Yesterday after quitting my easy-come easy-go blue-collar pseudo-factory scam-op job, I went to a temp agency to take all their silly tests.  I lamented having to spend yet another 3 hours filling out these tests (which test if you can use MS Word, Excel, how fast you type, etc.; although the tests and keyboards are always slightly different, I consistently score over 75 wpm and 8000 for alphanumeric data entry) since I fill them out every few months for a different temp company, hoping to one day be placed in some position, although I never am placed anywhere.  It seems like the tests should be standardized and that different temp services should be able to access the same scores. But no– that would be too simple.  If there’s anything temp services can’t handle, it’s simple organization.

Anyway, I was making the mistake one should never make during typing tests, that is, reading the text provided.  It’s much faster to capture the text like an image and spit it back out with one’s fingers rapidly (this will get you 90 wpm)– for god’s sake, don’t try to edit it (this will give you downwards of 60 wpm, as many of my friends have found when they get stumped by the grammar of the passages).  So I was reading the text, which was about finding a job.  This is usually what the temp agency typing tests texts cover– how to interview or how to make a resume or some other job-related wisdom.  This text was a particular gem though, because it started out:

The first step to finding a job is to determine what you want out of life.

What the fuck? The first step is to determine what you want out of life? I don’t think so! Who ever really determines what they want out of life? I want a fucking job that pays my fucking bills and allows me to eat out and buy new clothes once in awhile– maybe $30k/yr with benefits (in Buffalo… in other cities I might desire better pay, although at this rate I certainly have no hope of receiving it).


About Jessica Smith

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9 Responses to Temp

  1. Let me know when you want that info for tutoring online at Smarthinking. A whole $11/hour, and all from the comfort of your home, and usually at a schedule you set for yourself. It sucks, but less than other things suck. As you know, the possibilities for sucky jobs are endless!

    You know my usual Lorraine advice: all employment sucks. In fact, it’s all pretty much unbearable, but since there’s no alternative for most of us, we do it so that we can do other things. However, I can attest that the more you do it (the employment, not the other things), the more doable it becomes. I can wake up at 6:15 now without an alarm.

  2. Hm. I am pretty sure I don’t have the self-discipline to do that. I will try to teach for an online college this fall, but SmartThinking a) takes a long time to respond, apparently; and b) perhaps takes more self-discipline than I have. I have tried other online jobs and just not had the patience to sit down and concentrate on them. It’s better for me to have to go in to an office.

    I do still have my job at the Buffalo Philharmonic, I’m just looking for extra employment for a few weeks– which would seem like the thing Temp Agencies specialize in. The Philharmonic is not a sucky job at all. It’s possibly the most fun and rewarding job I’ve ever had, and definitely the most lucrative per-hour.

  3. It’s good to see you happy, even in the face of my relentless, stubborn job-cynicism ; )

  4. Matt says:

    Ha…the first step, huh? That’s like saying the first step to buying a mansion is to acquire great wealth.

    I think I might have seen that same test, btw…

  5. Lydia says:

    Your last paragraph got a laugh out of me, but overall this post brings back horrid memories of my work life. All those tests, oh god, my fingers used to turn to butter on the keys. What a meat market. I applied at a private employment agency in Portland, OR, during my lunch hour from a miserable position one year for a “front desk” job, and while I was taking their tests I heard one of the “counselors” comment on my “poor clothing.” Great for the self-esteem. Another thing that temp services can’t handle, besides organization, is competition. That’s why they won’t share test results. They are fierce and nasty in their need to exploit you.

    God, if something happened to my marriage I’d be back where you are, only at 57 and beyond. What a horror. I know that doesn’t sound very feminist of me, but I’ve paid my dues with decades of employment and I don’t miss the rat-race.

    I’ll meditate on your situation and maybe that’ll help nudge the universe in your favor. You deserve so much better than this worry.

  6. todd says:

    Yep, that last paragraph is perfect.

  7. Pirooz says:

    Hi Jessica,

    I am in Pittsford. I will come up and visit when you like.

    Los Angeles is a pretty fun city. There are always possibilities.

  8. muse says:

    i love you.

  9. @pirooz yay! what are you doing this weekend? wanna go wine-tasting?

    @muse i love you, too.

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