08 February 2008

Girl Friday, Temping in Corporate America

Maybe I shouldn't admit this, what with my expensive liberal arts eduation and my yay, feminists! break the glass ceiling, bitches! leanings, but... there is a part of me that really enjoys playing Molly Backes, Girl Secretary. (Does that need an exclamation point? I think it does.)

Molly Backes, Girl Secretary!

I like walking downtown in the raven black crowds of thin, hungry young people in their clacky heels and their pretentious bags. Ideally, I'd wear nylons with a seam up the back of each of my legs which disappears snugly into the heel of my two-toned pumps. I'll wear a jaunty hat and red lipstick and keep my fingers pertly arched over the keyboards, my perfectly groomed eyebrows raised and ready. Give me some office supplies: I will amaze you with my clever efficiency. Give me a letter to type: I will correct all your poor grammar and dangling participles. Give me a stack of invoices to file: I will file them alphabetically and chronologically, both. I will put sticky notes on everything. I will go the extra mile. What's that, Mr. Smith? You want me to explain the process through which a bill becomes a law while you renew my faith in Goodness and the American Spirit? I'm ready!

The beauty of temping is that it allows you to play work -- and even get paid! -- without actually having to work. I spent today on the 28th floor of a skyscraper downtown, putting labels on folders, alphabatizing things, um... typing... infused all day with the last-week-of-a-crappy-job attitude: this has nothing to do with me! This job in no way impacts my life! I am floating far above the drama and office politics, looking down with pity on you poor saps! Look at me, I have a visitor's pass and a temporary log-in! I'm free!

It reminds me of when I "worked" for my dad, over winter break one year in college. I'd show up to his office late, hung-over, wearing the same clothes in which I'd been dancing with strange men at some gross State Street bar mere hours before, and then delude myself into thinking that I was absolutely making an impact on his life by re-organizing his entire filing system. I was making an impact all right... wasting his secretary's time by allowing her to get me coffee and help hide my hangovers from my dad. Thanks, B, wherever you are! Haven't forgotten you!

Obviously, if this were a real job, I'd be mourning the slow erosion of my soul, watching the grey skies above the city with desperation. The office supplies wouldn't say, "Look how cute and efficient you can be" so much as, "How many ways can you slit your wrists with a paper clip and a pad of sticky notes?" I would get increasingly angry about petty things, like how is it that Jim always has a diet coke in his hand and yet he NEVER thinks to refill the fridge? Am I the only one in the building who knows how to brew a goddamn pot of coffee?

I'm sure I'll end up with one of those jobs soon enough, where the antics of my idiotic co-workers are enough to drive me absolutely insane, where I'm so annoyed that I'm even dreaming about how much I'd like to push them through one of those picturesque 28th floor windows.

But for now, for now... it's Ms. Backes Goes to Washington, it's Corporate Barbie on the Town, it's an endless month of Take Your Daughter to Work Day, with a little less coloring. With just enough fun... and just enough cash... to keep me coming back.

4 comments:

Rory said...

Hilarious! you fast- talkin' career gal! and you can say things like "Say! What gives?" Your next temp job needs to be as a secretary for a private dick; making sure he has a cleaned and ironed shirt in his desk drawer and make sure he doesn't go all soft over one of his dame clients. 'Cause after all, it's really you he loves; 'cause you're a reat tomata... you got a heart a gold, sister, and a way aboutcha...

Leslie said...

I friggin LOVE being a temp. Even in my job now, i know its going to end in June so I'm all "Whatever" and stuff. It really is a great thing to be.

Nora Rocket said...

"How many ways can you slit your wrists with a paper clip and a pad of sticky notes?"

Five, but they're really all just variations on a theme.

Enjoy your sojurn in office life: it'll getcha!

Paul C said...

Hi, Molly! Your post made me think of this guy in the paper today. Sounds like you two would be good for each other, right down to the stockings!

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentary/15454186.html