Thursday, November 30, 2006

Everybody Posts Their Resume, Right?

I went to a temp agency today because, well, we just moved and I need a little Christmas money and it seemed better than a job at the mall. I had to have a resume. So I dug up an old one and updated it.

The guy who is going to find me a job seemed to find it a little different than the resumes he usually sees. I think it might have been entries like this:

Shijiazhuang Teacher's College - Shijiazhuang, People's Republic of China 1988 - 1989

Foreign Expert
  • Taught Composition and Literature to Fourth Year students of English, and British and American Culture and History to Third Year students.
  • Oversaw graduate thesis, taught graduate course in Marxist and Feminist analysis.
  • Coached Intramural volleyball team.
Anyway, he was much happier when I explained that I was happy to do the usual stuff--answer phones, file. He had some fun ideas for other possibilities, now that he knows I'm just looking for something to do to make a little Christmas money.

I temped for years and years, first in New York, then in Ohio. It was kind of strange to be back in a temp agency. There's more paperwork than there used to be. I filled out forms on-line yesterday, then I went to the temp agency and filled out forms for another half and hour. Then I watched a video on putting my best face forward, workplace safety and how to fill out a time card. The reception area of the agency was busy. Four or five temp applicants, all dressed in what we thought of as appropriate temp wear. All relentlessly upbeat and energetic, and all hiding our nervousness with varying degrees of success. The agency people were busy, answering phones, dealing with pay check issues ('I'm sorry, we sent it out in the mail, yesterday. I know, I know, I'm sorry. I tell you what, we'll put a stop on the check and cut you another one and you can pick it up this afternoon?') Temps hand in time cards by Monday and get paid the following Friday.

I was a regular in places like this. I temped from a place in mid-town New York where if I didn't have a gig, I would go in on Mondays and sit from 8:00a.m. to 10:00a.m., available for a call from a company that needed a temp right now. I was always sent out. Back in those days I was the girl you could send. Expectations for temps are not particularly high, and I learned fast when I was younger. Give me a manual on a program like Word Perfect or Excel and I could churn out docs. Show me a little simple bookkeeping and I could do it. Data entry on someone's weird in-house data entry system, I could do that, too.

At one point I spent months as a bank's mortgage loan customer service. If you had a problem with your mortgage, you called--a temp. Not that people knew they were talking to a temp. I learned a lot about mortgages. The bank eventually closed. (It probably isn't a good strategy to use temps for customer service.)

So I'll update if I get any interesting work.


Blogger Christopher Barzak said...

I absolutely loved this entry. I hope you get something good. I can't wait to read about it.

December 01, 2006 12:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stumbled across this web site and spent the last hour reading. What fun! I've never read a blog before. I feel a bit like a peeping tom and in this case through an old window. It takes a lot of guts to open yourself up to the outside world. Not exactly like a Mr Baumgart after school rap session, but still pretty brave. I'm relieved to find out that something good came out of Loveland High School after all!

December 01, 2006 9:38 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Now, of course, I am trying to figure out who you are, anonymous. We were in 8th grade together and high school together...

December 01, 2006 11:38 PM  
Blogger meredith said...

I got a temp gig once. I was a month out of college, back in the early '90s when there were no jobs to be had and I didn't want to continue with academia. The agency sent me on exactly one assignment.

12 years later, I quit to do something I really loved instead. I guess I hit the temp jackpot!

Good luck finding some good temp work to make your Christmas money...

December 02, 2006 2:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just finished Mothers & Other Monsters (I got a signed copy!) and really enjoyed it. I only remember one Mother story from the Mr Baumgart rap sesssion days and it had to do with a trip to Hawaii and the rain, rain, rain. I guess those days were more about talking than listening. Best wishes for your upcoming novel!

March 10, 2007 12:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Great stuff, just found you by accident.
I am not sure everyone does post their resume.
I know as an employer I hate them.
They show me experience but not nessesarily the ability to actualy do the job. I have employed many with a great resume, but no ability and others who take lower jobs, shine when they are promoted.

Tony Robbins

May 07, 2007 1:00 PM  

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