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by Mimi Brickmeyer, staff writer.  [April 14, 2002]




[]  Temping is the fastest growth sector in the U.S. labor market, with many temps earning a staggering $6 an hour -- some even pulling a stratospheric $6.75 an hour!

Yet even among this jet-setting elite lurk the disgruntled, ready to explode in a blood-drenched cataclysm of workplace violence!

That's one of the shocking revelations in Jeff Kelly's Best of Temp Slave.

Kelly founded the now defunct Temp Slave zine in 1994, publishing caustic cartoons, helpful hints, and true-life adventures from disgruntled temps in America's offices and factories!

Although Temp Slave folded after five years, topping with a circulation of only 3,000, Kelly achieved international fame as an expert on temping issues. He has over the years been interviewed by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News and World Report, USA Today, Wired, CBS, and NPR.

While the zine is no more, Kelly has reprinted the cream of this "oral reporting" from the temping trenches in Best of Temp Slave.

In an exclusive interview with the Weekly Universe, Kelly explains why the zine folded: "One, my low budget printer went out of business. Two, I directed a lot of time and energy to the book. Three, I just tired of the daily hassles involved doing a growing publication."

Unlike his self-published zine, the book is published by Garrett County Press. Says Kelly: "I have nothing to do financially with it. Sometimes I offer advice regarding potential books or distribution, but G.K. Darby is the sole owner of GP Press."

Here now, torn from the pages of Best of Temp Slave, are some exciting edited excerpts from the wacky world of temping: 


Mail and supply personnel are the plankton of corporate life. But most mailers are perfectly content with their jobs because of fringe benefits and the freedom it entails. Best of all, was the opportunity to use company mailing machines for free postage. Almost immediately my best instincts took over and I began ripping the place off. Over the course of my employment I produced 3 zines on company supplies and equipment and paid no mailing costs.


Long term insurance workers are easily identifiable by the immense width of these behinds. One co-worker tagged these people "desk mummies." The vast majority were simply going to sell their soul until retirement day. Then they could wear loud clothing and travel on bus tours with other huge assed people.


The head of the company did all the correct humane things to squeeze money out of his employees for the United Way. This took the form of deductions from your paycheck, candy sales, hoagie sales, doughnut sales. The most humorous extortion was to charge people $1 to wear causal clothing on Fridays.


No one at the drug screening seemed sympathetic to my comments -- "All this for a dishwashing job?!?"

It took awhile to play into the abundant free eats. Dishroom eating was "grounds for dismissal." But I longed for all the untouched food brought down from the patient's rooms.



I often found myself talking to 10-year-old pieces of sh*t who could barely tie their shoelaces, but somehow had mastered the brainpower to dial our 800 number. They would sometimes ask me, "How do you get a job at Sega?" I worked for the company that created Sonic the Hedgehog and Altered Beast.  In their eyes, I was the luckiest guy in the world.  They wanted to talk with me for an hour.

Adolescent boys would call just to harass us: "I think Nintendo really kicked your *ss with Donkey Kong Country. I think Sega f*ckin' s*cks man." Blah, blah, blah. Like I care. I felt like saying, "Listen, you little punk, let me get you in a jail cell for two minutes and I'll beat you until blood comes out of your ears."

But, I couldn't say that because our calls were randomly monitored.


You were expected to be logged on for 7 hours and 15 minutes a day. This made it especially thrilling to run into the bathroom and furiously pump my erection, knowing my time was limited. Having beat off in a variety of work environments, I've mastered the art of the quick jerk. I could usually have a satisfying fantasy and reach orgasm with 2 or 3 minutes.


My boss was an older woman who walked around talking to herself. Which in some respects was better than my co-workers who frequently mumbled like lunatics.


I'm gay. I'm an activist too. I take jobs at fundamentalist companies and totally destroy them from the inside out. It brings me so much joy!


The really bad thing about the job was that I couldn't steal anything of value or use their copying machines.


My boss had a hard on for safety. I sat listening to her babble about the scourge of paper cuts. She demanded that anytime I was cut, I was to wash, disinfect and wash again. She told the horror story of someone who had gotten blood poisoning from the dreaded paper cut.


I will sit at a pregnant woman's computer all day and do her work while she lies on her bed at home and waits to spit up her third child in as many years. She produces babies. I produce documents.


