Administration Appreciation Association

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Apparently it is Administration Appreciation week, so grab your Assistant, grab your Receptionist and give them a big ol’ smooch on the facial area (don’t do that – HR will have to have a serious talk with you about boundaries, and there’s too much shit to catch up on facebook!) and tell them “hey there sweet cheeks, (don’t call them sweet cheeks) thanks for being awesome!”

Today I was invited to a luncheon held by the Temp agency that supported my (meager) lifestyle for a year and a bit (I refuse to say year and a half, it was a year and a bit OKAY!?). The luncheon was held to say thanks to all us Tempies (my word, not theirs) for everything that we do. There was a selection of free sandwich’s, cubed Canadian style cheese (which is very orange for some reason) desserts (goodbye diet) and little gift bags which contained a notepad, sticky notes and a free pen. To enter this hallowed luncheon, I first had to scribble my name on a name tag (can we take a second to talk about how awful name tags are for girls with big boobs…like where are they supposed to stick?! And WHY do they always curl at the edges and threaten to fall off?! Who invented this godawful contraption, I’d like a word), scrumple it up because my handwriting is worse than a left-handed blind guy, and re-write it smaller and not as disgustingly.

I entered the inner sanctum and mingled with other people who are on the Temp trail. I recognized a few faces here and there (people I’d worked with at various places) and was struck by the ratio of women to men. I think there were 2 dudes out of a possible 40 people in the room, who didn’t work for the organization itself.

There were two distinct age groups, the under 28’s and the over 45’s. And I heard a lot of accents, a couple Aussies like me, plenty of people who broke out into Spanish after a few exchanged sentences, and a hybrid of United Kingdom-style accents.

So who is drawn to Temping?

People like me, who struggled to find jobs and people returning to the work force after a break maybe?

There are pro’s and con’s to the Temp gig.

Con:
Unreliable hours = unreliable take home pay. – Some weeks you work every day from 8-6 with an unpaid lunch hour in between. Some weeks you’ll work a half day from 9-12 and that is it for the week. It is a hard way to live, makes it hard to budget, makes it hard to plan.

Pro:
A sneak-peak into multiple companies without the full-time contractual commitment. Would you want to work in an office like this, that, the other. Would you be interested in a certain industry you’d never thought of before? What kind of vibe would be perfect for you? And on top of that – flexibility to up and take off on vacation whenever you want! None of this 2 weeks a year B.S… you don’t have much money to do that (see above) but still…flexible! Yay-yeah.

Does Google have a TV department!?

Does Google have a TV department!?

Con:
Always being “The Temp” and five steps behind. “Where are there batteries for my mouse which just died?” “Where does XYZ sit?” “How do I fix the coffee machine?” – If you’re Temping it’s not because you’re a fucking idiot (I mean… maybe you are) you are smart enough to operate a computer and answer a phone (presumably) but you constantly feel like a moron because you can’t answer simple questions.

on the flip side:

Pro:
You are not held accountable for shit that gets fucked up because you have only been there for a hot minute, how would you know things?! Pass the buck!

Con:
Not feeling like you truly fit in with a company (what if you’ve been there a week or two and then it is someone’s birthday… do you sign the card?!)

Pro:
The potential to make new friends and contacts (one of my dearest Toronto friends is a girl who’s position I covered more than a year ago… how would we have met if I hadn’t been her Temp replacement?!) – I personally got the job I have today because I worked in this office a year ago and then got another Temp contract in January. So much of it is being in the right place at the right time.

If there’s one thing I have learned – and it is compounded by this week of appreciation, it’s that Administrators need our love and admiration. They do the shitty jobs that you don’t want to… so bring them cakes and such. You know where I sit!

When being a Receptionist sucks…

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2014 has been a pretty fantastic year thus far. I had the opportunity to go to Sundance Film Festival and Los Angeles, and when I got back to Toronto I had a number of awesome interviews for roles in the Film & TV industry (none of which eventuated into a job…but still! Interviews woo!). I then stumbled into a contract position at a TERRIFIC Film & TV company in a role I loved, and when that position was up, I told the company I would do literally any role they had going so as to stay in this multi-national Entertainment giant.

And Lo, a receptionist role was up for grabs – so I went for it.

While being a Receptionist is definitely not my dream job – if it pays the bills and I get to hang around cool people that may one day recognize my potential and hire me for other cool industry stuff all day, I say: why not? It’s better than sitting on the couch watching back to back episodes of Friday Night Lights (no it’s not, I wish I was doing that right meow!).

I’ve gotten to the point with this company though where I’m starting to really love every body here – and I wake up with a smile because I love going to work. The employees are fun and happy and everybody is in this business because they genuinely enjoy what they do (lets be honest… ain’t nobody in it for the money).

And yet…having said that… there are a few things I encounter on the daily which make me think:

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Here is a list.

1. Insane couriers…
Being a courier in this town is truly a calling/last resort. Why do I say that? Because haaaaaave you met Toronto?! This city gets down to the double negatives on the reg. Mother Nature is one bad bitch when it comes to this city by the lake. Most of the couriers bike our oh so important packages around. -15 + wind = you’re going to have a bad time. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when 75% of the couriers are batshit insane. From tragic life stories and clear social anxiety issues (I’m talking won’t look me in the eye/mumbling)  to: “look at this rash on my hand…what do you think?” (Hmmmm I think I need to douse this desk with hand sanitizer and/or light it on fire ewwww ew ew) I have met them all. I’ve had full blown disagreements with men old enough to be my grandfather because a box was actually 2.5lb and not 1lb as stated on the pickup slip. Listen dude, I’m just waiting til you leave so I can get back on Buzzfeed…

2. So my idea is…
Everybody has an idea for a Film or Television show – most people watch a lot of bad Film and TV and think that they could do better and while I’m not disputing that that is necessarily true – you can’t just wander off the street and sit down with someone to discuss your amazing idea. There is a process involved (that I’m still trying to work out myself!) and yet in come these uber confident wanna-be producers, with no meeting and nothing on paper – expecting…what exactly? If confidence and the balls to actually show up were all it took – you’d be in a corner office in no time. As it is…um I’ll take a message?

3. I want to be a star…!
The truth is that the company I work for does produce TV shows here in Toronto. Again, there is a process, there are casting directors, auditions, call backs, none of which occurs here. We’re the corporate office, not a sound stage or an agency. You can’t just drop off your showreel or headshot to me… I’m not sure what to do with it. Also, I’m answering the phones and sending the Fedex’s – does it seem like I have “pull”? Maybe… in how to re-arrange the contents of the fridge…otherwise sorry! Can’t help you.

4. How can I get in contact with…?
While I definitely recognize some of the faces that play in the loop of our shows (over and over and over and over and over…) I couldn’t name a quarter of the actors or tell you anything about them (except I’m getting sick of seeing butts and violence on repeat). This is not true of fans of the show – who assume (apparently) that we know them (intimately) and would willingly give up their personal information and details. Errr…. not so much.

#firstworldreceptionistproblems

No but seriously… go away so I can look at this Cat gif compliation

Things I wish I knew before I did my Masters of Creative Writing AKA you should have spent your money on shoes

Hey Past Paris, how’s it going? So adorable that you just turned 21 and that you’re finishing up your Bachelor of Arts degree. It’s a miracle you passed every subject (hey…a 51 is still a pass OKAY) and that they’re ACTUALLY going to let you graduate when you were supposed to. All those last minute assignments you handed in (some that you began the DAY they were due and were mostly just made up sentences that you hoped made sense because lets be hungover…you drank 7/7 days of the week) were totally worth it, and now, because that 3 years went by in a flash, you’re thinking you’ll do a Masters Degree because you aren’t quite ready to join the real world? That’s sweet, and a great idea considering Australia has this Higher Education thing where you don’t have to start paying back your student loans until you make over a certain amount of money (don’t worry – you’ll flee the country before that happens/at this rate – you’ll never make more than that minimum amount anyhow!).

Except a Masters today does not hold the currency it used to, dear old past me. They’re handing those out like free condoms at the walk-in clinic, and by the time you’re twenty two, you’ll have yours, and everyone will assume you’re a genius in North America (because they make them do like four year degrees or some shit) but we all know you’re just a chicken who applied for the program the day it was closing, and who nearly didn’t make it because you forgot your passport, so you had to use your feminie wiles (and your tears) to convince the dickhead at student services to process your application.

And that Masters in Creative Writing (dear god why didn’t you do something like marketing or business-y so you could actually find a real job?!) is going to be a great talking point… but here are some home truths:

More Valuable than your Masters, is the Interning you do:
The Master’s contact hours I had were a joke. 7pm-9pm Monday-Thursday. Sure there was a lot of writing involved – but I did that ANYWAY because I love writing. SO to fill my time (and feed myself) I got a job doing shitty admin (this is what  has led to more jobs in the future, so thank you universe!) and got stuck into interning for free at a Television Production Company 3 days a week.

