Tuesday, August 14, 2012

8-08-12 Survival Jobs for Writer-Musicians -- Starter Job #172 (Working Temp in NYC, Getting the jobs)

All right. But before we describe those many wonderful clerical/secretarial tasks mentioned in the previous post, a few words about actually GETTING the work (in the pre-computer age):

First of all, I had to call around to find a temp agency that I could work with, a place that would appreciate and utilize my talents, experience, and work ethic. That wound up being Accurate Temporaries in downtown NYC. I had to go there, dress nice, interview, register, take a typing test. Once in, I was pretty much on (unspoken) probation. But then, once I started and completed about five assignments, the people in the temp office actually started remembering my name, my face.

So, to get the work, I’d call the office. For example:

“Hello, Accurate. This is Lauren Agnelli. Are there any jobs I could fill for you from now through August 31st?”  Or I’d also ask, “Is Denise available for a minute?”  Denise was one of the counselors and the office manager and I liked her very down-to-earth, Working Girl manner, accent, and directness. 

Denise was tall, big boned, with hazel eyes and dark, straight hair that was longish and in a kind of flip. She was an attractive woman who was only about five years older than me, I thought. Then again, we might have been the same age, but as a very responsible office manager with the power to hire and fire, she seemed somehow older. I have to thank her time and again for keeping me working through those crazy eighties and even nuttier nineties.

But rather than calling on the phone, Accurate Temporaries preferred for their temps to actually wait around in the office and sit on chairs against the wall, huddled next to each other. That way, when the call came in for a temp worker, Accurate could just give one of the waiting workers the nod, scrawl down the information on a piece of paper, and send them out to work right away.

Of course, some people never got called to work, so those unlucky ones waited around for two, three hours in the office, then went home, empty handed and heavy hearted. . .

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