TEMP MAN FOR SALE OR RENT
TABLE OF CONTENTS
TWENTY YEARS OF INDUSTRIAL SALES
LIVING IN CUNNINGHAM HEIGHTS
On my own
The mystery of the shifting corvair.
The World's first cell phone
On the road to CEO
Naive moves on
We got bills to pay, toilet paper to buy
Perth Amboy High School
Bill The Carpenter Man
Sterno in the cafeteria
One job at a time
Joe loved the races
Handwriting on the wall
Two jobs were better than one
On the road again
Training in Chicago
Tony the Credenza
Rule #1: Don't mess with iron workers
Rule #2: Don't mess with iron workers
Don't degrease - let the paint slide off
Surrounded by fools
Let's make a deal
Bob the Hatchett
BERNARD FRANKLIN COMPANY
Good bye sweet house
W W CANNON COMPANY
A little short of the west coast.
Join the crowd
Wow - Europe for two
A new chariot
The new vice president - here's Lynn boy
Last year at Cannon
STARTING OVER IN TEXAS - AGAIN
Name it and claim it.
BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A MOWER
Flyers and entrepreneur hopefuls
Landscaping is safer
Too big for my britches
Oh my big toe
Can you fix this and this
What's a best friend for
Chevy Caprice dump truck
Leaves in the Fall
Man the dental mirror, clean those spots
Order pickin' man
Can you stay all night and all day?
MOM AND DAD AND PASTOR D
VIDEO TECHNICAL INSTITUTE - 2 MONTHS
Making office furniture
An introduction to Calvin and the devil
Frames and framing
The exploding car
Night shift life
Sprinkle in a little safety and some religion
Man the waste separator
Overcoming the zoo
Relief in a cage
Porter to the Amazons
Supp meal handler
Almost farewell to Cozumel
Strange happenings at the terminal
Working with the Morman kid
Carlos has a heart for romance
Join hands and visualize
Visualize this: loose the back pack
Ah, but 8 hours of punchin keys rents a 1st floor, 6 month lease
CIGNA INTRACORP ACCUMED
First American Real Estate Tax Service
Retrieval with Mary
MASTER OF THE SHORT TERM ASSIGMENT
VANSTAR - 2 MONTHS
THE ASSOCIATES - FILING - 1 MONTH
ADT - 1 MO
IBM - 1 WEEK - NOT UP TO THEIR STANDARDS
SHARP - 3 DAYS
THE BAR ASSOCIATION - 1 DAY
BARTON ASCHMAN - 1/2 DAY
I wondered if they had hourly assignments too.
KMPG PEAT MARWICK - 7 DAYS
ADT - RETURN ENGAGEMENT - 1 MONTH
I had some experience with soldering and electronic schematics. So I enjoyed doing this work.
KODAK, THE IMAGE BANK - 6 MONTHS
Keep it to yourself
Replaced by [Ctrl][Print Scrn]
THE ASSOCIATES - 1 DAY - HATLESS
CIGNA - 2 DAYS
EMC MORTGAGE - 2 WEEKS OF COPYING
SEARS - 1/2 DAY FOLDING UNDERWEAR
THE ASSOCIATES - 4 DAYS - 3 DIFFERENT TIME CLOCKS
AVIALL - OVERHEARD - TWISTED AND OUT THE DOOR - 1 MO
MENTOR - TRASH DATA ENTRY - BUSINESS CASUAL - 2 DAYS
LIBERTY MUTUAL - SORT & FILE - 2 WEEKS
EQUIFAX 1 MO COPYING
GTE SUPPLY - GENERAL OFFICE - 5 days
Foundation House - 1/2 day
Gintell - 1/2 day
Olsten Care - 1 week
There was no place for me to do my work. So they jammed an ancient wood desk which had no drawer bottoms into the entrance to the linen closet. I had to climb over the desk into the closet and sit in an old broken wooden swivel everytime I had to get up. People came to the closet for linens which I handed out in between the clerical work. No brainer work. Finished in one week.
GTE - 4 days moving files. The supervisor couldn't make up her mind on anything. I did as much as I could and ended the assignment. I was called by another Temp Agency desperate to send someone to help this poor indecisive soul. No one would stay on the job. I preferred sanity.
Iron Mountain - 1 week.
Define a short term assignment:
Filing in a dark warehouse, using hospital filing system, on rickity ladders with a lefthanded layout.
Motorola - 1 mo - repairing beepers.
We received instant training. Hard time getting up to speed. Some of my coworkers were pretty adept at meeting daily quota. The supervisors were kind to me and when I didn't make the cut, they kept me on 'til the light went on upstairs. It went on and my production increased dramatically. I became the leader in my group until that fatal day....
