i'll work for eight cents an hour.

the temp agency wasn't what i expected it to be. before i ever go somewhere, i always envision what it will look like. i imagine most people do this, too. i imagined a very sterile, open office, much like the red cross i worked at in seattle. i imagined many yes-men in suits, busy in their cubicles, and women with business suits pacing one end of the office to another with files and/or manila envelopes in hand. but, as it usually goes with any other situation, it did not look like this.

first off, i ended up at the wrong place. and just to be clear, the website, even at this point in time, still says this place is located in the wrong place. check it: http://www.bmistaffing.com/
so i'm not totally crazy. it's actually located at 1325 howe ave. the receptionist laughed on the phone when i told her i was at 2020 hurley way, (you know, because that's where the website said they were located) and she told me where i should be.

bmi staffing, the temp agency, was much smaller than i expected. i guess they normally recruit warehouse workers and construction workers because i obviously didn't look like i fit the average client's profile. an older man, probably late 30's or early 40's arrived just as i did. the woman greeted both of us, then had us go into a smaller room to fill out applications. in addition to the application, there was a mini-quiz. its purpose was, i suppose, to weed out anyone who couldn't do basic addition, or know how to alphabetize five states, which are vital skills for any profession, as we all know. another question was to count circles that had dots in them. i counted 15. so i wrote it down. the quiz actually reminded me a lot of the cbest. i guess it makes it easier for the state of california and for bmi staffing to shoot down anyone who can't read or add or subtract without having to deal with complaints about discrimination or handicap issues. i'm not sure.

anyway, when i finished my application, w-4, and mini-quiz, the receptionist sat me down for an interview. she was surprised that i was a college graduate and a former americorps volunteer. "that's very interesting," she said. then, when another woman who looked like her supervisor arrived, she asked, "do you have any questions for him?" the woman put on her most serious face and asked, "what are your strengths and weaknesses?" i answered with the typical bullshit, but i lacked the rare enthusiasm i normally have when interviewing for jobs that i actually want. regardless, both seemed pretty impressed.

the receptionist then took me back into the little room to watch a video. even though i told her i was strictly searching for clerical, or administrative work, she sat me down to watch this video. "it's very short," she said. the video was about how not to hurt your back when lifting heavy objects. it was intended, i think, for the man who actually wanted a warehouse job. but, for some reason, he didn't watch it. i did. and while i watched, i overheard his interview. "i'm a hard worker," he said. "i learn quickly. i'm punctual." blah blah blah. and then, i heard him say, "i'm willing to work for just eight cents an hour." i know he wasn't being serious, but either way, it was a strange thing for him to say.

on the way out, i trailed behind him. he slowed down. "have you checked out many agencies?" "no," i said, "just this one." "this is like my fourth, fifth one," he said. "the last place i went to found me a construction job. $7.35 an hour. i spent like an hour and a half walking from the bus stop. it wasn't worth it." "yeah," i said, "that's too bad." "well, anyway, good luck." he hopped on his bike and rode away.


Dtrap134 said...

was this BMI staffing place located across the street from that Howe'bout arden area? If so, then you probably went to the same temp agency I went to. It's owned by my friend's step dad. They couldn't find me a job that worked around my school schedule so I had to find one on my own.

ms.meggie said...

that man breaks my heart.