Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's a long way to the top of you wanna Rock N' Roll & eat too....Part 1: My Days as a Temp

When I moved my crazy ass to New York City 10 years ago, I really didn't have a plan whatsoever; no apartment, no job, no band, and I knew maybe four people here. All I had was a few earthly possessions, a few grand rolled up in my sock, and a committed determination to make something of myself.

The first things always being first, I knew that I was going to have to get a roof over my head (which I documented some of in a previous entry and will more in the future) and find a way to support myself and the fulfillment of my dreams.

My good friend Alfredo, who was kind enough to let me crash on his floor in Bay Ridge for a week or two while I got my sea legs, suggested that I apply at some Temp Agencies, like the ones advertised in the back of Backstage (a magazine for aspiring actors and actresses). So, I typed up a decent resume, and faxed it to about 10 of these places.

Within a few days, I'd had interviews with three of them, and made a good enough impression, I suppose, because I started getting work within a week or so.

Life is about pros and cons, as we all know.

The pros w/ making your way this were that the pay was relatively good, and most of the assignments lasted for weeks or months. If you were reliable, you could pay your rent and get by. The work itself wasn't difficult at all, and sometimes was all but nonexistent.

The cons? Tthe 9 to 5 work schedule wasn't exactly conducive to Rocking and/or Rolling, and....well, because I've always been a man to enjoy his late nights out, waking up and going to work was often....well, to put it as appropriately as I can, a fucking NIGHTMARE. Also, I wasn't allowed to show up for work in jeans, t-shirts, biker boots, long, loose hair, and fucking way. I had to tie my hair back, and put on a white dress shirt, dress pants (I drew the line at khakis though....fuck THAT shit) and black wingtip shoes. Yeah, I looked as fucking ridiculous as I felt.

But what made me feel even more ridiculous was the people I did the actual work for. Granted, my bosses at my first assignment, which was the New York branch of a French pharmaceutical company, were pretty cool, none judgmental, and took the time to realize that I was an intelligent guy who just happened to be a recent Midwestern transplant, struggling to make his way. But that lasted maybe about six weeks.

My next job was for some Chinese company, which again, did pharmaceuticals, if I remember correctly. I walked into that job, and without even saying hello, or even taking the time to introduce herself, some crusty old Chinese executive hag handed me 5 pamphlets of some sort, and coldly told me to make 10 copies of each. I felt like she was looking down her nose at me, and didn't respect me in the least. I was so pissed off and degraded, that I just about walked the fuck out....but, again, I needed the money, and had nowhere else to do so at the time, so...I made her fucking copies. Your welcome, Bitch!!!

The funniest place I worked at...(you're going to LOVE this)....was at a non-profit organization....of the Methodist Church....that sent missionaries around the world, evidently, to feed the hungry or whatever, and spread the word of God. Hell, even the Temp Agency I get that job through called them, "The God Squad." Holy FUCK, I wasn't a sore thumb in THAT place, as much as I was an amputated fucking leg. The first guy I worked for there was alright...but, he was looking for someone to be his "permanent" assistant...and didn't waste any time asking me if I was interested in doing that, and if I was a, "good Methodist." no. The second guy I worked for was way cooler...but, I remember one week, his secretary, whom I was helping out, told me that morning that I might not have a job there after the end of that day. Since I still had a big Excel project to finish, I told her that if I didn't get to stay for at least the rest of that week, that I was leaving immediately. I wound up staying for another two weeks. Hahahahahaha. But what I really hated about that place was the bitch who signed my time card every week, which, I might add, she did reluctantly. She clearly hated my guts; for what reason, I don't know....maybe it was my appearance! But for someone who ran a faith-based, humanitarian organization, that struck me as being rather odd.  Hell, I doubt that old battleaxe ever got laid in her LIFE!!!  She would bitch at me for working "too many hours" which was "too expensive", etc. I was thinking, "Look, bitch, no one is FORCING you to get temps to work here, ok?!" But I acted respectful because I needed the money....even though that old bag, of ALL people, had no right to look down her nose at me! It still kind of pisses me off to this day, hahahahaha. I should add that I got food poisoning from the spinach soup I had in the God Squad's cafeteria for lunch. That was a whole fuckload of fun!

I have a million stories like these.

That all being said, I knew that I wasn't going to be able to afford any drumsticks, beers, or to even EXIST here, I was going to have to bite the bullet. I wasn't working these jobs w/ aspirations of becoming the world's most asskicking office worker, for Christ's sake....I was doing it to support myself while working on my music , making myself known, and having as much fun as I could. I justified the shit that I had to put up with by telling myself that it was ALL for ROCK N' ROLL....and looking back, I was absolutely right. Life, especially in New York City, is about doing what you have to do to survive and get to where you need to be. If you work hard enough, and do what needs to be done (and if you're any good at what you do), you get your rewards, with a little luck....and a few stories to tell on top of it!

Thanks for reading!

Marty E.

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