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!

Things I have learned from working as a Temp that are actually valuable life lessons

The Temp in its natural state

The Temp in its natural state

Being a Temp is like always being the new kid at school.

Some of you may recoil at the thought, but not me. I love a challenge.

I was often the new kid, as an Expat Brat who moved around a lot, and so I was fortunate to already have many of the social skills needed for this type of situation. (Yay me).

I think we can all appreciate that in any life experience you have (good or bad) there are things to be learned (even if that thing is, don’t lick that hornets nest EVER again, or…don’t pull that Stingray’s tail – I’m looking at you Steve).

And while I have moaned and blogged about the Temping lifestyle, there are actually some valuable life lessons that I can take away from the experience, things that will stay with me when I get my dream job and on the career path that I am destined to have Owner and Operator of a Large Chocolate Factory run by Oompa Loompa’s, ruler of the world, Film and Television Mega Star.

Lesson: Be Nice to Everybody, they may be a Temp today, but who will they be 3 years from now?
Really, you should be nice to everybody straight off. I know people who do things the other-way-around to me. They don’t like anybody until that person does something that impresses them/chanegs their opinion of them, whereas with me, everybody starts out as a potential new friend, and if you do something to piss me off…run.

There are some people who will see you (as a temp) as the person at the bottom of the food chain while you are a temporary member of their organisation. They call you “the Temp” or don’t even really acknowledge your existence. But the funny thing is, I know plenty of successful people who, when I mention that I am currently Temping, say “oh yeaaaah! I temped for a while.” Not all of the succesful peeps you see around you started out on top. Tom Cruise was a bellhop, the guy who founded Wendy’s used to work at KFC and Richard Branson sold records out of his car. So just saying.

Also, it’s important to be nice to everyone ANYWAY because you never know who could be a new friend, future contact or will generally just bring hilarity to your world. The girl who’s job I covered in January stayed friends with me and signed me up for her Trampoline Dodgeball team (oh hey Denise!) and the place I worked 3 weeks ago has provided me with two new hilarious friends I went for drinks with last week, So suck it, mean people.

Lesson: If you can google, you can do almost any job mildly successfully.
I have learnt so many Administration skills since I began working as a Temp, and there were times where I would have no clue what I was doing at the start of the day, but by the end of the day, I was a pro. If you have google and two brain cells to rub together, you can work most things out. I get that some tasks take experience or prior knowledge, but really? This is an information rich era we live in, and there is plenty to be said for biting the bullet, and figuring shit out for yourself.

Lesson: There will always be a douchebag
Similar to the first lesson in this post, it doesn’t really matter what office situation you are in, there is always going to be a douchebag. I’ve worked in offices with 300 people and offices with 5 and there is always, always someone who pops up on your radar as being a first class dick. It’s like they went to the University of Dick-en-ham and studied advanced Dick-ish-ness with Professor Dickknob and graduated magna dick laude. Dicks.

My advice when dealing with these types is to just smile and seem as stupid as possible. No really. It infuriates them. Where are the spare staples? Staples? What are those? I’ve never even heard of such things, could you describe them for me/do an interpretative dance/act them out? *BARKS* Fax?! *As the dick stabs helplessly and angrily at the fax machine* “Fax? Oh no I wasn’t showed how to do that sorry.” *The Temp suddenly becomes very busy at re-organizing the envelope drawer.*

Lesson: Every Office is it’s own delicate ecosystem and has its own politics, try to stay out of it.
Office drama is so funny to watch from the outside. It is a wilderness within four walls, and while it seems like I am muddling my metaphors here, I hope you’re getting what I am trying to say because I’m pretty sure ecosystems have politics…right? *Throws the Whatever sign in the air and flicks hair.* What I really mean is, don’t get involved. People will try to recruit you if there is an office rivalry, and it is easy to get sucked in. But as a Temp, do you really care? You’re outta there in a week and on to the next. That’s what I thought. But it sure is fun to be an observer.

