posted Sun, 17 Sep 2006
At the carnival, waiting for Carnival Guy to give us our shirts and assignments. Only 21 of the 24 temps have arrived and we are talking about the three no-shows.
Susan (temp agency rep): I can tell you, these three won’t ever work for this temp agency again! Not only that, but I’ll be calling the unemployment office to report them.
This is a shame spiral. It’s how you feel when you say something really stupid, hurtful and insensitive to people.
Me: What does calling the unemployment office do?
Susan: If they’re on unemployment and turn down work, it affects their benefits. [She explained exactly how, but I don’t remember. I think they lose their check for the week.]
Me: Why would you not show up for a job you’d agreed to do? That’s just ridiculous. It shows a complete lack of respect and work ethic.
Temp 1: Umm hmmm.
Temp 2: Yeah!
Me: How many days have you missed work in your life? For any reason?
Temp 1: Once, and I’ve been working since I was fifteen. I’m 32
Susan: Seven months. That was for bed rest when I was pregnant.
Me: I’ve missed three days in 20 years of working and one of them was for a hangover.
Susan: It’s going to hurt them at unemployment. I get called all sorts of mean names, but I don’t care. If you have a chance to work, you need to work.
Me: I mean, I’d rather die than take unemployment. Well, not die but you know what I mean.
[Dead silence. I realize that Temp 1 and Temp 2 might be on unemployment. They might not have gotten severance packages. They might not be able to feed their kids without that weekly check. Ooops.]
Me [backpedaling]: I mean, I was really, really lucky with my old job. I got a good severance package. I’m healthy and there is no reason I shouldn’t be working. I shouldn’t take unemployment.
Susan: Unemployment is for people who really need it. But there are people who abuse the system.
Me [still sweating]: Yeah. But there’s no reason I can’t work. So I should. I don’t want to sit at home being bored. And I need the money. Is that guy ever going to give us our shirts?
The end of the line
11 months ago