Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Temporary Insanity

It has been an obscene amount of time since I last wrote but as I have quite a lot of time on my hands now that I've gone 'freelance' (free being the operative part of that word) I thought I should attempt to write something and may as well start where I left off in August 2011...

I know it was a bit of a ranty, woe-is-me post but, you know, sometimes things build up and if someone's not going to let you take a few hours off for a funeral then they deserve to be passive-aggressively talked about behind their backs.

A couple of months after I wrote it I left the temp agency, and the Probation Service, for a full time job in an art gallery, which sounded like a dream job in theory as I love art and it would involve looking at and talking about it all day. However it would also involve selling which is probably my greatest weakness - I couldn't sell a badge to a badger - and in my interview, when she let me get a word in edgeways, I informed my prospective boss of this important fact, which is why I was surprised when she offered me the job. The target for each month was £10,000 (EACH) which was ridiculous given on an average day a total of three people would come in but these were the days when I'd forgotten how to use my gut instinct so of course I signed the contract. Taking it would allow me to achieve my goal of no longer reading about and meeting peodophiles and murderers at the Probation Service and getting more hours.

My gut smugly gurgled "I told you so" when my boss turned out to be a megalomaniac with a penchant for put downs and picking rather than praise. In my first week she told me off for saying "Hello" when people walked in and that I should instead be saying "Good morning/afternoon"; later that day, and on several occasions after that, I heard her greet people with "Hello". In my first few days I watched with amazement at the way she spoke to her staff and knew I wouldn't be able to put up with it for long.  She would jump on people the minute they entered the building, supergluing their hands to the most expensive piece of art so they had no choice but to buy. It did not go down well the day I told her I didn't believe in pouncing on people as in my own personal experience being sold to is a complete turn off. If I want something I will buy it, I don't need to be held at gunpoint by a card machine. She would complain that her staff's sales weren't high enough yet many of her sales came from poaching customers we'd been slowly but surely warming up to a modestly priced painting. At my three week review she implied that if my sales didn't improve by the six week mark I wouldn't have a job anymore despite the fact I was meant to be on a reduced target for my first couple of months. I'm a carrot kind of girl so the stick was not appreciated, nor the moving of the goal posts. At that moment I decided I'd save her the job of firing me at six weeks and hand in my notice then instead. Without lining up a replacement job I politely told her I would rather live on the streets than spend another day in her company. Obviously I said nothing of the sort but I was still caught off guard by her reaction to my resignation - she spent a few days trying to persuade me to stay. I think this had more to do with her getting a track record for high staff turnover than my skills as an art salesperson but she did compliment my greatness in all other aspects of the role so who knows what her motivation was*.

So off I went at the end of November with no job and signed up to another temp agency despite my warning of August's post "NEVER EVER GET WORK (if they can get you any) THROUGH AN AGENCY!" and bloody hell was I proved wrong. Not only were they thoroughly understanding about the situation I found myself in at the gallery (yes I told them everything)  but they got me a job within a week, and it was at a school so came with the added bonus of school holidays. Hurray!!

I was only meant to be there for a few weeks but I ended up staying for a few months at which point I decided it was time to move back down to London. In preparation for the move I emailed a few temp agencies and wondered why none of them got back to me. A couple of weeks later I logged into my LinkedIn profile as it needed updating and then I saw it. A link to my blog. A link to my blog about poo. A link to my blog where the last post was slagging off temping agencies. Shit balls. I promptly deleted the link. What was I thinking directing people of the professional world to, yes, an example of my writing, but writing intertwined with toilet musings and the slagging off of a working organisation? If we were in a court of law I would have to claim temp-orary insanity (haha, sorry).

Thankfully not long after disposing of the link I heard from a couple of the agencies (I still haven't heard back from the others) and went with the London branch of the one I'd last used in Harrogate. A week later and I had a job on the top office floor of The Gherkin! You can't knock a temp agency that gets you a job in one of London's top landmarks and so I shall withdraw my slagging off of temp agencies (I was, of course, insane at the time) and say that if you need to go with one then Brook Street gets the job done.

*ridiculously high staff turnover statistics, definitely.

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