I know I’ve been bad with keeping up with blogging, and its been over a month. But life as a temp was pretty unexciting, and the truth is that once I got over the first couple of hilariously awkward weeks, adapting to new offices wasn’t all that hard, or interesting. It was just painfully boring, and who really wants to hear excruciating details about that? But anyways, it’s time to cue the Hallelujah chorus people, because I’ve got some big news—I’m NOT A TEMP ANYMORE!!! I have a real job now!!!
Okay, I fibbed a bit—I’m an unpaid intern. Which I guess doesn’t qualify as a real job (at least not to my parents). But it is a step in the right direction. And its also a Congressional Internship, so it is a fabulous opportunity.
I’m dancing around a little bit because since I don’t have to temp anymore, I can be honest about how unfulfilling, unchallenging, and disappointing the experience was. I don’t intend to bitch and moan because no one wants to read that, but I do want to share a little bit about how eye opening the experience of temping was for me. The rank of “intern” may be the lowest in the ranks of the white collar work world, but unlike a temp, they are at least allowed to cling to the bottom rungs of the ladder. At least as a Congressional Intern, people assume that I am reasonably intelligent and probably have future goals of having an actual career someday. You are paying your dues, not working for hourly wages because you aren’t educated or qualified enough to get a salaried job.
As a temp I felt like one of those pitiful waitresses on tv who go around telling everyone “I’m really an actress, I’m just waiting tables to pay rent while I wait for my big break”, except my line was “I’m really an intelligent college graduate, I’m just trying to keep busy while I job search.”
But I didn’t even get to share that comic plea with many people—because while there were a few nice people at each office who actually conversed with me, most people just avoided eye contact when they walked by the front desks I sat behind. It was mostly fine by me, except for my encounters with one person: the stuck-up intern who refused to say hello to me.
I’m not joking, at my first office assignment there was an intern around my age, whose daddy was a VP. Every morning when he entered the office I called “Good morning” loudly to him, and every morning he completely ignored me. And no, he wasn’t wearing headphones, and also I heard him talking with other people so I know he wasn’t hearing impaired. It drove me insane. Why? Because I was in his peer group! I wanted to shout at him that I was probably just as smart as him, if not smarter, and I probably went to just as good of a college as him, if not better! (Tribe Pride guys!). Truthfully, the encounters wounded my ego.
As a dependent of my parents, I always automatically grouped myself into their socioeconomic group: upper middle class. But now I’m 22 with pretty much nothing to my name, and I need to realize that where I came from isn’t any kind of guarantee about where my future is going. I’m starting from scratch!
But all in all, I’m glad I had the temping experience. It brought me down a few pegs, but I learned some weird but valuable things about life and work. Here are just a few:
– It won’t kill you to be nice to people on the phone. They may not even work at the company you’re calling. It may be their first day. And just because you called the wrong number and waited on hold for a half hour doesn’t mean it is the operator’s fault that they can’t answer your question. (And even if they are a seasoned employee, answering the phone all day sucks!)
– Don’t make assumptions about people when you don’t know anything about them.
– Never give out your personal information (Social security numbers, for example) on the phone. This may seem obvious, but after listening to some crazy callers on the job, I heard some pretty unfortunate things.
– Lastly, (for those of us who have phone-phobia) that there is nothing scary about calling people you don’t know on the phone.
So to make a long story short, I am happy to be turning over a new leaf! Look for an update soon on the life of an intern at Congress (Essentially, Emily getting lost in the Capitol’s underground tunnels)!