Monday, March 10, 2008

Temping Agency

By Hesta

I decided to interview with a temping agency today due to my static unemployment situation. The overall experience was unpleasant as the agency appeared to be a front for a totalitarian cabal. Upon entering the agency’s premises, I was directed to have a seat in the waiting area and fill out 10 pages of paperwork, including a contract with vague signifiers like “client” and “leaving an assignment.” Under “Administrative Skills” the form listed archaic technologies like “Dictaphone,” “Shorthand,” and “Switchboard.” I circled nothing under that category. For "words per minute,” I wrote in "unknown." While I labored through the mountain of boilerplate, I overheard nauseating corporate buzzwords emanating from the various offices: facilitate, report, benefits, efficiency, prospect, fiscal, administrate. After I was summoned in for the interview, which consisted of the recruiter instructing me to add bullets to my resume in a generic, undecorated room with ecru walls, I discovered that I would hate temping. As I glanced through a new set of papers, which had been foisted upon me and included advice on how to be a successful temporary employee, I descried some fascist overtones:

“Hair should be clean, well groomed [sic], and freshly trimmed...Use deodorant and avoid overbearing colognes or fragrances…Fingernails should be short and clean; manicured if possible.” [sic].

The hygienic advice seemed to be of prime importance as it was given top billing at the beginning of the “Assignment Protocol” page. The agency clearly expects unemployed prospective temporary employees to spend what money they may have on manicures and haircuts.

Later, the recruiter asked me to produce three descriptive adjectives she could use when prospective employers ask her to paint a word-picture of me. After pondering which aspects of myself I should describe (I passed over “whimsical, insubordinate, and avant-garde,” and rejected “tyrannical, loose cannon, and socialist” as well as “shrill, impatient, and elitist”), I settled on “detail-oriented, diligent, and efficient.” I chose “efficient” because I was unsure whether the recruiter would have appreciated my use of alliteration had I selected "dexterous," “decorous” or “deciduous” instead. She did not notice that “detail-oriented” falls outside the scope of an adjective proper. The interview ended abruptly when the recruiter asked me if I knew how to “get out.” I said yes, and moved toward the door which bore a sheet of computer paper with the word “Exit” printed upon its face in size 64 font.

No comments: