20 December 2012

Miller Lite Wishes and Tuna Fish Dreams

FUCK YEAH. Dinner's on me!

As long as dinner is ramen. Bon apetit.
Today, as every Thursday for the last few months, I received my paycheck in the mail. If you're wondering what I make, it's enough to stop the gushing wound of a punctured carotid artery that is our bank account, but not enough to enjoy the healing process. Nice ballpark, right? Anyway, as I took the envelope, I chortled half to myself and half to Adam, the dog, the cats, and the Christmas tree, "oooh, I wonder if I get a Christmas bonus?"


I received an amazing gift with my paycheck, a lottery ticket called "Golden Wishes" that cost the staffing agency I work through $1. Joke's on them! I GOT $2 OUT OF THIS DEAL.

I know I should be thankful this holiday season. I have a job, we have a roof over our heads, heat, food, wonderful friends and family. And I am, really, thankful for all of those things and more.

I am not, however, particularly thankful for the strange, somewhat insulting, and not a little annoying lottery ticket in my paycheck. Don't get me wrong, I love me some scratch tickets. In fact, I love them almost more for the satisfying scratch than the possibility of winning scratch. I do love a good scratching off of that weird coating that I think is really made out of the disappointed, alcoholic tears of Nicholas Cage's character in Leaving Las Vegas. (Also, "scratch for scratch" new lotto game. I thought of it first, copyright 2012. I'm sure I didn't think of it first but whatever. Stop being pedantic.) It just seems so... insulting. So belittling from an employer. I can't quite put my finger on it, but looking at that $2 win in my paycheck feels so far from a congratulatory "thank you for your hard work" that I can't fathom what do with it. And the weirdest part is that a week ago, the head of the staffing agency stopped by the office.

"Courtney!" He said as I anxiously yanked my headphones out and looked dumbly at him. (I was only one cup of coffee in, my brain needs a good solid kickstart.) "I wanted to tell you that your department has singled you out for your hard work. They said you're doing 'phenomenal.' So thank you so much for that."

We traded other small pleasantries and he went on to say hello to the other temps. I didn't correct him that people actually do "phenomenally," and considered that my "not-being-a-know-it-all" win for the day. It did feel good to be told I'm doing so well, inane as my job may be. It always feels good to be told you're doing well. But that brief flash of "fuck yeah, me!"dissolved quickly into, "then why the fuck don't I have a full-time gig yet?" And I went back to listening to Prince and clickety-clacking away at those orders.

So, phenom that I am, I get a $1 lottery ticket (which has appreciated in value by 100%!) along with my paycheck and pat on the back. It's more than many people get, but all the same, a lottery ticket?! I think I would have preferred a nice, meaningful note, thanking me for being stupid enough to work for pennies without benefits, vacation, or anyone to talk to. (Seriously, almost no one talks to me at work, but that's a post for another day.) But the place I actually work isn't at all better.

This brings up the organization's annual gift box give-away. Every employee received a gift box at a large assembly that we were required to attend. The HR manager went through the usual business lingo gobbledy-gook and summed up with, "All associates will receive a box, give your name and you'll get checked off. Temps, you won't get anything, but hopefully this gives you some insight into the culture of the organization."

There was the sound of a man laughing at the end of a very long hallway in the back of my head at this point. I walked back upstairs to my desk, sat down, and proceeded to vacillate between hysteria and annoyance, mostly at the fact that they just plum wasted my time. Seriously, temps don't really expect gifts and lottery tickets and, you know, common courtesy, but to make us sit there and watch everyone else get gifts was bizarrely insulting and offensive. And kind of like that time in middle school when the rich kid was having a big birthday party, but you only you and Margot von Titsack, the German exchange student with BO, didn't get invited.

My department heads, kind and generous people that they are, very magnanimously gave the six temps in our department gift boxes that they made and paid for out of their own pockets. These were far nicer, presumably more expensive packages than the employees received, and I am planning a nice thank you for them once this weekend passes, but what.the.fuck. First of all, they shouldn't feel obligated to do that, especially out of their own pockets. Second of all, I couldn't think of a single person in the room that needed a damn gift. We need decent pay and maybe comprehensive health insurance and possibly sick time. Maybe that's asking too much. They do have a nice cabinet full of various generic cold and flu remedies in the kitchenette on our floor. You know, so you can share you cold in the incubator that is a cubicle maze, rather than take sick time (which you don't have, HA!).

Seriously, being a temp is like being on the wrong end of the longest running joke ever told. And I'm working 8:30 am - 7 pm tomorrow, so things are only getting funnier. With that in mind, I really hope the world doesn't end tomorrow. I'd hate that to be the last place I see. On the other hand, I need to find a place to cash that $2 in the next few hours. I'd hate to let my Christmas bonus go to waste in case there is an apocalypse. I'll have to grab two nips at the counter when I cash it. Livin' laaaarge this holiday season! Enjoy the alpacalypse.