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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Underground

I'm sorry about the radio silence as of late, but my blog time has been infringed upon by other duties as of late, most specifically by a job.

Yes, that is right. You're humble servant has had to rejoin the laboring classes just so that his family can keep its collective head above the waves for the time being.

As a writer, I am thinking of it as being something of a spy mission. I go out into the world masking my true vocation behind a facade of craven sophistication and collect impressions for projects yet to be thought of. Over the last several weeks I have temped as a glorified file clerk (one day), a glorified data entry maven (one day), and my current position, about which more later.

The first assignment was supposed to last for three months but came to a screeching halt after the lady in charge realized that I was a middle-aged white guy and not a 20-something girl suitable for bullying. The official reason given for my dismissal was that I wasn't outgoing enough, although, in my defense, there really aren't many chances for extended conversation with a filing cabinet. And, to make matters worse, I had been told by the rep at the temp agency to wear a suit, which turned out to be overkill. I think between the suit, the grey in my hair, and the overwhelming presence of my personality, my days were numbered as soon as I shook hands with the insecure bat who runs the place. Life's like that sometimes.

My next venture into the life of a double agent came a couple of mornings afterward when I got a desperate call at 8:30 in the morning asking me to fill in for someone who had called in sick, which is temp code for "I've got an interview for a real job today." The company involved researches jury behavior so that trial lawyers can better manipulate 12 citizens, loyal and true. I spent most of the day transcribing questionnaires completed by people who participated in a study for a pretty good fee. A decent experience, nice people and all, but this is a company that does something that is an abomination to our legal system. Nothing erodes our liberties quite as efficiently as the cynical pursuit of a dollar.

For my current assignment, I have had to go deep underground. Literally. I am working in a mailroom. I hand-deliver parcels and pick up outgoing mail. I may be called upon, at any time, to move furniture or help the founder's son park his boat. The air is dank and the light fluorescent in this man-made cave, and there are times when I could swear that I am developing moss on my northern side. Still it is honest work and my supervisor couldn't be nicer, and I get to spy on the cube moles and the blowfish in the offices and even get to glance at the executives on the top floor. Yes, even a cat can look at a king.

Meanwhile, especially since mailroom workers are not deemed responsible enough to have Internet access, there is little time for blogging. I have been working on a short story featuring Michael Drayton called "Something to Remember Her By" in my spare moments with pen and paper. Wednesday was a good day for it, but the others not so much. Who knows what the coming week will bring?

And in the meantime, it's all research. Sometimes it's good to go underground.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Despair not, for there are no small jobs, only microorganisms, or misspelled words to that effect.
Sounds like you are temping fate and as long as there is room for a pen, there are no days that are a complete waste, unless you count my job last Thursday.

Beau Recrat

avocadoinparadise said...

Very interesting post. I am doing the temping thing too, only because the place I'm working won't hire me for real. They have lots of excuses but I think it all boils down to greed. Employers suck!

Len said...

Ellocin:

(I left off the 1 because I believe that people should not be reduced to mere numbers. That's how liberal I am.)

Thanks for posting. Temping has its plusses and minuses, but it's suiting my needs for the time being. Temp agencies quite often charge buyout fees to client companies so they can take possession of the individual in question. (Any similarities to slavery are merely factual. I sing "My Old Kentucky Home" differently after having been sold down the river as a temp.) These fees often keep the employer from hiring an individual in. There may be an agreement in place whereby the the fee can be waived after a certain number of weeks of employment. Don't give up hope. Just remember to fight the power.

And anybody who uses a photo of a cat as their avatar is welcome here anytime.