Essays from 116th Street

Self-therapy, since 2004...

Location: New York, New York

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Temp Agency Saga

We here on 116th street were pretty proud to get shouted out today on Deadspin, one of The Favorite Web Sites of 116th street, and the extra exposure made further "sportswriting" a tempting proposition, but I feel the need to keep it real...

I have been spending significant portions of my day hanging around temp agencies, in search of a job beyond that of my wildest imagination. My ongoing temp agency experience has been a fairly surreal experience; I went in initially expecting a straightforward job interview, but I was surprised to discover that they do things a little differently. The office was full of activity, and the receptionist was terrible. Not only did I not get a "May I help you?", there were like 3 different sign-in clipboards to choose from, and I had no assistance in picking out the right one for me. While I'm busy signing in, some guy gets in line behind me; no sooner does he come to a full stop behind me, than the receptionist looks at him and asks, "May I help you sir?" Sigh...
I sit down to fill out some paperwork, when I hear, from the room next door (which sounds like a trading floor), "Zachary Jackson," followed by a different voice saying, "Zachary Jackson?" and one more, for good measure: "Zachary Jackson." "Christ help me, they are talking about me, and loudly," I think to myself, wondering if my resume was horrible, or if my old company had flagged me or something, or any of the other paranoid thoughts you get when you hear your name coming from the next room.
I sat down to do the interview with my "agent," Courtney, and it was less of a job interview than ordering nuggets at Wendy's could be. There were tons of softballs lobbed, and I hit them all for doubles, and at the end she tried to hire me for herself. I told her I would think about it, shook her hand about three different times on the way out, and I bounced.
Today was more fun than usual, though, as I went to take a few tests. The first was a typing exam, and it seemed more like a commercial for WordPerfect than anything else. You were supposed to copy a text that read something like, "WordPerfect is a wonderful tool. It can end world hunger, unite the nations and help you finish your documents on time, etc..." The text was also full of spacing and punctuation errors, and I wasn't sure whether or not I was supposed to include them in my typing (maybe they were trying to see if I was paying attention), or type the way a nominally educated person would. In the end, I decided to make my 3rd-grade teacher, Claudia Albanese, proud by remaining gramatically correct. The following tests were all for Microsoft Office programs, and contained some very confusing instructions. The test was called "Prove It!", which I suppose was meant to be a confidence-inspiring title, but ultimately filled me with self-doubt (what am I supposed to prove? That East Harlem and Harlem are separate entities? That knowing how to "merge selected cells" solidifies my masculinity?). As I said, the instructions were confusing, as the test didn't really deign to using actual computer jargon, but instead said things like "change the selected cell to A3." I was looking at the screen and couldn't figure out what that meant for like 5 minutes, before I realized that they simply wanted me to select cell A3.
Anyway, when the test was over, my agent was busy in a meeting, so the horrible secretary called me, saying, "Zachary? You can go... (she motioned her hand in a push-away gesture) You can just go. You can call Courtney, later." So that's it, no score, no percentile, nothing, I can just... go. I feel so loved. Hey, Dan Courtemanche, MLS Senior VP for Marketing and Communications, if you read my "expert" opinion on Deadspin and liked my "Great Soccer FAQ," I'm available!


Blogger Ant said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:47 PM  
Blogger Z. Jackson said...

Sorry Jake, I took your comment down, there's people that are looking at this site these days, I don't want to come off as unprofessional to them...

(But I'll look into it for you if I get the chance...)

9:30 AM  

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