This is my third week of unemployment. There is always a little anxiety looming as I enjoy this time off. The accounts empty quickly when there’s no cash flowing in.

I view it this way: When do you have a chance like this - to take this much time off? What do you get - two or three weeks vacation? When are you ever able to take a big block of time off?

The resume is out there on Monster and Yahoo Hot Jobs. I had one really hopeful thing fall through, and then I got so busy getting ready for the move. I didn’t have time to search for jobs. I was getting a call or two a week for jobs up in DC, from Monster and Hot Jobs. There are so many companies doing business directly with the federal government in DC, so many jobs, but, duh, no thanks. I am done with DC - I have moved from there. I got random calls on my resume from random places. Seattle one time. Alabama. Maryland. But there is not a whole lot of interest in my stupid resume. I had this headhunter call me. That sounded hopeful. He said he’d send me on some interviews once I got myself situated down here. He’ll probably forget me.

I have no profession. That’s what I get for majoring in English. And getting shitty grades on top of that. And walking around college stoned all the time - even the career development center - zonked, looking through the job listings for English majors: PR specialist, communications coordinator, reporter, teacher, technical writer . . . fuck that shit, I would conclude, I’m gonna go pull some chokes and go skatin. How soon is happy hour?

I guess it will be time to hit the temp agencies soon. If I look at it the wrong way, that shit is so humiliating. I have to take the software test - Microsoft Office - fuck - I’ve taken it so many times, I know all the test problems, I blow the test away. The interviewer always wonders why I jump around so much. I have had up to eight W2 forms in one year. “Why’d you quit your last job?”

“Well the reason is . . . basically . . . well, to be honest, the reason is: fuck you. That is the reason. Any other questions? So when do I start?” And so you enter the company as a temp, and the people there refer to you as ‘the temp,’ even when you’re standing right there.

I started to immunize myself to the humiliation for a while there. I took pride in my freedom, my ability to piss all over my desk and boss and walk off a job and start a new one the next week. I also delude myself with the idea that I am like Barbara Ehrenreich, subjecting myself to various work situations just so I can study them and write about them. She was a writer before she was a waitress. She only worked as a waitress as part of her writing project. I have to take temp jobs because I truly need them to survive, not because I am conducting some experiment. She walked away from those shit jobs in the end.

I do indeed write about my work situations - in a disjointed kind of way - here on my blog - doing what I do here on my blog. I don’t always write reality, but I always write because of reality. I’m no pro writer. I’d like to go pro if I could write what I want - how I want to write it. But for now, I’m a fuckin temp worker with a costly blogging habit, selling booty for bandwidth. I was thinking that some day I would write a book called Temp, but some fucker has already beaten me to that idea. My book would be a little different, I think, but I wanted to call it that - just Temp. Her book has more to the title, so maybe I could still use Temp.

Temp agencies get you jobs you wouldn’t otherwise get. The jobs they have access to - you don’t see them in the paper. If you go into a temp agency with a well written resume, a creatively written resume, and you have an ostensibly positive attitude, they’ll give you the best job they have. They’ll do it fast. They usually offer me something within a few days. Many of the temp jobs I’ve worked have come with offers of a permanent position. It’s just that the permanent position looked pretty shitty to me. I don’t want it badly enough to commit my life to it. I don’t want it badly enough to sit there under some boss who is a complete asshole who will abuse me all the time. Fuck that shit. I’m free. I’m watching and learning and writing it all. Two or three people might even read it! I can always earn enough money to live on - what’s important is what I learn and my enlightenment and the stories. The stories are important.

I don’t know.

One time, when I was new at a company, somebody at the coffee machine asked me if I was a contractor. Even given this chance to fudge it a little, to lie a little and make myself look a little better just by swapping one silly designation for another, given this chance to make my position look a little more respectable, I still said, no, I am a temp. I’m going to go ahead and sound like a real cheesey fucker here and bust out with clichés: Temping is a state of mind. It’s a way of life, dude. It’s a philosophy. It’s a religion. Really, though, it is an indication of the type of person I am. I truly do not give a profound fuck about the particulars and intricacies of any business. The actual operations of the business could not possibly interest me. I am interested in the people - the stories of the people in the places where I work. The drama. I am interested generally in what companies do - the ways that they make people suffer or the drama that the company’s operations induce. I also appreciate the fact that the companies allow me to use their internet connections, to use their powers for good. I love being able to blog from work.

I just worked a permanent job for three years - the job I just quit. My favorite line, a line I have said here before, the line that was and continues to be the best definition of me as a worker, “I am a temporary worker who has obtained a permanent position, temporarily.” In a way we are all temp workers, because we . . . like . . . eventually die and shit.


Anonymous said...

Interesting website with a lot of resources and detailed explanations.

r's musings said...

Great rant about work, Bobby!