They brought in safety glasses to wear after 3 weeks of doing the work. We had to put them on that day or be terminated. I did the best I could but they wouldn't fit over my glasses. I couldn't see well enough to do the job without my eyeglasses. They didn't have safety goggles. Want your beeper fixed?
GREENWICH - 1 DAY
ALLSTATE - 2 DAYS
I got there on time and waited 4 hours for my supervisor to bring me into the office. It was detailed data entry work, but I wasn't allowed to take notes. Each question was a serious annoyance. One too many questions and I was shown the door. She said she was real upset that her assistant broke her leg and deserted her.
Moore Business Forms - 3 mo
I replaced a woman on maternity leave. She was one of the few trainers who gave detailed step by step instructions. The job was facilitated by her sweet, patient personality so it went smoothly. She came back 3 months later after giving birth to a healthy baby girl. I learned more about importing files into Excel.
CARSON BROOKS - TRANSCRIPTION - 1 DAY
KELLY PAYROLL - PAYROLL - 3 MONTHS - PART TIME
Data entry upgrade. Had to find something with full time hours. Tough to eat on part time wages.
BANK ONE - GENERAL OFFICE - 2 MONTHS
The work was a piece of cake. So they gave me the time consuming task of printing out signature cards for the file when I was done with the regular work. It took 4 to 5 minutes to print one card. I sat at a location with three unoccupied PC's so I turned them all on and starting printing out a card a minute. That was fun.
National Auto Funding - 2 mo
I was diligent and a 2 week assignment was s t r e t c h e d to 2 months so I could do some spreadsheet work for several of the salesmen.
STEELCASE IS FOR THE BIRDS - 1 DAY
Three of us were sent to do warehouse work. We were a constant annoyance to our supervisor. We worked well together and too fast. We came over to him for more work. He told us to get lost in an unfriendly way. He came over and yelled, "What're you guys doin' hanging around back here. Get busy." I asked him for something else to do. He gave us something we would finish in ten minutes. This was the pattern 'til lunch time. One of our crew took a one way trip to lunch. "No point puttin' up with this," he said on the way out.
I asked Master Supervisor an innocent question, "Where's the breakroom?" He said, "You won't be able to go to the breakroom. You gotta go somewhere else." I thought he meant it'd be too crowded. My naive kicked in.
I went to a corner of the warehouse and found an old dusty table with three legs and an attack bird. A couple of boxes, quick dusting, a crate to sit on and I was good to go. The view was a pretty picture - literally: the picture window looking into the breakroom. It was large, clean, uncrowded and had a soda machine - full of nice tables and chairs. A bird, just then, swooped down at my head. It kept at it every 30 seconds, banging into the window above. I wondered why it never found it's way out the big bay doors. Maybe it was just after my sandwich. It came pretty close.
Thought I'd test Master Supervisor's edict to stay out of the break room. So I went through the breakroom door and headed to the soda machine. He was waiting for me like a gunslinger at high noon.
"I tol' ya, y'cain't come in heah!."
"I'm jus' gettin' a sodee pop, pardner", I said.
"Wahl, hurrin' it on up & git!", he said.
Soda in hand I departed the breakroom, walked through the warbird's territory and went outside. I ate my lunch on the back stairway. After lunch, I took my partner's cue and excused myself with "Master Supervisor" and joined the ranks of the unempoyed. He grunted.
SKYWAY FREIGHT - 2 DAYS
Move it - move it - move it, done. Several trucks had electronics gear jammed to the doors - all hand loaded. So it had to be unloaded by hand. Only trouble here was one young temp kept throwing monitors in the air to me instead of handing them to me gently. If I dropped one it was my paycheck. Management solved that problem quickly. The kid gave a bad name to temps.
CVC - COPYING - 2 DAYS
FIRST PLUS MORTGAGE - FILING - 2 MONTHS
There were dozens of boxes to open up and "millions" of papers to file. Sorting was an unknown commodity, everyone just filed one paper at a time. I started sorting like a good little temp. Everyone followed suit and production increased geometrically. The manager encouraged me but the supervisor kicked the sorting piles onto the floor in a snow flurry of paper. I found some carts with compartments in them, and used them to sort. She'd break her foot kicking that. The work started to progress like we might even finish in this century. There were several on our crew who chose not to sort, and some chose not to work at all. One guy always seemed to disappear when he showed up and reappear when it was time to go home. I had some filing to do one day in the back row and found him under a pile of papers, checking his eyelids for holes. I figured the manager would discover this sooner or later, and he did. The paid nap ceased when he stumbled out the door and never came back. A woman had a better idea, she picked up a paper and brought it to the back row and stared at it all day so it looked like she was working. Her only problem was that she kept talking to the paper. She had a sad story about her son dying in jail while she read her bible and determined that reading the bible too much was the cause of the death. When she discovered I read my bible every day, she threatened to kill me. The work was approaching completion so I decided that discretion was the better part of valor, especially with the hostile tone the workplace was taking. I was beginning to enjoy firing myself.
