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Archived Observation

While searching for a new receptionist to replace the one who unexpectedly quit, the company I work for was forced to hire a lot of temps, as no one seems to want to just answer phones, open mail and order office supplies for a living anymore, especially for under $30,000 a year. I just don't get kids today. When I was 20, 21, 23 years old, I was desperate for a job just like that, and as a matter of fact, I took a job just like that, just so I could have the semi-security of being employed somewhere. Now, what with all the success stories of the 20-something kids in Silicon Valley who are becoming millionaires practically overnight with their internet startup companies, people fresh out of college will consider an entry-level position only if it comes with an assurance that they will get a promotion within 3 – 6 months. So, since no one wanted the job, it was Temp City.

I personally never understood "career temps," people who do nothing but temporary work. I mean, I myself signed up with a temporary agency when I moved to San Francisco, mostly because I was terrified of not having any money to pay the rent and buy food, but it turned out to be a really shitty one that only gave me one assignment within a 30-day period, so I desperately turned to the want ads where I found my entry-level position.

The Bitter and Sullen Temp: Who, when asked if she was by any chance looking for a permanent position, frowned and abruptly replied: "No! I'm only going to be here for two days, right?" I wonder if her "I hate doing this shit" attitude has helped her fulfill her dreams of being a temp-for-life.

The Beyond Over-Qualified Temp: Constantly asked if there was any projects she could undertake. Was more professional than many of the current staff; was cheerful, polite, helpful and smart but didn't want the position permanently because she was "at an executive assistant level." This made me wonder why she was temping so much, because she was obviously qualified to get a permanent job anywhere she wanted at the drop of a hat.

The Confused 19-Year-Old Temp: The day she started, this one immediately started using the company's main internet account to respond to personal ads, discuss her lesbianism/girlfriend issues, and tell perfect strangers about her fantasy of being part of a threesome. I found it interesting that she misspelled such words "fantasy" ("fantacy"), "to" (used "too" where "to" should have been), and "broken" ("brocken") but managed to spell the word "masturbate" correctly. Did not have any office/business/workplace experience whatsoever, as evidenced by her tendency to transfer phone calls by voicing into a person's office and, to get their attention, repeating their name over and over again in a sing-song, little-girl voice.

The Completely Useless Temp: We had one temp who had absolutely no skills whatsoever aside from being able to pick up a telephone and make herself look pretty. She had absolutely no clue as to how to type or use Microsoft Word or Excel. Geez, why bother trying to find office-type work? Why not become a supermarket checker? Or a kept woman?

Finally, there was The New Receptionist:  Too young, too cheerful, and much too eager to please absolutely everyone. Yet another example of someone who cannot seem to figure out MS Word, and who was not even aware of the "Help" function (until I pointed out that it wasn't me.) What's the deal with not knowing simple word processing/spreadsheet programs? Call me overly anal, but the night before my first job interview, I actually studied Excel, just in case that I had to prove that I knew it. If this new apathetic and unknowledgeable bunch of kids represents our future, then maybe it's not such a bad thing, this Y2K world-ending theory.

Posted in Observations.

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