Friday, August 19, 2005

Contractor? I'm not in construction!

I imagine most blogs are started out of boredom. My girlfriend started hers while trapped in a two day training at work in which they made the mistake of giving everyone computers with internet access. I suppose there are those people who blog out of a feeling of self-importance, but I am not one of them.

I don't know if I'm so much bored as in limbo. Since I moved to Minneapolis in November of 2003 (I came here because I was in love with someone- you need a drastic reason to move to Minneapolis at the start of winter), I've been working corporate temp jobs. The work has been tolerable, but mostly was gratifying only in that it kept me out of credit card debt. The problem with being a temp is that if you do a good job, you inevitably put yourself out of work. The upside to being a temp (or a "contractor" per corporate lingo) is that you can try to convince yourself that this is just a brief stopping point on your way to something better. But those reading closely will have noticed that I've been temping just shy of 2 years. Which is hardly "temporary" seeing as how I've only had 3 placements in 2 years, 2 of which were for the same corporation back to back. When you've worked for the same company for a year and a half, its isn't technically temporary. All I can really say about it is that I've had a series of entry level positions for two of the largest employers in the Twin Cities but haven't had health insurance or a single day of paid holiday or vacation that entire time.

When you are a temp, there is always an invisible line dividing you from the perms. Sometimes the line isn't even invisible; at one of the companies they actually make the badges for temps s a different color than the permanent employees. It can be a good thing. You can cheer up by telling yourself you haven't completely sold your soul to the devil; all you have to do is call up the temp agency and have them tell The Man you're not coming back. Not that I ever did that, but I could've. If you are lucky enough to have other temps in the same department you can gossip about the office shenanigans and go on about how you are just doing this until you go back to grad school. Even if all that talk is bullshit. You're not temping so you can have the flexibility to do your art or your activism on the side. You want more than anything for the company to offer you a different colored badge.

Usually that separation of temps and perms just sucks. The perms don't want to invest any time in you because they know you're just passing through, or worse, have decided to treat you as their personal secretary. You eat lunch alone in the overpriced cafeteria or at your desk, where you can at least email friends you are also trapped in cubicles and feel some camaraderie. The worst was when I was working at a place that wouldn't allow temps to participate in the office holiday gift exchange ("secret Santa" was re-dubbed "secret snowball" because not everyone believes in Santa). Look, if I've been coming to the same office on time for 6 months, I don't care if my paycheck comes from The Agency, I have a right to purchase and receive cheap crap as much as the next guy. I want to re-gift that stinky candle I got last year dammit!

Perhaps for my next entry, I'll try to figure out how I ended here. In the meantime, here's my current To Do list:

  1. Rx refill
  2. Blog (yea! I can check something off)
  3. Pay cc bill
  4. deposit Fringe + tax refund
  5. Allegra's B-day
  6. Job Hunt
  7. Find Summons
  8. Mail jeans/Cds/programs to Tony/Katie
  9. Buy stamps
  10. Therapist
  11. email family re: vacation

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