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(In order to make navigating theme weeks a little easier, you can now jump straight to a particular day by clicking one of the links below.  There's also a link at the bottom of each update that will take you to the next chronological entry.)

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9-15-00 - Skillz Week - Day Five

Yo!  Welcome back!

On this, the final day of Skillz Week, I have incorporated a slightly different system, that being the "Which is More Important?" system, where we'll take two similar skillz, compare them, and see which is more important to have!

I'm being proactive.

Before we do that, though, just a quick thanks to everyone who sent e-mails in this week, and a huge thanks to spinn for sending traffic my way by giving me Creative Site Award.  Pretty damn cool.  If you haven't been over to spinnwebe to check out what he's up to this week, well, you gotta.  Go.  Now.

On to the skillz!

Being Fast?  Or Being Accurate?

This is just my personal opinion, but I feel the need for speed.  I'm not the best proof-reader, as a casual glance at this site clearly indicates, and while most people would prefer an error-free memo, they don't want to wait all day for it.

Besides, even when you get everything just right, they always change something, some little piddly insignificant detail, just to make you fix it and print it again, don't they?


Skillz Skorz:  4 (Fast), 3 (Accurrat)

Doing the Stuff You Enjoy Correctly?  Or Doing the Stuff You Hate Incorrectly?

Oooh.  A toughie.

The best way to deal with things you hate to do is to make sure you do them wrong every time.  If your supervisors make you get them lunch, for example, screw it up.  After the tenth time you bring them their sandwich with extra mayo, and I mean GOBS of mayo, when they requested no mayo, they will stop asking you do it.

Like, TONS of mayo.

On the other hand, if there is something you enjoy doing, something creative or interesting like, uh... well, nothing specific is coming to mind... anyway, be sure you get it right.  Job satisfaction does not come often for temps, so cling to it like a barnacle.

Which is more important?



Skillz Skorz:  3 (Enjoy), 4 (Hate)

Feigning Interest?  Or Feigning Ignorance?

I used to do both.  The problem with feigning interest is fairly obvious:  as long as they think you're interested, they'll keep talking to you about their golf game or how their son is doing in little league or how their Desktop Feng-Shui class is going.  Nowadays, I find it much simpler to show absolutely no interest at all.  Not that this helps.

Of course, if the person has a really nice butt, you might want to feign some interest. 

As far as feigning ignorance, well, you're not gonna get anywhere if you don't know how to play dumb.  

You didn't see it.  You didn't hear it.  You didn't touch it. You didn't sign for it.  You didn't set it on fire.  You didn't, repeat, did NOT put it down your pants at any point.

You don't even know what it is.

Skillz Skorz: 2 (Interest), 3 (Ignorance)

Talking the Talk?  Or Walking the Walk?

Well, you see, uh...  Oh, I dunno.  Just pick one.

Insert your Skillz Skorz Here: __ (Talk) __ (Walk)

Of course, you can always try 'walking the talk', but last time I did that I pulled a hammy.

That's all for Skillz Week, but I've got a sneaking suspicion I missed a skill here and there... if I left something out, write in and let me know!

This weekend: Hopefully, a new addition to Vision of the Future, and next week, it may be time for a little Who Moved My Cheese? follow up.

(I apologize in advance for the mystery link.  I really, really do.)



9-14-00 - Skillz Week - Day Four

Sorry about yesterday's update.  

Damn temps.

Anyway, today we'll focus on some skillz that I seem to be lacking.  Don't worry, I've still limited it to five.

Knowing Whether or not to Follow the HR Person

I really wish I had this skill.  I generally need it on my first day at a job, when I'm with the Human Resources person who is getting me ready to work.  They'll say something like "Okay, we'll go see if they're set up for you" or "I'm not sure if your supervisor is here yet", and then they'll walk briskly away, leaving me to wonder if I should follow them or not.  

I always guess wrong.  If I follow them, they walk around for a bit, then stop and start talking to someone, not noticing that I am standing behind them like an idiot.  After about ten minutes they turn around and say "Oh!  You can go wait back at my desk."  Which, of course, I can't find again.  Someone usually discovers me whimpering in a supply closet around 4:30pm.

