Temporary employment to me just sounds clinical and cold, but due to the overwhelming “advice” from my friends and family I decided to give it a shot. After renewing my gym membership and chatting with the handsome teller at Bank of America I walked to this unnamed agency. For the sake of my story let’s call it “Terrific Temp Agency!”
Upon entering Terrific Temp Agency a little waiting area is set up, three chairs and a water cooler. The front desk is unmanned and silence blankets the office. I jangle my keys and slide my phone up and down to make subtle hints of my arrival. No smiley face is there to greet me so I turn to go and as I push the door a “ding” chimes. So I open and close the door a few times until a lady with dark hair and severe bangs arrives at the front desk. “Fill out these forms but only the highlighted parts on pages 3, 4, & 5.” I smile and thank her. “You can fill them out back here; it will only take you a few minutes… well at least it should.”
I let myself into a small room with library style desks. (Or what I imagine them to look like, never having been a big fan of libraries.) They have raised side walls for privacy or to prevent cheating. I began to fill out the forms, pretty standard stuff: Job History, Name, Address, and Emergency Contacts. Around page four things got a little fishy. First they wanted me to spot the spelling errors. (I didn’t see any) Then they wanted me to pick the word that fit the sentence better “Their or He/She liked to type essays.” After that it was math questions and categorizing things alphabetically. At this point I wished they had given me a pencil. My page was littered with X’s and dark circles around the one I REALLY meant to pick.
When I finished it was back to m usual routine of key jingling, a Latino lady appeared this time took my pages and scowled. “I see you have checked you have experience with word, what your WPM?” I smiled and shrugged and she took me to the computer room for more tests. Now when I checked computer skills I meant I knew how to write a page double spaced on women in theater, I didn’t know what I was in for but I was confident. Seated in front of a computer that had the exact computer I learned how to play “Number Munchers” and “Oragon Trail” in the second grade, I started my test. Question 1: Change the front from Times New Roman to Arial. Question 2: Double space the highlighted portion. After the question about adding a clip art of an airplane and I accidently clicked on a boat it was all downhill from there. After my failed computer test it was time for my WPM evaluation. It was a timed test and I started of strong. The subject of the article I was typing was the difficulty in finding a job without the proper skills. It read of horror stories of an unstable job Market, even managers jobs weren’t safe anymore. It was the last 10 seconds and I was only on the 1st paragraph. The most depressing paragraph I had ever written. At the end of my last sentence I added a exclamation point in hopes to make my article more exciting! See?
Anxious to get my scores and find my new and exciting job, I skipped the usual routine and just went straight for the door. Open, close, open, close, the dinging was chipper and hopeful much like myself. A unseen woman yelled angered at the noise, I stopped and slowly made my way to the front desk. A different woman named Kate came to tell me the good news. “Well, you appear to be a bit under qualified… times are a little slow here and at your skill level… you’re not very marketable.” The look on my face must have struck her somewhere in her cold heart because she smiled and offered, “We always have jobs working phone lines!” Kate gave me her card and returned to whatever it is she really does for a living. What does she care she already has a job, not sitting at the front desk. As I exited into the hot summer day, the sound of the bell lingered in my ear. It wasn’t until a block or to later that I realized I never found out my WPM!!!!!!!!!!!!!