I look at the books sitting on the bookshelf from my cubicle: The Wisdom of Teams, by Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas Smith; The Empowered Manager, by Peter Block, Leading Teams, by John H. Zinger, Ed Musselwhite, Kathleen Hurson & Craig Perrin.  Impressive.

On my lunch break, I purchase a copy of Karl Marx's Das Kapital and add it to the collection of fine reading material.


It has been 11 years since I stayed at a job for more than 9 months straight -- I like quitting too much to break any endurance records.


Security has been tightened lately. Evidently, they had a "disgruntled ex-employee" situation last week, when said ex-employee decided to show up one afternoon and beat the holy shit out of someone. It must have been a marvelous sight.



Aside from humorous anecdotes, Best of Temp Slave also has zany cartoons and helpful hints! -- Such as Kelly's timely tips for preparing against that pesky disgruntled former employee!


1.  Know where all the emergency exists are.

2.  Find out if the building has a security system -- either guards or access keys and pads. If not ask that the company install one.

3.  If you work with someone showing high levels of stress ask if you can be placed elsewhere.

4.  Avoid working in one door rooms.

5.  Do not insult or egg on a worker who is visibly upset about a work related problem. This can lead to serious consequences!


And for those who "snap," Kelly also offers this friendly advice:

1.  Do not shoot your co-workers. They are probably as frustrated as you and just because they don't want to shoot people doesn't make them bad people.

2.  Do not shoot full timers. Well at least know the difference between a bad one and a good one.

3.  If you must murder someone, please make sure that it is a boss. Bosses usually wear white shirts, ties, shiny shoes and carry brief cases. Identify and know who your bosses are.

4.  Start at the top. Go for the President of the company first and work your way down.

5.  Finally! Whatever you do, don't shoot me!

Seeing a TV documentary on workplace violence, Kelly comments, edited for brevity:

The killer worker said he had been a good worker and was fired from his carpentry job. So he killed his boss. He related that he felt a level of frustration and betrayal that boiled over. The boss's wife whined that just because they had fired him he had no reason to kill her husband. Maybe.

TV is bossland to the max. They never seem to focus on the conditions that make murder possible. They think they can fire people without retribution.

You have a job, a family to support. You've been taught that hard work will win you a piece of the pie. One day you go into work and your job is gone. What do you do? Your hopes for the future are ruined. You are about to become a member of the dreaded under class. All this goes against everything you've been taught. You feel inferior, bills mount, tensions begin in the home. You snap and kill your boss.

Who created this situation? Corporate America and bosses. They hate you and they hate me. They use us up and spit us out, and have the audacity to believe we will accept the sh*t they throw in our faces.

Best of Temp Slave was released in 1997, while America was riding the Dot-Com Boom (which bypassed the hapless contributors to Temp Slave). Since then, America suffered the Dot-Com Bust, the Seattle riots, and 9/11.

Kelly comments on the economy: "As for Seattle, I was supportive of the peaceful and non-peaceful, especially the non-peaceful, things that happened. Not because I'm an action fanatic or anything like that. Just for the fact that some of the Left had the courage to try different tactics instead of holding a candle and singing 'We Shall Overcome.'

"I don't even pay lip service to the authorities when they moaned about destruction, because what American business does on a daily basis is hundreds of times more destructive.

"For a small amount of time, the economy showed some strength and it became a workers market, where the worker had more choices about where to work. Once ol' Bushie stole the election I knew that was going to reverse, because business doesn't want an empowered workforce. They want you to kiss their asses and always be fearful about your job. Now we're back to the bad old days of the Daddy Bush administration.

"Supposedly the recession is over. Don't believe it.

"As for temps, well, temps are always going to be screwed no matter what. The longer you temp, the longer you don't contribute to a retirement fund, or to health benefits. I don't see any alleviation of the plight of temps."

Jeff Kelly can be contacted via e-mail.


Mimi Brickmeyer is an investigative reporter for the Hollywood Investigator, on loan to the Weekly Universe. Read about her supernatural battles against Satantic New Age forces in Hollywood Witches!
Want more on Yuppie Scum, Cubicle Comedies, and Workplace Satires? See these Related Books & Movies.

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