Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Temp

The unexpected loss of a coworker has caused some problems in our operations at work. The coworker just quit, without telling anyone. She just didn't show up for work, & when we called her at home to see if she was all right, she told us that she quit. No two week notice, didn't even bother coming in to let us know, not even a courtesy phone call. Well, good riddance to bad garbage. If you act like rubbish, that makes you trash.

Naturally, we had to find ways to take over her job, sharing the work & finding a new replacement. I cancelled my long planned vacation so my coworkers & I could all work together to get things done. And while we're screening applicants carefully--cautiously after the last replacement turned out to be such a dud--we've had to rely on hiring temps on a weekly basis.

I don't mind temps. I've actually done a few temp jobs myself over the years. Most temps are competent, & that's why they're hired in the first place. The good ones get rehired for the following weeks. The great ones are asked to join us permanently.

When I was a temp, I loved the freedom & anonymity. No office politics; no backstabbing; no rumor mongering. I just clock in, keep my head down, do my work, clock out, & get paid. Sure, the job was temporary, & I might be assigned to a different department every day. But I loved that! If I hated the work & environment, I knew that it was only for a short while, then I could move somewhere new. And I liked working different departments everyday, because I got to do different things--same tasks, just different locations & new people, & I learned what each department focused on, tailoring my skills to meet the goals of the department.

I met a lot of good people that way, did a lot of repeat contracts, & I was offered permanent positions at those places I temped at. But at the time, I rather enjoyed the freedom & liberties being a temp offered me.

As a temp, I was not a threat to the staff--who're constantly squabbling for promotions or what they perceived as more prestigious positions. So they ignored me as they sabotaged each other in the daily grind. I kept quiet, so nobody noticed me, & I only spoke when asked a question by the others. The low profile let me glide through the workday without any conflict or being drawn into interpersonal conflicts & office drama. These people didn't know me, & truthfully, I didn't want to know them, especially when I witnessed just how horrible they were to each other.

Still, a few times, I did stick out, because I did excellent work & because while I was quiet, I was also courteous, & I didn't hesitate to help out a coworker when they needed assistance. That courteousness & professionalism earned me some respect & a few friends, or at least friendly relations with the staff. We'd even share a few happy hours together after work, drinking & laughing at a nearby bar.

But I still made sure to remember that no matter how friendly they were with me, I was not one of them. I was a temp, & they were staff. And when it came time to handout cheap freebies or holiday gift trinkets to the workers, most times, a staff member would make it a point to state that I wouldn't get anything, because the freebies/trinkets were for staff only. Not that I cared or wanted the cheap pens or keychain rings or mugs. I wasn't there to for trinkets. I was there to get paid. So long as I got paid for my work, then that's all that mattered. Surprisingly, the managers I worked for always gave me the same freebies & trinkets the rest of the staff got. Not that I bragged about it or even cared. But it was nice to be acknowledged as a valuable worker.

Still, those episodes served to remind me that as friendly as the staff was to me, they would not hesitate to throw me under the bus if it made them look good at work. So I kept my mouth shut, didn't trash talk anyone, & drank enough to be pleasant, fun, social company, and not do anything too outrageous that could be used against me. This meant that I was fun to be around with, & people told me their secrets, & I learned all the dirt & gossip about the others.

I became keeper to many private, shocking, scandalous details, & I wasn't above using this newfound confidential knowledge to subtly manipulate work to my advantage. Nothing too evil. I just learned who I needed to talk to so I could get things done & how to win certain people over, making my temp job a pleasant & enjoyable experience.

And there were always a few horrible people who went out of their way to point out that I was a temp. And I gladly acknowledged it, much to their surprise. There are always losers, terrible monsters in every office that only feel better about themselves when they put someone else down. And I've run into these idiots a few times. And it always frustrates them that my immunity to their taunts only made their peers dislike them even more, further cementing their status as outcasts.

Having grown up as one of the youngest in a really large family of overly opinionated, smack talking, mean, moody older brothers & sisters, I learned to deal with conflict & trash talking. Nothing phases me. You got to have thick skin--heavy armor--if you want to survive the war zone that was called childhood, growing up with awful older siblings who were moody, selfish, idiotic, hormonally driven teens who resented missing out on parties because they were stuck babysitting us young'uns, & we just couldn't resist provoking the teenage beasts!

Honestly, it was fun making our older brothers & sisters mad. It was like a power we possessed, & we loved using it, because it was a type of power. And when you're a little kid with low status in the hierarchy of sibling authority, any power, however insignificant or dangerous, was a great power to be wielded, to remind the others that you had your own mind, free will, & you can affect them, too! It was a small measure of control that kept you from being totally helpless when the older siblings started bossing you around.

Yes, we knew that we'd get pounded if the angry siblings caught us. But we teased & aggravated our older siblings anyway. We couldn't help it. We were too curious to stay out of their rooms, rifling through their stuff, & we were too excited to ignore provoking our monstrous teen siblings, because we knew we could! The drawback to this power to provoke was that you had to be fast--to run away & hide when the mad beasts come after you in anger. You better be quick enough to find Mom or Dad to hide behind, disappear into a safe place til the monsters cool off, or talk your way out of it when the monsters caught you.

As small children, finding Mom or Dad or a sanctuary was the best bet. Talking didn't calm the beasts, & it didn't help that our vocabulary was limited. But as we got older--& having been deemed old enough to know better by Mom--our vocabulary, reasoning, observation, & smooth talking (bullsh*tting) skills got better with age. Soon enough, I got really good at observing people, reading them, & predicting how they'd react. This survival skill has been a great tool for me, & I use it everyday to solve problems & successfully overcome challenges.

When dealing with office bullies, the first way to stop them is to not let them get to you. Be neutral. Don't let them bait & aggravate you. Remember, they're only singling you out because they feel threatened by you. Ignore them. Be professional, & let them make an ass of themselves. Just do your work, & keep records of all your excellent work. Record keeping is important.

If ignoring doesn't work, then be prepared to step up & confront the bully. I'm not talking about a physical confrontation. Though, I admit it can be effective, as the last bully I had to fight was way back in high school, & I kicked his sorry ass. When I say stand up, I mean have a sit down & have witnesses present, especially a boss or someone with authority. I had a few bullies try to slander me, but the evidence of my hard work & a sit down with the boss & human resources usually led to the bully apologizing & never bothering me again, especially when I made it clear that I was not going to put up with a hostile work environment nor harassment nor threats from hostile coworkers.

Twice, at two different companies, I had bullies slander me when something went wrong. Both times, they were trying to pin the costly mistake on me, thinking that management would pick them, the staff member, over me, the temp. Both times, I had evidence that not only exonerated me, but also exposed the lies of the bullies. I had kept records of all my communications & the work that I had done, & in both cases, the bullies were fired for lying & incompetence, & I was asked to stay on contract for several months, after I turned down the company offer of a permanent staff position.

Temping is hard, but I enjoyed it. And I still fantasize from time to time about getting back to the freedom & adventure that temping offered me. But at this point, I'm a staff member, though the boss keeps making me her deputy, pushing me to leadership positions that I don't want. I hate management positions, because I hate dealing with other people's crap! I do it well when the occasion calls for it, but I avoid management positions, no matter how much money they offer to entice me. I like being responsible for me & me alone, & maybe for the new orientees under my mentorship for a short while.

And while I don't actively seek out leadership roles, the fact is, I'm the respectable one at work! I'm the most professional worker, because I don't bring any of my personal drama to work, & I don't gossip nor trash talk anyone at work. I'm the neutral, fair, courteous, helpful party. I'm the one people confide in because I keep my mouth shut, & I'm the one they like to hang with because I make them laugh, & I help them when they need it.

I'm the one who remembers birthdays so I bring cupcakes & cards for the birthday peer; deliver flowers & visit sick colleagues in the hospital; deliver small gift baskets to congratulate the coworker on being a newborn baby's parent; & I'm the one who shows up with a casserole or flowers to a staff's family funeral; & I'm the one who shows up to a fellow worker's wedding with a gift & hearty congratulations to the new couple. I do these things because it's courteous & because I was raised this way, to treat people right.

