Letters from Home

Zen and the Art of Temping

Another mauled sumo temp worker
If you are wondering what a little slice of hell is, it’s this: being in the office, as a temp, and having the person you are replacing show up, unannounced.

Then having her say: May I have a hanger please? as she stares at your coat on the rack with disdain.

Then having her say: Well, I think I’ll just check my emails whilst your steaming coffee and peanut butter bagel — and all your work for the day — are all still sprawled on the desk.

My days as a replacement human are waning, and as I look back on my time here, I can give this sage advice to all people who work in an office.

We are all post-it notes: easily stuck on, used, and pulled away again.

For the days I am/was/or may again be a temp, I know what I am. Temps are an odd mix of Saviour and toilet roll. Necessary, gloriously redemptive, but undeniably disposable. You are always just one or two moves away from being on the receiving end of the diving hawk (pictured).

I must say, I was glad to be the sumo wrestler on the bottom for a while, though. In the past few months, life has dealt me some tough blows. My temp job has put me in the ring — if an odd one — and let me sweat it out, to distraction.

And anyway, you know…sometimes it feels good to just lay there and take it!

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