This is where I discovered my true passion and the career path I had vaguely known I wanted all along. Turns out  I am a WHIZ at juggling people on set, in a production office, PR people, people I need to get things from (like permission to film for free on a set) 20 year old reality “stars”, major networks and crew. Turns out I thrived on the drama, and learn’t more in 8 months interning (and then being hired and paid!) than I did from sitting in a classroom analyzing the screenplay for Scar face.

Get used to Temping/Retail while you look for that foot in the door:

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Truth be told, had I stayed in Australia, I would have worked on a bunch more shows by now. The production company I interned at loved me (the feeling was mutual!) and they would have found me another position (in research or production). But I knew I’d get stuck in the Australian industry. And hot off the press from a breakup and the completion of four years in one place (I get claustrophobic when I stay still too long) I decided it was now or never to try somewhere new. And so I found myself in a new market, starting from the bottom all over again, networking and having to re-make contacts. SO retail and Temping is what pays the bills and allows me to keep trying to be as fabulous as I can be. It isn’t glamorous but I am damn thankful for it, and it is pretty crazy who you may meet when you’re in a new office/talking to customers. If you are genuine and people are interested in you – they will do what they can – you’ll be surprised to discover who wants to help you/the connections they have if they know what you are trying to do.

You need to learn how to use multiple coffee machines/how to effectively stack a dishwasher:

A run-on from the Temping thing. Mostly what I’m asked to do in a day could occupy two hours out of eight. Answering phones, creating a few fedex orders and crafting a couple emails. Mainly you’ll be unstacking/stacking the dishwasher and making yourself fancier and fancier coffees (mainly due to boredom and or your secret mad scientist sensibilities and not due to your love of coffee).
Maybe you should have gone to Barista school and not got a Masters. Just saying. You’d probably be making more money by now.

Mostly what you’ll write is your blog:
Without those deadlines and people breathing down your neck, it’s going to take a lot of will power to finish projects. Sure you’ll go through writing frenzies, but to actually complete something… yeah not so much. But adorable that you thought you’d be a novelist by now. Uhhhh-dorable. *sobs*

People who did boring degree’s will have way more money than you and/or actual grownup lives:

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That girl in the year below you at college who was studying chemical engineering that you stalk on Twitter and Facebook? Yeah. She just bought an apartment, is engaged, has a pet bulldog and makes 5x more than you did last year (yeah but her tax rebate was probably nothing so HA!). If you wanted to be rich you should have listened to your parents and done a degree with the name of a job in it (hey… Writer is a job…).

The good news is, you’re chasing your dreams and will probably not hate your job (when you get one) and will not just be living for the weekend.
The bad news is, while you’re chasing those dreams you’re going to be eating baked beans on toast at least 3 nights a week.
Yay for Creatives. *Hugs self tightly and rocks*

People are impressed you did a Masters of Creative Writing, because they always figured themselves a Writer… but it’s not going to get you hired…yet:
The number of times interviewers have been impressed that my Masters is in Creative Writing… well it’s a lot. The number of times they’ve been so impressed by the fact that I hold that degree and thought “we need to hire this ridiculously awesome girl!!” is not many. Scratch that. Maybe it’s none. (Pretty sure the interning thing is what has gotten me hired in the past)

There is a difference between people being impressed/jealous of the degree you got, and the way they figure that that degree equals revenue in their business/justifies your salary.

I’m sorry, I thought this advertisement was for an amazingly hilarious Australian girl who grew up in Hong Kong, can stack ALL of the dishes in one tray. is really good at Facebook and can make you an exquisite blend of hazelnut latte and hot chocolate. No? hmmm. That is strange. Anyway while i’m here i’ll just drop off my Resume…

You will probably think a lot about doing a more relevant degree/PHD:

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There is no way in hell I can afford international student fee’s here in Canada, so if i plan on getting further education – it’s back to Australia I go. And while that wouldn’t be so bad, I’m not sure I could handle being a full time student again. I may not be rich now, but i’m hella richer than I was as a student AND my parents were still helping me out at the time.
But I have thought about it. Two guys I’ve dated in the past got their MBA’s and people are doing the PhD thing now. I feel like, if I hadn’t done my Masters right after my BA, I would have appreciated it more (although moving off campus made my results sky-rocket and put me at the top of the class!)
But knowing me, i’d probably just want to study something fun and creative again, like, get a Masters in Stand up Comedy, or a PhD in Blogging.

 

I don’t live my life with regrets, and not for a second would I change my Masters degree, because I loved it, met some awesomely inspiring people – and got to do what I love.
I think i’d just make sure I had less lofty aspirations. Cos… like… I’ll be 25 in a month and I haven’t won an Academy award yet…

But there’s still 30 days!

OK GO.