THE ASSOCIATES - DATA ENTRY - 2 MONTHS
LAST CHANCE TO MAKE GOOD AT THE ASSOCIATES
Cindy was just about due for delivery. We worked well together in that cramped little office. I brought boxes of work in for the expectant mom so she didn't have to lift anything. She was a patient teacher. I discovered a shortcut macro that speeded up the entry process. My supervisor had me train all the others on the macro thing. Work went well with everyone. Cindy went on maternity leave and in came 'country girl'.
The temp queen from country land took over our little office and me. Things went south when I decided arbitrarily to eat lunch by myself. She demanded I cease bringing in boxes of work to do. She had trouble getting around with her spike heels and petticoat/dresses. I could only bring in an armful of files at a time now. She insisted on playing continuous country music loud. When I turned down her radio when she wasn't working in the office, she went ballistic and complained I was touching her personal property. She took work off my desk and keyed it in, instead of filing in the filing room. All this on medication and karpal tunnel in both arms. Her doctor said no keyboard. What did supervisor, Jan, have to say about this: "Don't bring in boxes of work into your office anymore. Leave her personal property alone, get along with her or you will be dismissed. If more complaints come out of that office, you're gone." Jan had bragged about what a good find I was to the manager across the way who had fired me for wearing a hat. I was offered a permanent position there. I took the one out the door. Jan complained to the temp agency that I had no good reason to leave - there was still work left to do. You can't win for losing.
SW BELL MOBILE - HALE BOP OR BUST - 10 DAYS
Data entry work. About the time the news hit about the Hale Bop comet going by, I started this assignment. Some guy noticed me doing my homework in the breakroom at lunch and asked what the subject was. The word bible came up in the conversation and the room became silent.
A couple of days later, a group of people in California poisoned themselves to death in the hopes of ascending up to eternal life in an imagined space ship in the tail of the comet. It made the front page. My coworker was aghast at the headlines and asked me, "How could someone convince so many people to do this?" My answer had the word "bible" in it and "Jesus Christ" as the only Way, Truth and only through Him was eternal life. I was called aside by my supervisor. I was not permitted to have religious discussions within the confines of the company - from the curb to the break room. She reported what I said in the breakroom at lunch time. I noted that general conversations were going on all the time about all kinds of subjects - some a bit crude and sexually explicit. I was summarily dismissed. The Rutherford Institute seriously considered my case but they declined to proceed because my next assignment was a $1.00 pay raise.
NEC - 2 yrs, 4 mo - Temp or contractor??
I learned a lot at NEC. Employees called it Never Ending Change. My duties rapidly expanded from simple data entry to managing the Spec library. I found hundreds of specs missing in the data base index. With the training I received in writing simple routines in Data Base, I was able to reinstate them. Actually, when I started to learn DBase beyond simple commands, Denise became hesitant to teach me any more. Trial and error, code books and outside help and I was able to set up an entire DBase site to do the tasks I was assigned to do.
Cube life there was interesting. Several of my neighbors never spoke a word to me for more than a year. We often brushed shoulders but never a kind word was offered - they never made eye contact either.
When our department was moved to another aisle, the silent treatment ceased and they opened up for some reason.
Our new neighbors were engineers from the Audio/Visual group. I began helping them write specifications and do product drawings. Now that was fun. One time I secured a digital camera and they took me to the factory that manufactured the new diagnostics cabinet. I took pictures of it empty and snuck a few of the engineer for good measure. Then I took more shots of the equipment that was to be installed inside the cabinet. The trick was to copy/paste it all together in an assembly format and then mess with the pixels to make it all flow together. My first try failed: I put the engineer's picture in the cabinet, instead of the equipment. Good for a few laughts. Try number two is still probably being used by engineers around the country.
WORKING WITH THE PIX
Denise often asked me to do special favors. Homework for her kids, entertain her little boy when he spent the day at work. One time I put a picture of a dead uncle in a recent family photo for her. I put him behind some guy sitting on a stool with his forearm resting on the man's shoulder. It really freaked a few of Denise's family out - the ghost of Uncle Charlie is still joining in family reunions.