It always makes me chuckle to see the surprised then grateful looks from the stunned coworker who wasn't expecting support nor kindness nor a gift for whatever significant social event they were experiencing. And I earn their respect & loyalty for as long as we have a positive work relationship.

But then, I sometimes feel sad that they are so surprised that I did any of these things at all. Back home on the remote coast, in my small beach & farm town, this was normal social behavior--to show support or provide appropriate gifts to people who were experiencing significant life events. We celebrated the good events & shared in the hard times, to let the coworkers know that they weren't alone, that we supported them.

If someone had a birthday, you wished them a happy birthday; a newborn baby, congratulate the parents & give them at least a pack of diapers--baby necessities are expensive!; a funeral, show up at the service to show your support, bring a casserole to the reception, if you can, for comfort; for a wedding, bring a gift--a picture frame or drinking glasses, something small but useful to the new couple starting out. These acts were common practice when I was growing up, & it makes me sad to see that common courtesy & common sense are critically endangered, on the verge of extinction.

Still, I hold on to these fading customs, not because they are ingrained in me, but because they still have value. They are worth practicing & passing on to the next generation. Common courtesy makes social interactions more pleasant & positive experiences. Common courtesy makes us think before we speak, look before we act. Saying please & thank you, & being courteous to each other makes us a better, more thoughtful, kinder, & wiser people.

My coworkers count on me & trust me, & in return, they work hard to keep my trust, which kind of ends up putting me in a leadership role, especially since I'm not afraid to question policies & stand up & speak up to the authorities when I don't agree with their policies & actions. This puts me in a uniquely delicate situation, into an unofficial yet vastly influential position of power. The staff sees me as a trusted leader, & the bosses know & respect my skills & my excellent work, yet they fear this power & influence I have over the others. Hence, the higher ups not only know who I am by name & position, but are always scheming to move me over into management, where they can keep a closer eye on me & limit, if not use, my persuasive powers to control the staff.

Every couple of months, I'm offered a "promotion" to one of the many management positions in the company. There's a high turnover rate for managers, especially at the lower, line level. It's the most demanding position, because you've got upper management stomping down on you, demanding you do more with less; & you've got your staff complaining that they need more resources to do the ever more demanding jobs & tasks. More responsibility means more money, but also more problems & more stress. So, thanks, but no, thanks. I like where I'm at.

I try my best to remain fair & neutral. I remember what it's like to be a new worker or just starting out, so I try to be fair & helpful to new staff & temps. Most times, my help is appreciated. But every now & then, I'm reminded that sometimes, people don't want your help, even if it's for their own good.

This week, we've had to hire a temp to fill in & help us at work. We've worked with her before, which is a good thing & a bad thing. Good because we know what to expect & she knows what to do. Bad, because we are familiar with her work--barely competent--& her attitude--obnoxious. I'll call her Sourpuss, because she always looks like she is scowling, & she's so snippy & grumpy in her interactions with us.

We've worked with Sourpuss before on three separate occasions over the past year. Each occasion was worse than the one before. Thank goodness the longest we've ever had to work with her was three days--three long days that now seem incredibly short compared to being stuck with her all week. But I've a feeling she won't be around next week or back any time soon.

I don't know why she is such a Sourpuss. The first time we worked with her was only for one day. And she managed to rub us the wrong way, frequently saying, "I know what I'm doing! I don't need any help!"

But apparently she did, because all the work she did was entered on the wrong forms, & we spent the next day fixing her mistakes. The next time we worked with her was for two days, where she struggled with the fax/copier machine. And once again, she refused our help, telling us, "I know what I'm doing! I didn't ask for your help!"

Then she broke the fax/copier machine, by taking out the ink cartridge & putting it back the wrong way! Why? Because she claimed the fax machine was broken, because it wasn't printing out a confirmation page into the top tray, even though the display screen reported confirmation page printed. She thought the machine either needed a new ink cartridge or there was a paper jam or the machine was just broken. Why she decided to troubleshoot & take out the ink cartridge herself, I'll never know. She wasn't qualified, & all that happened was that she got ink all over her hands, some files, & her dress.

