16. September 2005 · Comments Off on The Ongoing Quest for Gainful Employment #5 · Categories: General, Home Front, Working In A Salt Mine...

The goal, that shimmering Holy Grail of regular, well-paid and gainful employment still tantalizes, and is, alas, as elusive as ever, although I have to say at least I have been smarter than Barbara Ehrenreich, and have not been so foolish as to actually pay anyone to coach or workshop me into it. I have been temping, for much of last month, courtesy of a major national temp agency. That would be the legitimate sort of agency, which screens, tests, and guarantees a degree of proficiency in the employees they supply on short notice to employers who don’t want to bother with doing all that themselves.

I enjoyed the last assignment enormously (all but the commute to the job site which was brutal!), practiced some useful skills, and made myself indispensable for three weeks— just long enough to not get bored. One of the other agencies had a follow-on assignment that was supposed to start today, working at the front desk of the corporate HQ for one of our local business magnates for a month or six weeks, but they wanted to have a quick meeting with me first, or so said the agency rep; “They love your resume,” they said, “They just want to meet you first.” Well, I’m OK with that— make sure I am not a bag lady, or have two heads, or whatever— very important to make that good first impression, when a client walks in the door. I arranged to meet them on Monday, expecting to begin training with the person I’ll be replacing on Friday.

You know the old joke about how to tell if you are working class, middle-class or rich? If your name is on your shirt, you’re working class. If it’s on your desk, middle-class. When you’re rich, your name is on the building. This guys name was on the building. I was impressed, so I hid the VEV in the very darkest spot in the visitor section of the parking garage.
Unfortunately, what I thought was just a pre-employment meeting turned out to be a regular job-type-interview, which kind of takes away the advantage of working with a temp agency, you’d think… that, and the fact they hired someone else and took until Thursday morning to inform the agency. And that meant three days that I didn’t use to pursue other openings… and jobs I may have missed out on. Agencies usually make it very, very clear when you are interviewing for a prospective position, and when you are assigned to show up and start to work for three weeks, four weeks or whatever. Annoyed, am I? Yes, slightly.

I am interviewing at two more agencies early next week, and being processed by a third one to work at another huge corporate establishment, so we’ll see what comes up first. Being on the books of five different agencies ought to guarantee a lock on anything interesting available in the administrative assistant/executive secretary line, one would think. Maybe I should loan Barbara Ehrenreich my resume.

I’m tired of being around the house, and running out of projects to do; I’ve already painted the kitchen cabinets and put in new shelf-paper. Blondie says I should clear out the garage, but a third of the stuff in there is hers, for her prospective student apartment. It’s still too hot to work in the garden, and nothing on tap to date from Joe’s editor friend is anything I am qualified to write about. So I sit at the computer and send my resume whirling out into cyberspace, hoping that somewhere out there is something worth putting on my whole interview drag for. In the long run, we are all temping— just some of them are longer assignments than others.

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