SO LONG DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE WAY OUT
The assignment ended just about the time we were to move into a new building and an engineeer was brought in to take over my expanded duties. I thought he was going to do his own thing for a while. But he kept taking what I did and redoing it and putting his name on it. My pay rate did increase by $1.00. I wondered how they got around the max 60 day temp rule and kept me on for 3 1/2 years.
LAST DAYS IN TEXAS
RAPP COLLINS - 1 DAY
XEROX SINGING MONSTRESS - 3 MONTHS, 10 DAYS
Data entry in concert. One of my temp co-workers sang to "spiritual" music at the top of her lungs as she listened to it on her CD player - non-stop!! No amount of wax ear plugs could block out those shrill notes. It made the keys jump off my keyboard. I wished she were at least a bit more talented and did not work right next to me. She was deeply and self-righteously offended when I asked her to tone it down. No amount of complaining worked - even to supervisors. She was on a spiritual journey. My nerves were on edge, and I couldn't concentrate on my work. So I joined in. The joint went silent. I was dismissed. As I packed up my things, I said, "If you get her to stop singing, you won't hear a peep out of me." They considered my productivity and reconsidered. Miss Spiritual worked one more day without singing and quit. She parted with some kind of comment about me being spiritually dead.
LET'S GO TO FLORIDA - NO SENSE IN STRAIGHTENING OUT MY RECORD IN TEXAS
CLERKWERK FOR TEMPJERK
Donna was a good trainor. Font sizes were microscopic, but I managed through repetition and Donna's patience. I was on my own in Corporate America's basement. It was me and 14 women in Cash and Sales. Lucy sat to my right ready to pounce on any attempt to be sociable. We sat in a cramped carrel set-up. My right elbow blocked Lucy's desk drawer. Deoderant was a good thing. Cathy sat behind me critiquing my every move. And Anita and Jill were just over the hill on the other side of my partition wall waiting in the bushes to pounce on me as the mood struck them. There was the distinct smell of territorial war in the air. The only friend in the place was to my left, the aisle.
Trap # one:
Don't hit [ENTER] 'til you get to the bottom of the screen.
When it came time to print out the "Exception Report", if you hit [ENTER] instead of [TAB] before you got to the bottom of the screen you printed out 50,000 pages and shut down the main frame.
Why they didn't fix this problem is a mystery. There were so many things to remember. It was inevitable! I was one millisecond too late one day. There goes another tree.
Anita sent me to the Main Frame room on the second floor and they did damage control. So it was only a small tree. 40 minutes downtime. I devised the habit of taking my right hand off the keyboard when that critical screen came up. When I was moved to another task, a lady from Maine resisted everything I showed her, including this safety trick. She walked out when another tree was destroyed. I always had difficulty with people from Maine. Wonder if it was all them podatos.
WE DON'T NEED TO CHANGE THE FILES
That's what coordinator and chief adversary Jill said. But I had 48" of filing to do every week, starting on Wednesday!!! They laid off the two women that did the job when Gisella saw that I was doing my job so well. 15 yards for piling on!! Oh, he's the temp, no problem.
So here I am home alone. If you wanted to define the word chaos, go into those files. Not a single tab was readily visible. Labels were illegible scrawl in fine point. The drawers were jambed to the hilt. Everyone complained - especially from other departments. They couldn't find anything. When they did it was too late - filing always dragged behind the time the information was needed.
I borrowed from here and there, mainly idle equipment from departments that were moved to Utah. I gathered a supply of pendaflex, file folders, label holders and file cabinets. I keyed in labels on my PC and began at the beginning. Jill said resistance was futile - I was wasting my time. And she warned me that I better not be doing this at the expense of something else. I was used to getting no help and attacked from the Borg.
I utilized the magic of "down time" to do my new filing thing instead of dragging things out. One drawer at a time, staggering the labels on pendaflex folders. Papers in the folders stood straight up and neat. You could see labels for "miles". I got instant positive feedback.
Rumors spread that there was someone who could get something done around here. This was passed on to Scott, my new manager, who was just hired to relieve Gisella from her overload. He was my buddy at first. He directed me to recommend new files to replace the beat up, mismatched ones we were using. They arrived - five brand new, 5 drawer, lateral files in matching tan color. Maintenance threatened to become my instant enemy unless I set them up myself and moved out the old ones to who knows where. They were miffed at having to unload these monsters and bring them to Sales and Cash. Remember, I'm Bob the Temp, new guy on the block. What do I know? They were heavy and bulky. They left me alone to the task. I did my usual foraging and came up with a hand truck and some tools. At least Ron in maintenance was willing to loan me some tools to do his work for him. A brilliant idea came to me too. Use the best of the old files to help other people out, especially Lucy who hated every breath I took. Her coupon files were a mess and Gisella asked me if I could do something about them. When I did she was flabbergasted because she had been so mean spirited to me from day one. She backed off the mean stuff, even gave me a ride to Tampa.
