Monday, November 22, 2010

The Next Big Thing

One of the most glaring things about temping in and around the industry is your lack of access. Sure, you’ll see the emails about employee screenings, about wellness seminars, about discounts at the company store and all their affiliates, but you can’t take part in them unless you’re a full time employee with one of those ID cards. I did crash an on-lot premiere party for a studio’s release one weekend, but those opportunities are few and far between. And all things considered, I wish I had been able to see the movie more than drink at the party.

When you’re a temp, it’s like you’re a ghost. You’re there, but you don’t count. You do the work, you don’t get the perks. You’re needed, but not appreciated. Not unless they hire you full time.

Nowhere is lack of access more annoying than trying to get onto your lot to report for work every morning. The full time employees buzz through the employee lane, the security guards scan their IDs, the parking gate arm raises up and off they go. Meanwhile, you’re left in the dust trying in vain to persuade the security guard that yes, you’re trying to get to work, no, you’re not trying to blow up the lot, and no, you don’t know why there’s not a pass for you in the system.

Nine times out of ten, the security guard will try to call your boss to clear you, not understanding that nobody will pick up the phone, because the person that picks up your boss’s phone is YOU, and you are not on the other side of the parking gate arm.

There are some really annoying security guards like that out there, and someday, maybe five years from now, I will list them all. And to be fair, for every really annoying security guard, especially the one that was the bane of my existence for a month, his compatriot right across the street at the other building I landed a two week gig at was an absolute sweetheart, and would let me in without batting an eye. He told me he worked for twenty years in customer service at an insurance company, that may have a lot to do with it, heh.

But it’s about access. It’s about the lowered parking gate arm. The symbol of how you don’t count. You’re half a person. You gotta wait.

I’ve been temping for a little shy of two years now. It’s grueling and debilitating stuff, especially when your boss claims he can’t hire you because, despite the eight or nine months you put into the gig, he hasn’t interviewed enough people to be able to make a decision. And you in turn have to tell that story in every subsequent interview you go on, because they wanna know why you’ve been temping for a little shy of two years. Don’t you want a full time gig? (Yes) Aren’t you good enough to hire full time? (Not according to that loser.)

The lowered parking gate arm.

That boss will get his in time, I have no doubt. You don’t yank someone around like that without incurring massive amounts of bad karma. And there were good things about that gig – I made a lot of great friends, who helped me take advantage of what perks I could (barbeque lunches during the summer.)

But temping for a little shy of two years is grueling and debilitating stuff. Especially when you’re turning down full time offers that you absolutely know would be the wrong place for you. And the thoughts that haunt you: Aren’t you good enough to hire? (Yes) Don’t you want a full time gig? (Not here, I don’t.)

The lowered parking gate arm.

Today was orientation day of my new full time position. It’s at one of the huge media conglomerates (one with a studio lot. Heh, THAT narrows it down, doesn’t it!?), and most of the day was spent exploring all the different perks and benefits available to us. If I’m understanding things correctly, I could take Spanish classes online. For free. Learning Spanish is on my Bucket List, right after Learning To Surf, Trip To Napa Valley, and Cruising On The New Disney Cruise Ship (my Bucket List is stupidly achievable.)

Even though this job will officially end my days o’ temping, I’m a little wary of what will happen next, for a variety of reasons that I may not be fully able to talk about in a public forum (because I signed one of those I Have Read The Standards Of Business Conduct things without actually reading it yet.)

But as I was trying to talk myself through it at the lunch paid for by Human Resources, I realized that the last two full time positions I’ve had have been temp to perm positions. Meaning I knew what the job was about. Here, I’ve been hired without knowing what the job is really like. Sure, I interviewed, and sure, I saw the place, and met my fellow co-workers, but you never know. Things could go horribly awry. The pros and cons list are running equal right now. Which is better than negative, but not as good as positive.

I love this picture. I’ve used it on the blog before, but it SO perfectly encapsulates my mood when embarking on any new life change. Thanks God! But please don’t let this suck!!!!

First thing they did when I reported for orientation today was take a picture of me for my ID card. These never go well, it’s hard to take a good picture of me in natural light, much less under florescent lighting with a pixilated camera.

And when we went downstairs for lunch and to hit the studio store for the studio tour, we had to go through the security clearances. I wondered if my ID had been activated to let me in, or if I was gonna have to plead with the security guard to buzz me through. I’ve pleaded with enough security guards to know how to make my case, and the ones here are amiable folks.

But I dug out the ID card and passed it over the card reader. The red X changed to a green arrow, and the plastic turnstiles retracted to allow me through.

I have access now. I officially count now. Lead on, God, lead on.

No comments: