This is your life…
Mike Munroe (host): Hello and welcome to Melbourne to surprise one of Australia’s true unsung working champions. And to think, she almost didn’t enter the workforce, because her best subject at school was ‘drawing’ and her first degree was a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Art History. Now, some people say, she has the 2nd most important job in this country. So, come along as we surprise this great Aussie hero… the Temp!
Cut to office where Dot is staring at her computer screen, unaware what is happening. Mick Munroe taps her on the shoulder.
MM: Hello Dot
Dot: Ohhhhh no.
MM: Dot the Temp, This is your life! (Man sitting in the cubicle next to Dot turns around and applauds)
Dot: (muffled comments)
MM: That’s right, tonight we’re gonna celebrate you as one of our great Australian temping legends.
Dot: Um, thank you.
Now in TV studio in Melbourne.
MM: Ladies and gentlemen… Dot! (Dot walks in, audience applauds)
Dot: Hi everyone.
MM: Dot, you’ve had some highs but mostly lows through your working life, it’s been an amazingly second-rate career, and during those lows, there’s been someone in particular, a champion, a true champion who has inspired and helped you. Her name is Mars. And here she is. (Mars walks in)
Dot: Hi. (Dot and Mars don’t hug)
MM: Now Mars, you sent Dot a few emails over the years, didn’t you?
Mars: Yeah it started in high school… messaging each other on hotmail during English class. We were suppose to be ‘typing up our essays’. It carried on after high school. I was dropping out of uni and Dot was doing an arts degree so we both had a lot of free time. But we didn’t have any money or ambition, so we started writing emails and stories to each other a lot. Then, after Dot graduated she got a temp job, and I was working a crap job fulltime and then our emails really got serious.
Dot: It worked out beautifully because I really hated my job, and so did Mars.
MM: Thanks for joining us, Mars. Would you please take a seat. (Mars sits with Dot on the special couch, up the front where the ‘life partner’ always sits)
MM: So, let’s begin! Dot. Born in Melbourne, almost a bastard, almost a love child, but at the last minute you parents got married heralding the start of something much more average. You grew up, managing to get through primary school, high school and university with barely anyone noticing your presence. Mars?
Mars: Yeah, we went to high school together but I didn’t notice her until year 12. No one did.
MM: Then in 2003, armed with an Arts Degree, you got your first temp job at Origin Energy. In search of some ‘office experience’ you were placed in the gas department doing data entry for customer accounts. Dot, what was a highlight of your time at Orgin?
Dot: I set up Vince Colossimo and Jane Hall’s gas bill. (audience applauds, Mars rolls her eyes) MM: Well, we've got a surprise for you now Dot. Guess who we've got on the phone?
A picture of Vince Colossimo and Jane Hall appears on screen, accompanied by crackling audio.
Vince and Jane: Hi Dot! You little bugger, we didn't get a gas bill for 6 months and when we finally did Origin back-billed us, even though it was their fault! Ah, you have to laugh... goodluck with the temping!
Visual cuts back to studio.
MM: Let's continue. So, after three months in the gas industry you set your sights in a different direction, didn’t you?
MM: The Temp always has bigger plans, the Temp thinks they are somehow better than the rest of the office, even though they have the worst job… and you were no different. At the start of 2004 you quit working at Origin Energy to become an artist.
Dot: God… (Dot looks embarrassed)
MM: That’s right. This attempt at a life lasts for about four months before you return, humbled, to your second temp job. This time you are working at the Government Superannuation Office. As a result of a computer glich several thousand jargon files are created by the organisation’s system, and you are given the task of ‘checking’ these files just to make sure they aren’t anything important. After two weeks you conclude they are all junk. In this time you don’t have access to email, however you are entertained listening to your work mate retell her favourite CSI plot lines.
Dot: It really wasn’t too bad.
MM: Resolved to avoid temp work for a while you return to university, once again naïvely attempting to achieve something better. However, after a couple of frugal years working part-time, consumerism beckons and you return fulltime to your dispassion of data entry in 2006. Working from a generic factory in South Melbourne you are given the task of entering pension forms for the allocation of ‘Sunday Free Public Transport for Old People’ cards. What did you take from this experience, Dot?
Dot: A lot of old women are called Margaret or Patricia.
MM: However, this job doesn’t last long for you Dot. With a gruelling ‘100 forms per hour’ quota, at a rate of $19 per hour, you quit after a week to fill a less challenging role at Australia Post.
Dot: This was the best job; data entry with an emphasis on accuracy rather than speed.
MM: For a month you enjoy taking your sweet time entering data. Upon completion of this role you are rewarded by being offered a short-term job in the company’s call centre for their courier division. Working in Customer Enquiries, AKA The Complaints Department, you spend your days assuring angry customers their courier really is coming soon. You also deal with angry drivers and angry despatch crew who are sick of being hassled by angry customers.
MM: After wasting more of your youth travelling, studying and working volunteer positions, you return with gusto to temp work in 2007. Only this time it’s a little bit different, isn’t it Dot?
MM: That’s right. Firstly you are placed at an IT Consultancy company. How did you find that?
Dot: I like that on reception you get to know everybody’s business and it’s really easy to sit online all day. But I hate how on reception you are the person every one comes to with the stupid tedious questions and jobs: file this, fax this, order this, post this, reserve this, cancel this, eat dirt.
MM: Well, after a stint in the IT industry you worked reception for Covert Fashions for a while. Was that any better?
Dot: Same shit, only people dressed different. The joke was I was told to ‘dress trendy’. I learnt pretty quickly that, having hung around university for a few years, my ‘trendy’ meter was a little off. I assumed ‘trendy’ meant dressing with a sense of style, turns out it means bleaching your hair and dressing with a sense of Sportsgirl.
MM: Now, in 2008, you’re back as the temp. A new role, a new company…
Dot: Sorting mail for BP.
MM: So it’s really full circle for you Dot. Back in 2003, you sat at a desk emailing Mars all day, pretending to work, pretending to care. Now here you are again. How’s it going for you Mars?
Mars: Well, I’m temping in Manchester, so the different time zone makes it a little tricky.
Dot: Yeah, I only really get to instant message Mars in the mornings. So in the afternoon I have to find something else to do with my time. Sometimes I sort mail, sometimes I write blog posts.
MM: So, what does your future as the Temp hold?
Dot: Well, actually I finish my current assignment this Friday. So after that I’ll probably NEVER WORK AS A TEMP AGAIN.
MM: (laughing) Sure, sure. Don’t worry, if life doesn’t work out you can always return to temping.
*Seriously. Last temp themed post EVA... I'm moving up and out and on and off to... Arnhem Land!
5 years ago