23 June 2008

Clock Watcher

Well thank goodness it's called "temping."

Not that I didn't thoroughly enjoy manning a switchboard dotted with 80 or so buttons connecting me to every single person working at a massive car dealership for two days last week. In between the dozens of calls for the service department, detail crew and body shop, I counted down until the very minute that I could fax my time sheet and get the heck outta there.

As far as temp assignments go, this one was not without its crazy cast o'characters. The salespeople alone would make for a great line-up on a reality show. Each had his or her own tactic and yet each seemed completely untrustworthy. Some were very friendly and approachable while others were tough guys armed to intimidate. A few spoke to me, the lowly temp, and others barked their schedules at me from across the showroom floor. "I'm Earl and I'm going to lunch." "Sam. Hold my calls."

Oh, and the paging. Like a lot of people, I'm not a huge fan of the sound of my voice. Sometimes I am startled to hear a recording of my voice - it sounds so completely different from what I hear in my head. So to hear your voice squeeze out of tiny speakers manufactured when the nation was wondering who shot J.R. isn't a fun day at the office. And when I learned that not only did people across 3 car lots hear my voice but also that the people in the Wal-Mart parking lot across a 6-lane road could hear my voice, I was not thrilled about hitting that page button on the switchboard. Even after paging several people that first day, I was asked several times if I knew how to use the paging system. (Just so you know, in case you find yourself with the need to page, simply press the "page" button and speak into the receiver)

It seems that temps all over the world are regarded in the same light, and that light is almost always unflattering. In this light we temps look dull, slow and extremely unreliable. It is only when we receive word from our temp agency that we have been requested by a specific employer for a repeat performance that we are able to throw our hands up into the air and shout, "They like me! They really like me!" I am happy to report that the car dealership liked me for last week's job was my second appearance on that shiny new car salesroom floor. Now, let's hope it was my last.