All the files transformed into something beautiful. Ecstasy was once more restored to Eckerd. I made some instant friends in other departments. I saved them a lot of time researching by simply making files available promptly. I also triggered some adversaries into active pursuit, especially the Borg. You wonder what makes people so mean spirited and bitter.
ACTING COORDINATOR TO REVAMP THE WAREHOUSE
But relief was on the way. Scott proposed I tackle the receipts warehouse. He offered me the position of Acting Coordinator, no pay raise, (there we go again), or else the street. Someone permanent had applied for my position so it was his way or the highway. I was forced to train her first. Then I had to become popular with everyone that I was to deal with in the new position. It was a temporary one but if I performed a miracle I would be guaranteed the position full time. now where have I heard that before.
ENERGY DEPT BILLING TURNS UGLY
MID-ATLANTIC - no chairs, no desk, how are you doing
INCOME4 SURVEYS - bedroom setup, noisy bird, illegal spamming shut-down
Can you handle tracking warranty work and answering the phones? I'm the man.
I had to use my own beach chair the first day. No chair, no desk no phone was set aside for me to use!
Temp man for sale or rent, jobs to let low percent
No chair, no desk, no phone, I'm back here all alone.
Ah, but 8 hours of jumpin' up, gets a mean ol' argument
I'm a man of means by no means, king of the temps.
I could use a saleman's desk two days a week to answer the phone. It was set right under a picture window peering into the owner's office. I could see every move he made, and vice versa. No curtains on either side - wierd!
The other three days I had no place to sit. I used a small shipping cabinet with a slide out shelf, 6 feet from the wall mounted phone in the warehouse - when it wasn't occupied. Other times I just wandered around looking for a place to plant myself. I finally borrowed one of the side chairs in the front entrance. No one really bothered to provide anything for me to work with. I was situated all by myself all day in the warehouse. Sorta like solitary confinement.Everyone else had a desk, chair and phone in the office area.
I had to answer the phone on the first ring. That was tough, seated in a chair 6 feet away with the phone on the wall. Greg liked to race me to it from his desk to keep me on my toes. When he beat me, he let me know about it. It didn't help my back any to keep jerking out of my chair to catch the phone before the second ring.
Customers were argumentative about telling me who they were. Greg lectured me on not getting me their names and purpose for calling. I noticed that no one else asked who was calling. They just said, "Greg, call on line 2". I had to give full name and reason for calling. Many callers became incensed because I didn't recognize their voice - especially the owner's wife, even on her first call! She often insisted I interrupt Tom's phone calls to patch her in - on trivial matters. He did not like me doing that. This was going down hill fast. Everytime I answered the phone, it created a problem. Once again I was being set up.
The warranty work was a piece of cake so the owner Tom made sure I was kept busy with gorilla work. I didn't mind doing the accounting spread sheet work or organizing the brochure display; but I did injure my back carrying up heavy boxes over the mezzanine railing. Dangerous to say the least, climbing over on the railing overhead with 50 lbs of paper. I drew the line on gorilla work after this and they took a dim view of my not helping out unloading delivery trucks and doing extensive lifting in the warehouse. Everyday I brought ice and put on my back to relieve the constant pain. There was no empathy.
I ended up terminated and on workman's comp.
NOAA FISHERIES -
It's official, I have now worked for the government. I've heard the expression, "Good enuf for gubment work". Now I know what that means.
Kevin and I were brought in to key data in a new Oracle data base designed in Washington to replace the antiquated R Base. Big problem here: the 9th law of thermodynamics: government workers do not like change.
We keyed data in for months and then the crash verdict halted our reason for being. No one was happy with the change anyway. Programmers do not interface well with people, here especially. Oracle was a bust, maybe a redo. We were redirected to work phones and help with the fishing permit work. That' when I got in the main loop between a rock and a hard place with warring personalities. Everything gets complicated and mean spirited when it sifts through government hands.
Temp man for me right now, time to share as they allow.
No phone, no food, no fret, I got but one benefit
Ah, but one lifetime of sharin' faith, gets
Im a man of means by no means, king of the temps
Third signment daytime shift, destination 3rd floor lift
Old worn out suit and shoes, dont pay no surance dues
Sup' visors I have found, short 'n all too big around
I'm a man of means by no means, king of the temps
Ive done er' temp job in every town
Whatever the job needs without a frown
'N every kind of work Im renown
'N every one day signment I am found
I sing... (first verse above)