If I don't follow them, they return a few minutes later saying "I thought you were going to follow me", in a tone of voice that suggests the agency has yet again sent them a temp with a walnut-sized brain.

Skillz Skore:  4

Asking For More Money

Every temp has this skill except me.  Other temps always wind up getting paid more than I do, because they can always jack up their rate a couple bucks.  I only tried it once, and it was a disaster.  I discovered that for one job, my commute came out to exactly $40 a week, which meant if I could get an extra dollar an hour, it would cover my commute perfectly (did the math myself, too).  So, I asked my supervisor for an extra buck per hour.  He rolled his eyes and said "Oh, you temps are all alike." 

This is my least favorite thing to hear, next to "Are you aware there's a warrant out for your arrest?"  (I actually did hear that once, but that's a whole different story.)

Anyway, what followed was a three day drama involving HR, my boss, and several people at my agency.  At one point I walked into HR and my supervisor was standing there, and he turned and said: "There's the greedy temp", and pointed to me.  Thanks!  Dick.  I was grilled by everyone involved about why I thought I should get more money, and I found the whole thing incredibly embarrassing and a huge hassle.  I wound up getting the extra dollar, but my commute was a constant reminder that I was just another greedy temp.

Skillz Skore:  3

Talking on the Phone While Someone Else Talks to You

I can't do it.  If I'm on the phone with someone, and someone walks up and starts talking to me, I can't listen to both people.  What happens is, I listen to half of what one of them is saying, and half of what the other is saying, and wind up having no clue what either was saying.

I didn't say it was funny, okay?  I JUST CAN'T DO IT.

Skillz Skore:  3

Not Having Fifteen People Around When You Do Something Stupid

I can't really complain about not having this skill.  At least it gives me stuff to write about.

But, that time I had my security pass clipped to my belt?  The kind you have to wave in front of the sensor so the door will unlock?  And my hands were full?  And I stood there trying to trip the sensor by waving my groin around in front of the door?  For about three minutes?

Coulda done without the crowd.

Skillz Skore: 5

Becoming Awesome Friends With Everyone The First Day

I've seen temps do this.  Within an hour of starting the job, they're discussing the most intimate details of their personal lives with their co-workers.  They go to lunch with ten people.  They take their breaks with fifteen people.  They hug everyone at the end of the day.  They carpool with the permanent employees.  They keep in touch after they've left the job.

Remember, I said these were skillz I don't have.  Not necessarily skillz I wanted to have.

Skillz Skore: .01

Good night, Meredith, wherever you are.



9-13-2000 - Skillz Week - Day 3 (Written by Jack E. Linn from QuickTemp Pro Support Staffing Services Inc.)

so, craig or chris or whatever his name is, he's out sick today, so the agency sent me over to like, fill in and stuff?  Sorry I'm late but my car died.  Can I get some coffee first?  Oh, and i have to   leave around three or so, cuz my dogs sick, I gotta take him to the vet.  He's real sick.  Are there 

donuts or anything?

Also, how do you make outside calls?  Do you have to dial nine first?  I don't have to pay for long distence do I?

Anyway, so I have to come up with five skills or something, right?  I can't tell what font he was using either, they didn't say I needed to know font stuff for this job.

------------- (i can't make tjhose same lines he was doing.  they didn't say i needed to know lines for this job)

Avoiding Stupid Office Parties

You know what Sucks?  When you're filling in for someone, and it's like your first day or week of work or whatever, and they make you go to  some office birthday party. You have to stand around in a conference room with people you donít know and then sing to a complete stranger.  And I used to work at T.G.I. Fridayís so it brings back a lot of bad memories cuz we had to do that all the time when it was someones birthday.  It;s only cool if there's some honeys in short skirts in the room!!  Also, you haveta sign a birthday card for someone you donít know And it's like, what do you say?  "Happy Birthday who ever you are?'  It's so stupid.  Plus, some places make the employees pitch in to buy the birthday cake, but that can be cool because they'll hand you an envelope stuffed with cash and be like, put some money in it, dude, and I'm like, no, i don't even know who this is for and i don't have cash either because the ATM machine was broken, but you know what you can do instead??  You can take a few bucks out.  I do that all the time heh heh.

