Mar 25, 2011

Gives meaning to "temporary"

I get it.  I really do.  I have been there.  I've had the best of times; I've had the worst of the worst of times. 

I'm talking about internships... and temps.

Let me take that back.  I've never been a temp.  But man, I know exactly what not to do after training these few.

Our job is this: greet guests, answer a million phone lines and transfer them accordingly, book meetings, keep everything stocked in the kitchen and supply closet, etc..  Fairly simple.  It takes some effort, but it's not rocket science.  After my colleague got promoted last week, we were left without someone to cover her desk, so we thus had to hire a temp.

Our first one was sweet enough, but seemed timid.  I gave her the benefit of the doubt until she asked me where the save button was in Microsoft Excel.  I mean, REALLY?  I'm not tooting my own horn because I know other people will say the same -- I've been using Microsoft Office since, I don't know, I was 13?  Maybe even before?  Actually, I have proof -- I have a Word document on my computer from 4th grade when I wrote a Spice Girls-oriented magazine.  It's not. that. hard.

Turns out girlfriend was only 19, but she's going to have problems beyond her young age.  (Granted, I don't know her personal situation, if she's ever had access to a computer, whatever -- but if you are going to work in an office, it's assumed you know how to work with these programs, yeah?)

I've learned so much about people and my boss since the vacancy popped up.  Every time he tells me to tell them something, I say, "I'm not their boss," and he says, "Like hell you aren't!"  So he's been giving me a lesson in management -- and quick.  Yes, my resume says I was a manager of a spa and salon.  This is the truth.  But I've only had one talk where I had to sit down with someone and be like, "Hey, this isn't going to work out.  See ya." (With more tact, of course.)  Wednesday, we're blew through temp number two, all at my own disposal.  It's kind of terrifying and empowering, but trust me, I'm the biggest cheerleader for newbies because I sooooo remember how terrible it was working at a corporate agency, not knowing anyone, and not being offered any help or sympathy.

Really.  I do know this.  It was the summer before my senior year and for three months of hell I worked at a place that I should I have been thrilled about, but wasn't.  I had just endured the whole MTV fiasco (you can find it somewhere on this blog) and had to settle for a bummer, albeit paid, internship.  When I started my first day, my super(visor) didn't even come by my desk to introduce herself.  I don't even remember how I found my desk.  But a mere four hours later she gave me a quick "Hey!" before I was off to lunch by myself.

About four week into my misery, I was transferred to another department because their intern's dad worked in real estsate and it was a conflict of interest, so they swapped us out.  I was excited, thinking I may get actual tasks and feel responsible, but instead I was handed over to what might be the literal Satan of bosses.  She looked like Angela from The Office with brown hair and even kind of talked like her (but that didn't make her Satan).  She also had just bought a Hummer admist our national economic downturn because "It was pretty!" and she liked big cars.  She arrived notoriously late every day (something that was frowned upon) and when I was practicing my intern presentation to her, she critiqued my clothes instead of my subject matter.  I wish I was kidding.

The sh*t hit the fan when one of my intern comrades overheard her talking to her boss about me -- and badly -- in front of an entire group of people.  This was after I had yet ANOTHER meeting about my intern presentation.  They told me that I needed to not present on the topic I was interested in learning about -- celebrity branding -- but I should do something towards the likes of "What I learned at ____ ____ _____."  To clarify, I learned that most interns that weren't in the publicity department hated this gig, that my boss was a first class idiot, and that instead of having any class or wit about them, my supervisors were really 13-year-old girls disguised as distinguished account executives.  How do you like them apples?

So once I realized my boss had no consideration for me,  I went to HR immediately and told of all the crap she pulled that summer and notified the intern coordinator, who said he was going to have a chat with them about their "disrespect" and to give him a call so we could follow up after my internship ended.

I never did.

SO yeah, I really empathize with the interns and temps.  I told my boss I'd like to do an introduction for everyone, make them a packet to get them started off on the right foot, and if anything they'd have a face in the company to come to when they were desperate.  All went off without a hitch.  And for the most part, our interns are fabulous.  We have a ton -- around 30 or so.   But then we get a few duds and it's like... how are you still in college getting a degree with this lack of common sense?  I have one that calls me every day explaining who she is.  I don't have short term memory loss.   She also asks me if certain people work for us, when she has a phone list to consult. 

This leads me to our recently booted temp: come on, girlfriend!  It takes seriously two minutes to scan a phone list and get familiar with some of the names.  She calls me at least three times an hour asking if so-and-so works here and what their extension is.  While I enjoy being a 411 operator, you can take a gander at that sheet of paper with all the pretty numbers on it!  Not hard!

She also had been calling my boss the wrong name for three days straight.  At first she didn't even know his name.  "Some guy came over here and went in the closet."  You mean... your boss?  The guy that is going to sign your paysheet?  The one you met upon arrival?  She showed up an hour late her first day because her alarm didn't go off, and on her last day (she didn't know it was) she informed me that she had a court hearing at 10:45 the next day -- will Nick (real name: Mark) have a problem with her leaving?  Nope.  Not to all.  'Cause ya ain't coming back, sister.

I know the job can be stressful, but instead of answering a question with "I don't know, I'm just a temp," why try something like, "I'm not positive, I'm new, but I can find out the answer!"  And then call me.  Is it really that hard?  Is it? I need answers.

Needless to say I'm working a lot harder and have a better appreciation for diligent people with common sense.

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