Lesson: A lot of people with “real” office jobs seem to spend an awful lot of time on Buzz Feed.
No matter how busy people are, or claim to be – there is always (apparently) time for hilarious cat videos and 21 reasons chocolate is better than vanilla.

SO what did we learn today? Be nice to the Temps, don’t minimize your screen when we walk past (we know what you were doing), don’t get involved, when in doubt, google it out, and if you’re a dick, try not to be that anymore.

Don’t you know who I am? I’m Kind of a big deal! And other tales from my experience as a Guest List Bitch during TIFF

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For those of you just joining us today in the wacky, yet I’m sure we’d all agree, WONDERFUL world of Paris (that’s me), Jambo! And here’s the spark notes on the important info:

I am a 24 (almost 25-sweet-baby-cheeses-that’s-old) year old Australian who lives in Toronto, Canada, but who grew up in Asia, and I am probably definitely the most inappropriate, coolest, and most all-over the place girl you know.

I’ve also been looking for a real job (read: one with a steady salary, and or benefits) in Film, TV, Production, Advertising, Marketing, Social Media…look i’ll literally do anything creative you want at this point…you want me to dress up like a Monkey and clap my hands while hopping around the office singing, ok i’ll do it. Let me just update my LinkedIn….for a while now.

As such, I have been temping, which for those of you that don’t know (lucky straight into jobs after your degree bitches…oh so you did a degree with the name of an actual job in it?! That’s cool, me and my Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Creative writing will be chilling over here with the cool kids) is when you get hired on Assignments to do Reception, Data Entry, Help at Events… etc.

So two weekends ago I was asked if I’d like some weekend work at some parties for TIFF.

TIFF stands for Toronto International Film Festival, and like, don’t freak out, but it’s kindof a big deal worldwide. I used to live in Sydney, Australia and attended the SIFF and even I had hear of TIFF and even followed the head of TIFF, Cameron Bailey on twitter (more on him later).

So I love Parties and I love Film so I said, Hells yes. Sign me up.

And it was glorious.

Not only did I get to meet some lovely celebrities I also got to talk to the people that actually make shit happen in the world of entertainment, Assistants to big name producers, Agents, Finance people, Parents of stars (Daniel Radcliff’s dad is potentially the nicest and shortest British man I have ever had an interaction with, he told me Dan was always ditching him at parties…sigh).

Everybody sucks up to the guest list girl (I gathered) because the huge scary gorrilla like bouncers standing behind you are only listening to you. If you say they’re in, they’re in. If you say they aren’t on the list, then step aside please. They don’t give a shit who you are. They’ve been working all day as personal trainers/bodybuilders/guards and are on their third redbull. You do NOT want to fuck with them.

And everybody wants to get into the “cool” parties where the celebs, and free drinks and pretty women are. And that’s where I was. Little old me, behind a velvet rope with a clip board and a friendly Australian accent.

I love how you can learn so much about people when you’re suddenly observing them from a position of power. You don’t know these people, you don’t have to suck up to them. Okay sure I was flirting and being friendly (and I did get some potential contacts and business cards) but really I was doing a job. Finding a name on a list, and if it wasn’t there, sorry guy. You can spout as many names as you want, they don’t mean a thing to me.

Some particularly noteworthy incidents:

-The coked-up finance guy who got so close to my face i’m pretty sure spittle flew into it, while he was grinding his teeth and ranting. Sorry bud, we’re AT CAPACITY. And you’re right, I did let the Celeb in even though we’re AT CAPACITY because that’s what I was told to do so the paps don’t harass them. Just doing my job buddy, nope I’ve never heard of you. Tell me again how you don’t wait in lines.

-The wife of the guy who cut the trailer. Listen lady, I’m going off the list, I’m sorry that you and your husband aren’t on it (he was totally quiet and not making a fuss) and I agree, it seems unjust, but i’m just doing what I’m told. Go ahead and call somebody from the producers office. When I get an update, you can come in.

