Originally published on McSweeneys
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT AGENCY THAT KEEPS LYING TO ME ABOUT HOW GOOD A JOB IS.
I know you think it’s funny when you double book two people for one shitty reception job, but it’s actually super annoying. Especially when you’re the one who has to go home and not earn money because you turned up 30 seconds later then the other girl, who was only faster than you because she wasn’t wearing inappropriately high receptionist heels, like some fucking amateur.
You guys get a third of what I earn for every hour I scan, file, or pretend to know how to use Microsoft Excel, and I don’t understand why. You never pay me on time, you always pawn the worst jobs off on me because you know I’m needy and eager to please, and you act like two weeks of database entry will be some sort of exciting challenge. I appreciate your enthusiasm, but let’s not pretend it’s like summiting Everest or, for that matter, what I actually want to do with my life.
And don’t think I haven’t cracked your special temp agency code. When you say “the people at this company will call a spade a spade,” you actually mean “these people are all dumb racists.” And when you say “they will expect a fast work pace,” you really mean, “no one will have the time to show you how to actually do your job, and will resent you for asking.”
I began to get suspicious of how much you cared about me after Truck Gate. You remember Truck Gate? When you put me in the admin department of a truck logistics company, and I called you from a service station crying because I started having panic attacks in the bathroom and couldn’t cope? You told me they might use blue language, but otherwise they were “nice people.” They were NOT nice people. Everyone hated each other, and when people left the room their co-workers would talk about how they were really fat and/or stupid and/or had ugly children. I soon developed a fear of leaving rooms. Plus they made fun of my photocopying, would not teach me how to speak truck, and made me drive a car I was not insured or able to drive. The blue language was the least of my worries. And when I left, one of you, in your singsong voice, confessed that your stepbrother had worked there and had said it was the worst time of his life. OFHIS LIFE.
You also don’t seem to give a shit about my human rights. You did nothing when I complained about that ridiculous toilet rule at that architecture firm. Every time I needed to use the toilet, I had to email some woman named Patsy, who would cover the reception area for me. Sometimes Patsy ignored me for hours. I would just sit there waiting for my bladder to explode, knowing Patsy was being paid for every minute of my discomfort.
And you could have warned me about the pro fucking bono counseling I would end up doing. I have had it up to here with senior staff confessing their deepest darkest secrets to me, and I have to show interest SO I AM NOT FIRED. They think because I am transitory they can tell me anything, like some talking garbage bin to dump their deep-seated regrets into. Do you know what these people do? They get out their poetry, they play me their music demos, they insist I feel how big their left boob is compared to their right and ask whether I think they should give it all up to become a lingerie model.
I long for temp work where I don’t start off thinking I could write a sitcom about it, but then decide I can’t because the sitcom would just be too sad. And the rate you pay is not only minimal, but it makes no sense! I received the same shitty hourly wage for copying numbers onto a spreadsheet and talking on Gchat as I did for holiday cover for a client service manager who brings in millions of revenue. Please don’t “challenge” me and make me earn the same as I did when I was hiding behind a computer and writing a film script, as when I was working through my lunch hour and convincing some woman named Louise that her 2.6 tons of steel would be in Scotland by Friday.
My time with you has sucked. I am now going to find another temp agency that will suck the lifeblood from me, but will hopefully at least be more upfront about it.