Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Odd job.

I never know what to expect when I'm sent on a temp job. Take my week "archiving" in London's Theatreland. Or, packing up an entire office full of Kate Winslet's discarded scripts and boxing up stacks of D-list celeb contracts. Daily perks = having a nose at Sienna Miller's passport photo and checking the going rate for a Holby City actress. Downsides = photocopying for the remaining 7 hours and 27 minutes of the day.

This job in the City is pretty odd too. Given that I have absolutely no prior knowledge of property stuff or this company, I don't half get asked some silly questions. A few minutes ago, a Director came past and enquired how I was getting on with "raising the August fees for the I.P.R.H. Z Blah Blah.Y.T.H.A Portfolio". Raising the who? From what? To where? By when? How? Gissa clue, at least.

At the other extreme, you've got permanent employees asking me where things are. Where are the envelopes kept? Where's the audio typing equipment? How are the reports normally formatted? All standard questions to ask an admin person, yeah? Except I don't know. Never been told, don't have a clue. Nowhere to find out. Couldn't even make an educated guess half the time. For one, there's no stationary cupboard - now that threw me. I wasn't even given a pen and no one knew where I could get one. Asking another secretary doesn't help, because they do things differently in their teams, apparently. I've had no handover, no notes, no induction - which makes even the simplest tasks a struggle. Then they assume a financially clueless temp like me will instinctively start sorting the team's fee books. Negative, Ghostrider.

I'm not convinced this lot can count anyway. Yesterday I was given a set of figures to add up on a report:

10.0 + 240.0 + 60.0 + 70.0 = 380.0


No. The page was returned to me with a green cross through my handywork. Check this:

10.0 + 240.0 + 60.0 + 70.0 = 392.5 apparently. Now maths isn't my strong point, but seriously - word?

Having initially been told I was here for 2 weeks, I'm now skipping into my fourth. Last week I was offered a 6 month contract, but I'd already sorted work for next month and travelling. As HR have only just told my boss that I'm leaving on Friday, he gave me a call: "Hi Jo, how's it going? I hear you're going back to university".

Am I? Brilliant! That's news to me, just like everything else.


All Mod Cons said...


Just to let you know, all those + signs, they equal 0.5. New EU regulations passed on from our bosses, in America.

Kirses said...

ah the attention to detail is astonishing... enjoy your studies!

Rage Against The Dying of the Light said...

Wonderful stuff. Sad thing is, I can imagine all that happening, and I know people who would do things like that.

Still, made me chuckle.

miss*H said...

your archiving job sounds much for fun that mine...i like the way job agencies call it 'archiving' and not filing.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

Well, it's not really their business, is it? If I were you, I'd tell them you are entering a four-month human behavior experiment (aka reality TV show).

Anonymous said...

Stationary cupboards are overrated anyway.

Blue soup said...

I think The City does it on purpose... you know, is deliberately confusing and vague and expects you to just know how things work. It's their way of keeping everyone else out. They've probably been expecting you to up and run away screaming since day one...

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

All mod - See that could be the truth, or it could be a lie. Thats how baffled I get with numbers.

Kirses - Ohhh man, the lack of communication is insane...

Rage - I think every office has exactly the same characters!

miss H - Yes, 'admin' covers a range of tasks, I find.

Unbearable - Maybe they couldn't quite conprehend why I'd want to leave if it wasn't for some incredible life changing experience like uni. ;)

Perp - So's looking after them. Fact.

Blue - See I thought it was kind of a test to begin with - then I realised that no, they just actually think they know what I'm doing. Its mental. I like your theory.


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