasp) he was a temporary employee.

From the article:

"Stearnes & Wheler employee Steve Slaby (18:21) was the first runner to cross the finish line on Tuesday, but he was disqualified after the race for violating the corporate challenge's entrant guidelines."

"Our winning male (Slaby) was a summer employee," said Alan Tieuli, publicity director for the JPMorgan Chase Corporate Challenge Series. "Our rules plainly state that the competition is only open to full-time, year-round employees that have been working at their company for at least three months. Therefore, Mr. Slaby was disqualified."

So, here's this dude, this temp, legging out the race in 90-degree weather, and, on an afternoon that has seen at least twenty people require hospitalization, Slaby manages to win by a thirty-meter gap.  Why was he even in the race?  We don't know; the article doesn't say.  My guess, however, would be that it was suggested by Slaby's "employer" or "co-workers."  And I'd guess my guess was right.

See, I've been in a position like this before, many times, as recently as last week, in fact.  The office I'm working in had a picnic this past weekend, and everyone was encouraging me to go.  Temps are always invited to extracurricular events, from things that sound good, such as parties and picnics, to things that sound bad, like highway-cleanups and 3.5 mile footraces.  Temps are encouraged to enter contests and attend fund-raisers and even participate in volunteer work (which, when my rate is especially low, I feel like I already do).

This all comes about because most companies either a) try hard to make temps feel welcome, or b) attempt to assuage their guilt for not making us feel welcome.  When the office is buzzing about some up-coming shindig or function, someone invariably notices the temp sitting there among the chatter, alone and uninvolved (blissfully alone and uninvolved, in my case).  Hence, the invitations begin, sometimes honest-to-goodness ones (because they want us to come), and sometimes perfunctory ones (because they want to talk about it in front of us without feeling bad).  Either way, if something is going on outside of work, chances are good that a temp will be encouraged to attend or participate.

I never attend or participate.  Sometimes, when the invitations are particularly forceful, I'll say I plan to go and then simply not show up.  Why would I want to go to a party where I don't know 90% of the people, and the 10% I do know, I don't like?  Hell, a race sounds more appealing than a party.  At least I'd have an excuse for running away from them at top speed.

Anyway, it sucks for poor Slaby, and I'm not sure why they needed to disqualify him.  I didn't see any mention of money or prizes for winning mentioned at the JPMorgan Chase race website.  Yes, the rules of the race are quite clear, and as stated in the Eligibility section:

"Team members must be actively employed, working a minimum of 25 hours a week for at least three months prior to race day for the company they are representing. Summer employees, employees on leave, and sub-contractors are not eligible."

Fine.  But still, it sucks.  The article states that Slaby was not available for comment, probably because he was unconscious from the effort of winning the damn race, but hopefully someone he knows will see this and he'll get in touch.  Ha ha!  Just kidding.  I don't have nearly that big a readership.  But I'll see if I can track him down for a comment, which, and I'm just guessing here, will contain both blasphemy and capital letters.

Again, I'd guess my guess was right.


Diverting your attention this week:  First, grab a paddle and make with the ball-whacking!  No, it's not an afternoon with Bob Flanagan, it's 3-D Pong!  Requires shockwave. Thanks to Les for sending the link!

Spending too much time at work?  Well, give yourself carpal tunnel with Check Boxes and go home early!  How many can you check in twenty seconds?  (I scored 39.)  Thanks to Leslie!

Finally, a quiz, the likes of which I've never seen before.  Get this.  You look at a frame from a film, but the actors' bodies have been erased, leaving only their clothing behind.  Then you guess what film it is.  Tough!  But a neat idea.  See how you do at Invisibles!  (There's about 30 different quizzes, too!)  Thanks to Andrea for this one!  See the sidebar for the actual links.

Last Week on Not My Desk


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