-The drunk, 40+ women (four of them) who tried to get in because they met such-and-such at the hotel and he told them to come. Uhhhhh nooooope. You can get as offensive as you like and try to grab the list, but this giant guy behind me, Brandon, he’s not going to like that so…

In contrast, all of the celebrities, directors and big deal producers I met were excruciatingly lovely. Not a bad egg among them. Almost all of them THANKED me as they exited. Thanked me. Like I really had anything at all to do with anything. I just stood outside in the cold with clip board. Some of them even had private jokes with me because I’d seen them a few times and also…i’m hilarious.

Cameron Bailey, Head of TIFF and who I’ve followed on Twitter for 6 years now, I couldn’t find him on the list because they had put his name back-to-front as Bailey Cameron. Me, being the slow ditz that I am didn’t recognize him and said “i’m sorry you’re not on the list.”

To which he calmly replied, “I think you might find that I am” before one of the party planners tore outside and said “he’s good! Thanks for coming Mr Bailey” before shooting me a dark look.

Life is not dull.

I’ll give you that much.

 

 

Temping, Prositution of the Corporate world

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Temping:

temp [tɛmp] Informal
n
a person, esp a typist or other office worker, employed on a temporary basis
vb (intr)
to work as a temp

Turns out Temping is better paid than retail (not by much, but enough for me to go buy those Croc boots which I swear aren’t ugly, just give me a chance to show you) and because I continue to be ignored by the world of Full Time work in an industry that I am dying to work in, I decided to give Temping a go. Since the beginning of the month I have taken on four different assignments, 2 x 1 day assignments, 2 x 1 week assignments, and learned about a whole new world that I never knew existed.

The world of the Temp.

Let me give you a little run down.

The world of the Temp is a place ungoverned by your average 9-5. You wake up at 7.30am with the hope that at 8am, someone (Pimp) will call you and tell you they need you at XYZ location, and the dress code is *blank*. You slap on some make-up, make sure you vaugely know where you are going and sprint out the door. On the train you wonder again what you are doing with your life, but the other part of your brain says “this is the last job, I promise you. We’ll get the money and then move to Florida.” You get to the destination, you make small talk, find out what the client (John) likes and what they need. You settle down, close your eyes, and daydream you are somewhere else (like at a real job). When it’s all over, they thank you plenty of times, and you shuffle out clutching your time sheet. You buy yourself a couple of drinks to try to forget the disappointment in your mothers eyes.

Temping is the Prostitution of the corporate world.

But you know what? I don’t hate it.

My first two assignments were in Film and Television production companies, and you bet your Chihuahua’s left nut that I worked it like I was on the sinking Titanic and had to get my third-class ass on a lifeboat. The one day gig was a bit of a bust, it was a monday and quiet as hell, but the week long gig yielded fun, a bit of professional networking with an awesome Aussie guy who took my resume and some new surprising friendships with girls my own age who worked in the company. Turns out some of them had been in the same boat as me and some of them even got their jobs after temping first.

Actually, when I started to look into it, Temping seemed to be one of the ways a bunch of people I know got their full-time jobs. They’d go for an assignment and the company would say, you know what, why don’t you stay on, or, why don’t you give us your resume to take a look at. It was kind of like a pre-interview. And hell with the number of resumes and cover letters I have sent off, any chance of getting into ANY company as more than just a name on a piece of paper is a big bonus.

So why did I always think there was such a stigma attached to Temping? I couldn’t even tell you. Maybe there is, but now that I’ve joined the ranks I just don’t care. The job market is so tough out there, and lots of people who want to do what I want to do are stuck in menial jobs, frittering away their youth and talent.

I’d rather wake up each day with the fresh and exciting opportunity of meeting someone that may assist with opening a career door for me, than be marking down sweaters for the third time this week.

End Rant