This is a long story… Where do you start in a long story when you’re too lazy to start at the beginning?
After graduating with a bachelors in history, I ended up sliding backward into the familiar territory of factory work. I would have loved to have found a job that used my degree but circumstances have stranded me in an area where a career in my field is near impossible to break into (or maybe I’m so clueless as to what the next step is… Honestly, what the hell do you do with a bachelors in History?). So here I am, back on the market for unskilled labor. It was usually an easy gig to get, search through want ads and and ‘click-clacking ‘online for businesses and employment sites. All of which led me to Temp Agencies…
For those of you unfamiliar to Temp Agencies allow me to explain, there are establishments put into place to exploit blue-collar workers for the least amount of pay possible, including some of the most condescending attitude possible, while catering to their clients with the least amount of proper training possible. This isn’t an observation of one Temp Agency, it’s the observation of several with little to no variation away from the worst case scenario.
I’ve had the experience of sitting in a number of these places with the distinct feeling of being on auction… thinking, who really benefits from this practice?
There are over a dozen Temp Services in my town alone with a large number of companies that works exclusively through them. I’ve sent resumes to over fifty such companies only to get replies telling me that they will not accept them. But this has to be a good thing right? Now an “unskilled worker” (I prefer Factory Jockey myself) can come to one location and apply to a variety of businesses a professional helps to place them in a mutually beneficial employed position and it becomes a win-win situation!
Isn’t an Unemployment office supposed to do that?
This is the age of the internet isn’t it? Are there not a million online sites that offer applications? You don’t even need to leave your home!
As it turns out, both unemployment offices and online sites simply refer you back to those Temp Agencies. and that’s when the giant light bulb in my head switched on… I’m not the client at a temp agency, I’m the product.
Strictly from my experience there were a number of positions I worked directly through the company while working Temp Workers, doing the exact same job. In all those scenarios (about eight by my count) the Temp Workers were paid less, receiving no benefits or vacation time, and was trained significantly less on site than I was. In fact, Temp Workers are often resented by company hired workers because they are often arbitrarily placed in their position with little to no training (which greatly reminded me of scab workers in American History). Without a doubt this leads to a stressful working relationship for everyone involved when full-time employees are saddled with training obligations for co-workers who were not properly trained in the first place because they are somehow “less of an employee” as the rest of the crew. In some companies the separation is so absolute that in cafeterias and break rooms the tables are segregated between the ‘Company Worker’ and the ‘Temp Worker’.
In many of these cases the people who go to Temp Agencies are misplaced workers from other jobs, spouses who are now new single parents that were staying at home to raise their children and a hundred other types of individuals who are simply trying to gain a stable income. They are people who are in the midst of financial stress and a varied degree of desperation an now are “placed” in a position in which they know very little about (In some cases they know nothing since it is a common policy for a Temp Agency not being able to give information about the companies they are placing for. Seriously… you have to decide,m on the spot, if you want to work for a company before you even know what the company is). It is really no wonder why the turn over for Temp Workers are so large and because of it, they are labelled as some of the worst kind of worker you can possibly work with. It’s much like consenting to playing a game of high stakes where the other players take the game VERY seriously, but you are the only one not told how to play and then held accountable for playing it badly and ruining the experience for everyone else.
Temp Agencies as they are operating currently are a blight in our existence. The workers get shafted and treated like second rate citizens and companies who benefit financially from them (I assume) lose twice as much from the ignorance of lost production.
If interested, I can certainly go on… But I need more coffee.