The machine wasn't broken. It was working fine. The confirmation page--several of them from Sourpuss repeatedly pressing Print--was in the lower tray! Had Sourpuss just asked for help, hell, accepted a coworker's offer to fax her papers for her, she'd've realized which tray the confirmation page prints into, & we wouldn't have lost a few productive hours, getting backed up, waiting for tech support to fix the machine. Not that tech support showed up. They were backed up, & the boss said we had to take the elevator to the other departments to use their fax/copier machines. Oh, hell no!

Luckily, after two hours of waiting for tech support, I was able to examine & discover that the ink cartridge was misaligned. After a few minutes of adjusting, I was able to get the machine back on line & we could resume our work. And while my coworkers & boss congratulated me, Sourpuss just griped that the machine was outdated--it wasn't; it was the latest (most expensive) model. And what's worse, she didn't even apologize for causing this ruckus that cost us valuable time.

But the worst was a few months ago, when we had to rely on Sourpuss for three days to cover for a coworker who experienced a family emergency. The first day, she kept to herself, & we left her alone, having learned our lesson from the previous encounters that she didn't want any assistance.

But before lunch on the second day, I noticed we were getting a few complaints from customers, reporting how the first person they talked to seemed curt, then hung up when they said they were transferring the caller. A few questions clarified that the customers were calling Sourpuss but she was not transferring the calls. I suspected that she was not familiar with how our phones operated.

But how do you solve a problem when the person causing the problem refuses help & willfully denies that they are the problem? Believe it or not, I've dealt with situations like this before. The best approach is to share information, a solution really, without drawing attention to the problem, saving face for the person causing the problem.

I printed out a copy of simple instructions on how to transfer calls. It was from my Guide to Work binder, which is a collection of policies, how-to instructions, shortcuts, tips, & very useful hints that made mastering the equipment & finding the right forms & procedures easy. The coworkers called it my Cheat Sheets, because they loved it, & everyday, someone always used it to get some work done.

See? I told you keeping records was important. Everytime I learn a new policy or how to operate a new piece of equipment, I save the instructions, simplify them, & save them in my Work Guide --which sounds much more professional than Cheat Sheets & less sacrilege than the Work Bible, as some colleagues & management call it.

I printed out a copy of telephone operations for Sourpuss, casually paused by her desk, & told her, "You know, I can't remember if I've shared this before, but I like to hand out this page on how our phone system operates to everyone who works here. I can't remember if I gave you one before, but I give one to everyone. Anyway, here's a copy, just in case."

I left her the copy, then smiled at her & walked away as she looked at me suspiciously. During a coffee break that afternoon, I was stirring my two tablespoons of sugar in my half coffee, half vanilla ice cream cup of coffee when who should approach me but Sourpuss.

She actually thanked me, begrudgingly, for the paper on telephone operations, stating that it was very helpful. I told her that she was welcomed. Then out of nowhere, she suddenly unburdened herself to me.

I learned that she used to be management for one of the smaller rival companies that was bought up by one of our smaller, medium sized competitors. She took early retirement & the severance package they offered. But instead of travelling or moving somewhere to enjoy retirement, she decided to open her own staffing company, specializing in supplying temp workers in our field. And she kept it going for two years. But it became too much. And she had to close down.

Having spent all her severance pay on the failed venture, she had no choice but to reenter the workforce. Ironically, the only company that would hire her was a staffing company, & the work she was relegated to was the entry work. The management experience she had was outdated, & the position now required a college degree, which she didn't have nor wanted to get. Actually, over the past decade, the position started requiring a college degree, to meet the new challenges in the field.

She was grandfathered into her old management position at her old company. That old company was absorbed into a larger company several years ago. And she'd been in management for so long that she barely could keep up with us, lacking the new, important knowledge & skills that had evolved & changed in our field.

Suddenly, I understood why she was so bitter & hostile. Life had dealt her a harsh blow, & she hadn't quite figured out how to recover or move forward. I'm not sure if she even wanted to or had the energy or will to move forward. She took a big gamble & she lost big time. And now she was paying the price.

Failure is a hard pill to swallow. And she's definitely angry at herself for her failure, at the world for changing & her inability to adapt, & she was mad that even after so many years in the field--a good chunk of it as management--she was reduced to doing low entry work, barely able to keep up with the changes & seemingly fast paced, younger, possibly brash, energetic workers, most of whom weren't alive when she first started in the field.

I suppose that should've earned her some sympathy. And it did, for a short while. When she learned about my Work Guide & my penchant for sharing it with others, she said, "You'll never get ahead working like that, sharing important skills with other people who might take advantage of it." 

It was kind of ironic, this backhanded way of telling me to advance at work by not sharing knowledge & not helping coworkers, yet she herself took advantage & benefitted from my help!

Any progress we made that second day was quickly eroded the third day. It was Friday, & my coworkers & I decided to work through lunch, because we wanted to get off early & enjoy the rare three day holiday weekend. If we got our tasks done early, then we could leave early, & we were determined to leave early!

As I happened to be the leader of the project, I took it upon myself to motivate my crew & complete the project ahead of schedule. I decided to order us some pizzas for lunch, so we could eat & work at the same time, to get the job done early. Everyone loves pizza, & my crew dived in & ate pizza & worked their hardest through lunch. It was a very motivating, fun experience, sharing a meal & working together to get the job done.

We all had a good time, laughing & pulling together, knowing we had exceeded our goal & we would leave early after finishing our project. Everyone was uplifted & we felt good. But our rhythm & flow was slightly hampered by Sourpuss!

First, she went to lunch. She wasn't on the project team so we didn't care. But when she came back, she wanted to know why we didn't go to lunch & why were having a pizza party without her. She seemed offended, but we didn't care. Even after she was told that I had bought the pizzas, she wanted to know why. She didn't seem to grasp that this was my way of thanking & motivating my team. She didn't understand why I was being so generous, grumbling that I was wasting money. As if her opinion on how I chose to spend my money was any of her damn business.

Finally, to shut her up, I just told her that it's not about being generous, but about showing my team how much I appreciated their hard work & for going above & beyond the call of duty to get it all done a week earlier than planned. Whether it was ordering pizzas, picking up sub sandwiches, or bringing homemade cupcakes to work, I always made an effort to reward & recognize my team for all their excellent, hard work. It fostered camaraderie, loyalty, & success.

That seemed to shut Sourpuss for now. And my team & I finished our work, then clocked out a few hours early, with enough time to go hangout at a nearby bar that started happy hour early for the holiday weekend. We had a blast, drinking margaritas, eating Tex-Mex, just laughing & ribbing each other. We all ready made plans to get rides home & pick up our vehicles the next day, so we were free to imbue & celebrate the holiday early.

Imagine our surprise when a few hours later, who should appear & approach our jovial table but Sourpuss! I didn't remember inviting her, but she just joined our table, ordered herself two margaritas & an appetizer, sat there & listened to us crack jokes, & tried to small talk with us. It was a little weird, because all she did was complain about work. But we were drunk, feeling good, & we knew that we didn't have to put up with Sourpuss come next week.

Eventually, she excused herself after she finished eating to use the restroom. We didn't pay her much mind, but we should've, because the next thing we know, the waitress brings us Sourpuss's ticket, expecting us to pay for it.

We were like, 'Um, no. We're not paying for her. She just showed up uninvited, ordered her own drinks & meal, then just left without telling anyone!' The bitch skipped out on paying for her order! She tried to stick us with her ticket! Oh, hell no! Can you believe the balls on that bitch!?!

We felt sorry for the waitress, so we gave her Sourpuss's business card. She had given them to us everytime she worked with us. For someone who hated working with us, she sure did go out of her way to make sure we'd contact her if we needed any more temps at work. We told the waitress to give the card to the manager & have him call Sourpuss directly or inform the cops.

We stayed a few hours more, having fun, laughing, eventually dancing, & finally paying for our orders, closing our tab, & generously tipping our waitress when we were done celebrating at closing time. Turns out, the manager did call Sourpuss, & she came back to pay her tab--after he hinted the cops would be involved. We didn't see her, but we didn't care at this point. That bitch tried to screw us over, but it came back to bite her in the ass!

After that despicable stunt, any sympathy that I had for her was gone. I may understand the reasons behind her hostility, but that was no excuse for her to act so evil & try to screw people over. And I was about to learn just how evil Sourpuss was & to what lengths she would go to screw people over.

This week, our new regional company president came to tour our facility. He came to introduce himself to our branch, try to establish a good leadership reputation, & make some sort of effort to reach out to us, & find ways to improve working conditions (& increase profits for the company).

Usually, the higher echelon operates beyond our work areas, & they stick to the more polished, carefully designed, manicured areas we present to the public & clients. Rarely does upper management deign to visit the bowels of hell where our department was located. And we like it that way! We didn't have the time nor inclination to stop our work & kiss ass! We had jobs to do!

So imagine our surprise when my coworkers, boss, & I come back from an early lunch & caught Sourpuss rifling through my desk! Even more dumbfounding, the new regional president, our chief executive officer, & chief financial officer, & their secretaries & other upper management administrators were hovering near my desk.

Sourpuss looked shocked at seeing us. She looked suspiciously guilty, hands caught rifling through my desk, shuffling through my paperwork! She hadn't expected us to take an early lunch & come back to the office earlier than usual. She tried to ease away from my desk but we all saw what she had done. Our boss asked both upper management & the higher echelon if there was something that they needed help with.

Imagine our disbelief when the new regional president explained that Sourpuss was telling them, the higher echelon, of this fabulous work guide that she had put together to educate new workers & find all the important policies & how-to instructions on using the equipment.

That did sound impressive, quite a feat! Except my boss, my coworkers, & I knew that Sourpuss did NOT have a work guide of any sort. The bitch was lying! She was trying to pass off my work as her own, in an effort to make herself look good! She was a liar, a thief, & a backstabber!

Unfortunately for that evil bitch, she didn't know where my Work Guide was, as evidenced by her rifling through my desk without any success! We had caught her red handed!

Sourpuss tried to backpedal, saying that it wasn't her Work Guide, which confused the upper echelon. She said that she meant that my Work Guide was very helpful to her, & she wanted to share it with others. My boss & coworkers looked furious! I was just surprised at how evil this demon bitch was.

Upper management looked displeased. They could smell her bullsh*t. They weren't stupid; they despised wasting their time, & they knew when someone was full of crap. You can't make it up to the higher echelon without being able to spot the liars & backstabbers & survive their assassination attempts on your career.

To break the uncomfortable silence, our CEO asked if there was a guide. I said yes, I did have a Work Guide. When the president asked to see it, I surprised the higher echelon when I led them to the fax/copier machine. I picked up a binder that was in the bookcase next to the copier. This was my Work Guide.

The higher echelon was surprised that I kept such an important tool out by the copier, in a public space where anyone can look at it. They were even more shocked when I told them that was the whole point. I left my Work Guide out in public by the copier, so any worker could look at it, & they could make copies for themselves, to help them do their work.

I also made copies of my Work Guide to pass out to any new workers that I was orienting or mentoring, to help them learn the job faster & work more effectively. The job & tasks were so much easier once you knew which forms to fill out; which policies & procedures were pertinent to your tasks; & the instructions on how to use & troubleshoot the equipment & machines were simple & easy to follow.

The stupefied looks of surprise on the higher echelon & their secretaries' faces were too funny. But those looks of disbelief turned to understanding, then excitement. Yes, my Work Guide was a very powerful, valuable tool--it contained important knowledge & essential operating procedures. But even more impressive, I freely shared that knowledge with others to improve our work, & it made things so much easier for us.

My Boss chimed in & said my Work Guide was also known as the Work Bible or Cheat Sheets. And that three other departments out of the six in our branch, all ready have copies of my Guide, & frequently check my original Guide for updates.

The president & our upper management seemed flabbergasted that, one: such a powerful tool existed--one that contained essential procedures & operations, simplified policies & how-to instructions; & two: that such a valuable tool would be used & shared so freely to help all workers!

It definitely improved productivity & increased efficiency in our department, my boss & coworkers testified. Instead of wasting time & energy scouring through the disorganized, unhelpful, confusing database for policies & procedures, or waiting for tech support to return our calls or stop by to show us how equipment worked, my Work Guide brought all that essential information together in one place, simplified things, & was easily accessed by any worker needing that information quickly to get the work done right.

I explained to the higher echelon that the Work Guide was my way to keep track of the important policies, procedures, changes, & equipment operations. It made me a better worker & helped me when I needed to do something but wasn't sure what to do or where to look. And since it helped me, I figured my coworkers would appreciate the help, too. And they did!

Suffice it to say that by the end of the day, my Work Guide became our branch's official Frequently Asked Questions guide on our network, with its own folder on the company home page screen! Those tech support guys work fast when the president asks them to do something. The president plans to spread this FAQ & hard copies of my Work Guide to the rest of the region's branches, even taking a copy to present at next week's meeting with all the other national/top level corporate officers. He said that my Work Guide was going to be integrated at the corporate level.

My Boss & coworkers congratulated me. The president & higher echelon wanted to reward me by offering me an upper management position in human resources, which I politely declined. But I am getting a nice raise, which I gladly accepted. And the higher echelon has already given me full credit for my Work Guide, with my name as the author on the FAQ folder & hard copies. And they are even incorporating my idea of keeping the hard copies out in public, by the copier where any worker could have access to it & make copies if they needed to. They were also going to use my Guide in orienting & training new workers. Not bad for keeping good records. Good record keeping is important!

I have to admit, while I usually eschew hobnobbing with the higher echelon because I had better, more productive things to do, I was enjoying the recognition of my work. It's always nice to be recognized for good work, whether you're a staff member or a temp. Good work is good work, & it should be acknowledged.

Speaking of recognizing temps & their work, in all the hubbub & excitement of incorporating my Work Guide company wide, Sourpuss had managed to disappear. She was very good at sneaking away. But just because she was out of sight didn't mean we had forgotten what a terrible, awful, lying, thieving, backstabbing piece of crap she was!

We were all ticked off at her betrayal & shameless (failed) attempt at stealing my work & trying to take credit! No wonder bad things were happening to her. She was a bad person! You reap what you sow! If you do bad things, well then bad things will happen to you!

Before we clocked out for the day, my team & I ran into Sourpuss as she was exiting the ladies restroom in the main hallway. She probably hid in there for the past few hours. She looked terrible, a mixture of scowling & crazy eyes glaring & embarrassment showing on her face, her dress was all wrinkled, & she seemed fidgety, nervous, & twitchy.

As I was about to tell her something important, she rudely cut me off. She wagged her knobby finger at me & said crankily, "I'm not going to apologize. I don't need your help. I know what I'm doing. And those people--", she raised her hand to point at the conference room where the higher echelon was meeting with all of management behind glass walls, "they're going to remember me! You wait & see! They're going to notice me!"

And with an upturned nose, she harrumphed, turned away from us, & stormed down the hallway, passing the glass walled conference room--where the higher echelon, management, & all the other workers in the hallway & adjacent departments definitely noticed her as she stomped by. Diva moment! Drama! She was aiming for defiance, but it turned out to be a disaster, a hilariously sad tragedy!

My team started giggling, & I had a hard time keeping a straight face. I said, "Well, I tried to tell her, tried to help her out..."

"Yeah, but she sure didn't want your help, did she?", said a team member who was struggling not to laugh.

"Nope. Like she said. She don't need any help from us," I exaggerated her disapproving finger waving, causing some team members to laugh out. "And she was going to get noticed!", I said, then imitated her upturned nose & harrumphing, glaring comically at my team, which caused the rest of the team to burst out laughing, & I heartily joined them.

Sourpuss was absolutely right. The higher echelon definitely noticed her, as did the all the other workers & management present. Unfortunately for Sourpuss, what everyone noticed as she marched by defiantly was the sight of the back of her dress, roughly tucked into the top of her pantyhose, exposing the entire backside of her red granny panties to everyone as she stomped down the hallway. She'll not only be remembered as a lying, untrustworthy, backstabber, but the sight of her exposed butt crack flashing everyone was a poignant, poetic reminder to the entire company that this woman was a gigantic ass.

And while an ass is a valuable, essential beast of burden for doing heavy workloads, this woman was a different kind of ass. She was a total butt. She was full of crap & hot air, & she was the discarded remnant of a bad habit, a hazard that was foul, costly, & harmful in the long run. And while it might seem that being a total ass is a requisite to be in upper management, I'm afraid that the company all ready has an excess of a$$holes, & we aren't looking for anymore to stink up the place.

Ah, karma. What goes around, comes around. Do the right thing. Treat people the way you want to be treated. If you do good things, then good things will happen to you. If you do bad things, then bad things will happen to you. For every action, there is an equal & opposite reaction. It's a universal law.

Sometimes, some lessons are best learned the hard way. And I learned that some people are just awful people; & some people just don't want your help at all, so just leave them be. And it doesn't matter if you're a staff member or a temporary worker. What's more important is that you do good work & have a good character. Actions do speak louder than words, so act wisely, honestly, & conscientiously, & your hard work & excellent character will stand out, making you a more valuable, trustworthy, respectable, outstanding person & an extraordinary leader.

You've got power. How you use it is up to you. So use that power wisely. When you do good things, good things will happen to you. When you do good things, the world becomes a better, more fun, & more wonderful place.


  1. I worked as a temp two times and rather enjoyed it.

    The first company permanently used temps to staff some of their lower level positions. I worked two different temp positions there over the course of a year and enjoyed the interesting work. But there was no possibly of any of the temp positions becoming permanent. Everyone received an invitation to the annual Christmas party, even the temps. My group had to work the evening of the party. The manager said we all would get vouchers for dinner at a nice local restaurant instead. Eventually that changed to be a supermarket voucher for a frozen turkey for the permanent employees and nothing for the temps. HA!

    I next worked as a temp at another company, which hired many of the staff as temps to get them on-board whilst the rather lengthy hiring process proceeded to convert the position to permanent. So I worked there as a temp for five months, then as a permanent employee for over five years.

    1. LX, I'm glad your temp experiences were positive ones overall. That company party/frozen turkey debacle reminds me of the dilemma that occurs every holiday when I was temp. Either I would be assigned to work the holiday--& get holiday pay rate/overtime--or I would be off to enjoy the holiday & some poor staff sucker has to work. Either option was a win for me. I usually volunteer to work during the company party--usually because I prefer keep my private life separate from my work life, & I tend to say inappropriate things when alcohol is involved, usually honest, funny, filthy things that are not appropriate around the work environment.

      My temp jobs usually took 3 to 6 months. I'd renew or move on. That was a big part of the appeal for me, that feeling of freedom to move on. The longest I've ever worked as a temp in one location was for 11 months, & it suddenly dawned on me I had been there too long, gotten too settled, & I was feeling restless. So I moved on. I miss that kind of freedom & liberating feeling!

  2. I have temped once.... and yes, it is better to keep your head down. It's weird how invisible temps are.
    You are a nice man, Mr Swings.

    1. Thank you, Scarlet! That invisibility as a temp made work so much easier for me! No drama! So long as I got paid for my work,I was glad to be invisible & stay out of office politics.

  3. I live in fear of that pantyhose moment.

    1. MJ, That's why mothers everywhere wisely advise: Wear clean (& if possible, stylish) underwear!

      If there is a chance that you might show off your most precious asset, then you might as well present it in the most attractive display possible. The right frame means the difference between a piece of junk & a priceless masterpiece!

      And everyone should know the golden rule of working in a group environment: Cover Your Ass!!!*

      Always document your work & keep good records!

      *Exceptions are made for strippers, prostitutes, porn stars, art models, & occupations that require nudity & exposure of ass, i.e., a nude yoga instructor or a nudist camp receptionist or a religious/spiritual/cultural leader of a nude religion/culture.

  4. Always a pleasure to read your posts, sweetpea! xoxox

    1. Thank you, Savannah! It's always a pleasure to have wonderful friends like you visit & bring us smiles & joy.