Monday, February 6, 2012

Temp Slave Sounded The Early Warnings

Years ago when my life was a bunch of part-time and temp jobs pieced together, during the "zine" revolution of the 1990s, I discovered a magazine called Temp Slave. This was a magazine where young people were questioning why they were working dead end jobs, that offered absolutely no security or even guaranteed time at the job. Temp agencies, be it Manpower or a lesser known independent were a nightmare, giving you these terrible typing tests designed to make you fail. Even though you could type without even looking at the keyboard at home, complicated sentences and word-structure of what you were told to retype, tripped you up on purpose! Sucker, its the low level hard dirty factory work for you. Perky, lithe, made up women would give you jaded eye once overs and send you to jobs they wouldn't give to their dog.

They would send you to jobs where even with a college degree, one was relegated to hot plastic factory floors. I still remember when I was given the plum-job at the screw factory that was supposed to last three months. Walking past the stinking open vats of green goo that boiled the screws and washers, the boss fired me within a week for not being able to screw washers onto the screws fast enough.  Other nightmare temp jobs offered me marathon envelope stuffing, cleaning houses, scrapping plastic "skin tags" off cell phone covers and at one job that only lasted 1 hour, trying to lift 80lb. heavy acrylic windows [for RVs?], as an asthmatic woman without the best health, they mercifully sent me home.

Over time, I started warning my friends and young family members, "Do not work for a temp agency, if you do so, you will be nothing more then a rat in a caged maze that more often then not leads to a complete dead end! And like the rat, you will find yourself confused and dazed at the end of it all." During the course of my life, I've met only one person that turned a temp job into a pernament job.

Young people in the 1990s already knew they were being being shafted. Who ever heard of jobs, they could just take away on a whim 20 years earlier? Sure they sold temp work, trying to say there were endless middle class bored housewives who wanted to get out of the house for a few hours a week, and that it would help supplement their already decent enough incomes, but for most of those desperately calling Shelia or Jenny Monday morning at 7am for an assignment, temp work was all they had and they knew it, and it wasn't work one could really build your life on.

Temp jobs stink, is your rent temporary or your bills? --The Squawker


  1. I haven't known anyone in the past 15 years who was able to turn a temp job into something permanent. Yet, temp agencies continue to claim that every assignment is "temp to hire" after 90 days. And people keep believing their lies.

  2. Agreed, based on my own limited experience with the snakes -- but I suspect that little phrase ("temp to hire") is always included as a boilerplate marketing scam of some sort or other...anyway, thanks for writing. --The Reckoner