Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Just Call Me Thomas

Today was the literal embodiment of an anti-climax. If it was possible to bleed through the ears and nose through  sheer tedium I think I would have managed it.

I started my first temping assignment today - filling time between the previous job and Edinburgh - and I think it's safe to say it was far from finding my vocation...

While I was sitting in the  reception waiting to go in, it occurred to me that temping is a very odd scenario. There aren't many situations that you find yourself going in for a job where you have absolutely no idea who you'll be working for, what you'll be doing or why you're going to do it. Even weirder, the person employing you doesn't really understand who you are or whether you're appropriate. The waiting room did leave me to imagine a few scenarios that, whilst highly unlikely, made me consider shooting out the door fairly frequently...

"Good morning Miss Lexx, I just need you to sign these employment forms and then we'll show you to your desk. I think we'll start you off with a small weasel to begin with so that you can get your eye in. Do you think you'll need small or medium gloves? Might be best to go small to begin with because they can get a little slippery when you apply the tanning solution..."

"Good morning Miss Lexx, I'm so glad you've tied your hair back - you'll be working for Mr Daniels and he does like something to hold on to..."

"Good morning Miss Lexx, did you find our offices easily? Right, OK. On a scale of 1 to 10, how easily would you say you'd found them? Brilliant. Only our last few temps died of boredom within minutes, literally, so we like to make sure your next of kin will be able to get here without a problem..."

"Good morning Miss Lexx, Mr Attenborough won't be long..."

OK so maybe that last scenario was after I'd calmed down and had succumbed to the usual day dream (we won't go into the details).

Once I had been taken up to my desk I was confronted with the awful truth of what I will be doing for the next 3 weeks to keep food on the table and a rehearsal space rented... I will be booking trains. I book trains. I am a train booker. Someone emails me with a train they need booking, I book the train, then I tell them I've booked the train. That is my job.

I mean luckily the people seem brilliant so booking these trains is not going to hurt too much on a daily basis. In fact, booking these trains might be the calmest 3 weeks I've ever spent in my life. When I asked how many trains I'll be expected to book in a day, I was expecting a reasonable number. The number of trains I have to book in a day made my eyes water. It made me stagger backwards and want to question the Universe. If Brian Cox had been around we may have had to have sat down for a serious chat. How many trains am I expected to book in a day to hit target?


15 trains in my day in order to be competent. I am there for 8 hours a day. I must book less than 2 trains per hour in order to be considered a healthy adult worker. Nothing has shaken my world this much since they told me you could have Advent calendars with chocolate in them.

It's not that I'm not thrilled to have the job... it is exactly what I need while I doss about and put every single fibre of my being into making people notice how great I am... it's just that I can't get over the fact that this is a real job. Today I wasn't allowed to book any trains - I watched other people book trains and booked one of my own at the end of the day to see if I knew what I was doing. Tomorrow I will be allowed to book trains... if I succeed, I'll be back to tell you more...

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