Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kelly Girl Keeble

I don't which made me laugh more. The check for 22 cents or the reminder that I was once a Kelly "girl."

The 22 cent check is probably easier to explain. I worked for Kelly for just a few months when the wife was home pregnant with our second child and there was a genuine danger we would have killed each other if we spent another minute in each other's company during that cold winter of 2005. Because I worked for them, I became a recipient of a settlement given to all Kelly employees over... something or other.

But why Kelly? And what the hell did I do for them when I did work there? Read on.

The wife encouraged me (though, as you read above, I didn't need much encouragement to get out of the house) to find some paying work while she was home waiting for the chillen to arrive. I went to the city to sign up with a temp agency there, which certainly had more appeal than temping around Northern NJ, but nothing came of it. I was up against hundreds of people just on the morning I spent being assessed and having my typing speed, etc. checked. When it was clear there wasn't going to be much chance of getting anything in NYC, I headed out to Kelly in NNJ to see what was what.

I worked three gigs while a Kelly employee in about two months. I was selective of the jobs I took, but not really. As you will see when I describe them to you. The meagre settlement check will verify I was hardly in the running for temp-of-the-year.

My first job was to supervise an exam at a tech company. Eight or nine people were taking some test or other and I had to be there to make sure they didn't cheat. I forget what the pay rate was (and Kelly took some of it, of course) but once the exam started - and it was an hour long - it occured to me I didn't bring a book or anything to pass the time. I just sat and watched and listened to the scratching of pencil on paper for an hour. For less than $20, certainly.

My second job topped that. A conference at a hotel in Hackensack had been cancelled at short notice. I was the short notice. I went to the hotel lobby, and had to identify those people looking for a conference that wasn't listed for teachers, and tell them it was cancelled and that they could go home. Only one of the 20 people I sent home early did anything except say "great" and go home. She kicked up a stink wanting to speak to my boss (Kelly?) but she was very nice and was only trying to cover her back. She had me sign something to say she was there ready to attend, but was unable to. Another couple of hours doing something which someone had to do I suppose for less than $50.

The third one was magnificent. I was to assist at a conference at yet another hotel in Hackensack, this time with another employee. I forget his name, but he was a part-time Kelly temp, part-time store detective at a department store. The conference was for women, hosted by women, and was all about empowering women. And the first thing the attendees saw when they walked in to check their registration? Two men. A full day of temping netted a nice amount of cash, considering I didn't really do anything after checking everyone in and sell some materials to the women who got friendlier as the day went on. One of the lecturers got sick and cut things short, so even after helping her carry her stuff back to her car, I had worked a full day of gainful employment for the first time in two years. The highlight was eating a huge burger in the hotel restaurant at lunchtime, which probably accounted for a quarter of my pay check.

So, the 22 cent check will be deposited into the Disney saving fund and go towards a fraction of something fun, much as its source did in the cold, dark winter months and the last days when I only had one child. But the memories of being a Kelly temp will live on... until replaced by something else as surreal or story-worthy later in my life.

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