In which I pit the temp service I work for

So, after a little more than two months of futilely searching for a job so I can have an income until I get my license for massage therapy, I finally ended up with the only place that would hire me.

It’s a temp service that contracts custodial and food-service work to a couple of the convention centers in town.

There is a two-hour window on Wednesday from 10:00 am to noon when you have to call in your availability for the following week. I overslept and missed it, so I have no guarantee of work for next week. My bad. I’ve been mostly working swing, so I opted to stay up until the wee hours to maintain my sleep cycle (on days I work, I usually get home around four in the morning). So, I logged off the Dope, studied for a couple of hours for the national certification exam (I’m taking it Friday, yay) and went to sleep.

No slack, I missed the window. Which was, of course, my fault. I still can go in Monday morning and see if I can get someone else’s schedule.

OK, now for the rant.

Employees are required to physically go in to the office to pick up our schedules. We can’t call and get them. Sure, we have from Friday afternoon til Monday morning, but WTF? The majority of us take the bus, which, for many, means a two hour one-way trip to the office. The office is only open limited hours over the weekend. So, if someone is scheduled to work the weekend, there is a pretty good liklihood that they may not be able to make it in to the office to pick up the schedule, which means they will not get work for the week. What the hell kind of a screwed-up policy is that?

Also, about this two-hour window- what the hell is that? I mean, yeah,it was my fault I missed it today, but the company also sends people out to work day shift, and at at least one of the companies they contract with, employees do not get breaks. That is correct- workers have to work straight through from 8:00 till whenever somebody decides in their infinite kindness to let them go to lunch, usually not until around one in the afternoon. Which means that someone working a Wednesday day shift may not even have an opportunity to physically get to a phone to make the call. Way to screw the day-shift people, man!

Next on the list is the calling to get your number thing. About two and a half hours before the shift starts, people are required to call in to get a number, which we then give to the person at the sign-in desk. Now that’s just silly. Can’t we just get our schedule and show up at the appointed time? Why the numbers? Do the people at the work sites not know how to list names in alphabetical order?

Oh, and back-ups. If someone misses the availability call-in window, or just wants to try to pick up an extra shift because they need the bread. they have to physically go to the office about two-and-a-half hours before the shift begins. Which, for quite a few people, means a two hour bus trip. To sit and hang out and see if someone fails to call in to get their number, or calls off sick. Is there really a logical reason why a person can’t just call in to see if a shift has become available, or get put on a list to be called if someone calls off?

So, anyway, Monday morning I’m going to drag my tired, sore ass (I’m scheduled swing Sunday night, which means I’ll be getting home around 4:00 am) into the office at precisely 10:00 am and see if I can snare the schedule of some poor sod who was unable to make it in over the weekend because they had other obligations, like, oh, say, working for the damn temp service.

It seems to me that the company goes out of its way to make it as difficult as possible for an employee to both physically show up for work and do all the things required to make sure they will have work the following week.


Gee, that wasn’t much of a rant, was it?

Not as good as your earlier rant about your coworker. But maybe Agent Foxtrot can come in and spice it up for you. You know, trim it down a bit, criticize you, and speak for every other member of this board.

But that aside, I wish you luck in surviving (read: putting up with) this job until you get your massage therapy certification. I admire you for doing what you need to do so that you can pursue your passion.


I used to work for a temp agency too, and they pulled this shit on me: I had to come in every week to pick up my paycheck. Nope, they couldn’t mail it. They were across the river from the assignment I worked at.

I finally badgered them into letting my SO pick it up, who happened to work on the same side of the river as them, down the street. It took three weeks to convince them it was OK.

Oh, and speaking of badgers:

(SFW, just noisy)

Wow. As someone who has thought of temping, mostly for the variety, let me say this has put me squarely off that idea. I can’t believe they would make it so difficult. Is this a common practice among agencies?

I don’t know what it is about temp agencies, but they seem to thrive on petty bureaucracy. And cheapness.

I worked for one once where they claimed in their literature that they had great benefits, including vacation pay. “Work 1500 hours in a year and get 2 weeks vacation pay!” Great! I can do 1500 standing on my head. All was well until that summer, when suddenly there was no work to be had. The economy, apparently, had taken a serious downturn. But not to worry, a month later suddenly I had full time work. And within a few days, I’d gone over 1500 hours. So I’d get my vacation pay, right?


It seems that the economic downturn happened to coincide with my 1 year mark. You see, I’d worked something like 1482 hours in the one year period. The next 18 hours I’d worked were after that period had ended. So, technically, I had not met the requirement of working 1500 in 365 days. And it was in those last crucial days that “Gee, no one seems to be hiring these days.”

Needless to say, I was a bit miffed. I argued with the temp office. I argued with the regional manager. I argued with the vice president (of the company – there was no point in getting into it with Dan Quayle). I asked her to connect me with the president. No dice. I finally made a threat to call the papers, then I slammed the phone down on her.

So I was permanently persona non grata at that temp agency from then on. But I got my vacation pay. :smiley:

While I didn’t have that problem with scheduling or paychecks (they’d mail them OR we could pick them up, whatever our preference), I did often get calls from the agency at roughly 8am telling me I had a position that day and for the next few days or months, or whatever. So, I’d shower, be all happy b/c I’d be making a little cash…

then they would call and say “oh, they decided they don’t need a temp”.

Then they’d call back ten minutes later, “they need a temp, but they want to interview b/c it’s for three months”

ok, set up interview. Go to interview (walk there in sweltering heat, b/c I live in Boston and it was faster than taking the T b/c of the location). Interview. Do very well b/c I’m actually pretty good at interviewing.

Get a call later that day. They love me! (of course) BUT…they decided to give the job to the president’s neice…(like they didn’t know that was going to happen when they interviewed me…)
This happened more than once (not the neice situation, that, at least, was unique), but the “they need you! no they don’t! yes the do! no, wait, never mind, we’ll call you when we have another position!”
grrr…now I have a real job! Temp to perm, but still…it wasn’t through that agency


But before I got with the one I’m with, I did a whole week with another service. I called them up just as my week-long gig was ending to let them know I’d be available starting the following Monday, and… they never called me back. They had basically done a mass hiring because they needed bodies to work a particular show, and when it was over, it was over. Of course, they didn’t have the having to come in every thirty seconds thing, the only reason you actually had to go there was to get your check. Which is kind of useless if they don’t keep you working.

At least with this outfit, I can get 3-4 days a week, through the convention season anyway.

I don’t know what it’s like in the rest of the country but here with the more mainstream agencies (Manpower, Kelly, Talent Tree), what happens is, you fill in your application/give them your resume, do the interview, and then… three months later, after you’ve already found a permanent job, they call you and tell you they have a gig, which most likely is the Gig Nobody Else Would Take [sup]TM[/sup]

I had that happen once…

It was a longer term temp position, so I needed to interview. I went, I interviewed, I liked the company, as far as I knew, they liked me. A few days later, the temp company called me to say that I had the job, come by their office to sign the papers later that week. It was a Friday afternoon, I went, I signed a bunch of stuff, I got all the paperwork I’d need to fill out the next Friday for the job. I shook some hands and made sure several times which day and at what time I was supposed to start working. I was told that they wanted me there at 9 on Monday.

Monday morning, I woke up, made it to the job 15 minutes early, walked in, asked for the appropriate people and had everyone looking at me funny. I waited around for about a half an hour while there was busy activity going on. Turns out, I hadn’t been hired. They’d told the temp company that they didn’t want to hire a temp after all. A week before. Before I knew I had the job, before I’d signed a bunch of stuff… I guess the people who told me to go were hoping that maybe the company wouldn’t realize they hadn’t hired me if I were there in person and they’d just give me some work … temp companies are bizarre.