Skillz Score: 50

_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_- (thats a pretty cool line i just invented)

Stealing office supplies

A lot of places have whoile cabinets full of stuff, just like pens and post-its notes and pads and markers, and you can just steal a whole ton of stuff.  Its really cool.  One time i stole a mouse too because mine was broken.  NOT A REAL MOUSE just the computer kind, LOL.

i'd like to steal a whole computer too someday, mine at home sucks its not even a pentium.  this computer i'm on now sucks.

skill Score: 700


Finding weird stuff on peoples computers

You can find lots of weird shit on people's computers.  they give you all their passwords and stuff, and if you know where to look you can find a ton of weird stuff, like what websites they look at and who they've been sending mail to.  I know how to find all that stuff.  Like, I was just snooping around on this guy chris' computer, and you won't believe what he's got on here.  hes got like fifty pictures of that lady from family ties on his computer look at this picture:

like, what the hell is that?  and there's all this email to her to, some of its pretty DIRTY!!!!!!

Skill scorez: 1000!!


Meeting hot Girlies!

This is the best skill to know bcecause they're always a ton of totally cute girls at the job.  If you you want




Go up TO the TOP


9-12-00 - Skillz Week - Day Two

Before we get mackin' wit da fresh Skillz, I must say I'm pleased to see that a week has gone by and, according to the Google search engine, Not My Desk is still the number one site on the internet for 'nude women with hiccups'!  We couldn't be more proud!  Well, we could.  In fact, we easily could.  But chances are, we won't.  This is about as good as it's gonna get.

By the way, if there are any nude women with hiccups out there, spinn over at spinnwebe is interested in interviewing you.  Head over to his site at and check the September 6 update for details.  

Also, if you want to be really... well, I guess disturbed might be the word, check out his September 11 update.  It simply must be seen to be believed.

Now, on to today's Skillz!

Being Male

Being male is a big plus on the job, so try to be male if you can.  I know this is not easy for some of you, particularly those of you who are female, but give it a shot.

The best part is when you first walk into the office, which is really just a sea of female employees.  One of them will always say, "Oh, good!  We need a man around here."  This is a cool thing for a guy to hear, especially when he's a noodle-armed dork such as myself, and you will feel your sense of pride, and possibly parts of your anatomy, begin to swell.

Skillz Skore: 4

Pretending You Aren't Pissed Off That You Have to Pay for Coffee


I mean, come on.  How many places have I worked where they have the little coffee fund, and you have to stick 25 cents in a jar for each cup you drink?  Not that 25 cents is a lot, but when you drink 43 cups of coffee a day, it can really add up.  And how much would it really cost the company, anyway?  One of those big drums of coffee grounds is maybe a couple bucks, and you can get approximately 700 million cups out of it.  Besides, 99% of the employees head to Starbucks, robot-like, for their fancy-pants coffee anyway.  

But that's not the point.  If you can't even buy your employees coffee, your business should not be in business.

Obviously, I do not possess this skill myself.

Skillz Skore:  2

Filling out your Time Card

There's a section in every single temping book I've ever read devoted to filling out your time card.  A long, in-depth section.  Cripes.  What's the big mystery?  If you don't do it, you don't get paid.

Skillz Skore:  1

Goofing Off and Not Getting Caught

I wish I could teach you this skill.  I really do.  But I think it's more of an instinctual thing. I've seen a lot of temps get busted in my day, and I can only shake my head sadly and go back to playing FreeCell.

See, there's no real way to know when your boss is approaching.  You can't see over your cubicle walls unless you crank your office chair up to a height of about four and a half feet, which is, well, a tad conspicuous.  You can't attach bells to your boss's shoes either.  Did I ever learn that the hard way! As far as I know, there's no tangible defense, unless you've got one of those nose-whistlers for a boss, or the type that carries six bucks in change around in his pockets.

All I can really say is, you just have to feel it.  You have to feel it like the gazelle feels the gaze of the gorilla, high in the Andes Mountains of Australia.  You have to feel it like the puma feels the hot breath of the Angelfish on its neck in the lush jungles of Cairo.  Or like the Cobra feels the shadow of Jerry Lewis fall upon it in the streets of Peru.

Sorry.  PBS comes in a bit scrambled on my TV.

Skillz Skore:  5

Dealing with Susan

You really have to be good at this.  She's a pain in the ass.

Skillz Skore:  4

Tomorrow:  I'm going to see my friend Dave's band Oxen play in San Francisco, but hopefully I will still be able to pull a late night, last-minute, slightly drunken update out of my butt.  Sounds enticing, doesn't it?



9-11-00 - Skillz Week - Day One

Boo-yah!  It's Skillz Week here at Not My Desk, which is thoroughly dope and quite phat!  Or something!

This week we're going to look at TWENTY-FIVE different skillz every temp needs to master.  Yes, TWENTY-FIVE!  That's FIVE per day!  For FIVE WHOLE DAYS!

(Don't look now, peeps, but you just witnessed one of the skillz every temp should have: Making things sound more difficult and look more important than they actually are.  We'll get to that later.)

(Another skill: putting things off until later.)

Skillz will be rated one a scale of 1-5, 1 being of the lowest importance and 5 being the highest.  So, let's get things rolling!  Word!  We'll start with some basic skillz you'll need to master just to get in the front door at the temp agency.

Getting in the Front Door of the Temp Agency

Either push or pull, depending on what kind of door it us.  If it's a revolving door, wait for someone to walk through it so you can see which direction it revolves in.  If you don't master this skill early on, you will be stymied later in your career, as most buildings have doors of one kind or another.

Skillz Skore:  4

Picking the Right Agency

Speaking of temp agencies, how can you tell which is the right one for you?  You may feel a bit daunted looking through the yellow pages and seeing fifty-seven thousand temp agencies in the city you live in, but donít worry. Pick an ad you like and give them a call. Talk to an agent.  Ask them questions, like who their clients are, how many offices they have, how attractive their staff is, etc.  Eventually, youíll find one that seems like it might be right for you. 

It wonít, of course.  It will be an awful place.

Skillz Skore:  2


You probably have a pretty good idea of how fast (or slow) you can type. I donít mean that you necessarily know your exact typing speed, but you know if you rock or if you suck. I suck, pretty much. I did so incredibly poorly on my first typing test that if they hadnít lost the results, the agency would never have hired me. So if you are a poor typist, make sure the agency accidentally loses your results. I have no idea how you might accomplish this, but itís good advice.

You should give yourself a typing test at home. First, find some printed words to type. My suggestion is Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Place the book in front of you and start typing it as fast as you can. Donít stop until you reach the last page. If you make a mistake, even if itís in the middle of the book, start over from the beginning.  Don't take any breaks and don't talk to anyone, especially your children.

Time yourself using a watch.  Or any clock.  Or just by counting under your breath, because it doesnít really matter. Even if you type ninety words a minute during your practice run, it doesnít mean you can type. Wait until you have to take the test at the agency, sitting in an uncomfortable chair thatís about a foot too low for you, with a lobby full of people staring at the back of your head and the receptionist saying things like "Arenít you done yet?" So, giving yourself a typing test is really a waste of time. Sorry.

Skillz Skore: 1 (+3 for getting them to lose your results)

Not Having Something Fly out of Your Nose During the Interview

This is an all-important skill.  You need to be very, very good at not having something fly out of your nose during the agency interview.  It's disgusting and awkward, and you'll spend the rest of the interview trying to figure out what it was and where it landed.  You'll also be haunted for weeks wondering whether or not anyone saw it.

They did.

Skillz Skore:  5


You know, I had been working for some time on a rťsumť section for this site, and then one day, I went over to The Spark and saw something way funnier than I ever could have written.  So, let me just link to it, and we'll leave it at that.

Check out Christian Rudder's 'How To Get Your Dream Job'

Skillz Skore:  5

Tomorrow:  Time-cards 101, lying your ass off, and other poorly thought-out skillz!  Tight!





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