Friday, February 03, 2006

Sudden Surprise

After putting up with Anita, today at 5 p.m., after slaving away all week to reach overtime, Anita's ever loyal sidekick and another burnt-out associate handed us a bomb-shell. Escape from Stalag 17, an avid Tom the Temp reader, couldn't have put what happened today better:

"Today the burnt-out associate spent the day on her throne {within her glass encased cubicle} and then gave audience at 5:15 to make the order 'off with their heads.' She closed it {the project} down for a week or more."

Apparently, after having been promised six months of steady employment (many of us turned down other projects based on this assumption), over 100 of us were suddenly, without notice, dumped out onto the sidewalk just three weeks after the project had commenced. We were told not to return back to work until Monday, February 13th. Tom the Temp understands the contingent nature of contract labor. The ruthlessness, however, of making false promises, of raising the false expectations of people (many of whom are raising children and/or paying mortgages) about overtime and project steadiness/duration is truly unconscionable.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

at least they told the Update people to come back on Monday...us Lexolution people are SCREWED!!!! i am so sick of temping & working in general!!!!!!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

sounds like construction work

Anonymous said...

have they used the line "that's just the nature of the business. thing's change; needs change" yet? While it is true that things change, this explanation is more often than not used to cover up deliberate misrepresentations to get heads on a project.

Queen Bitch said...
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J said...
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Anonymous said...

I work with several dozen contract attorneys in a comparable market. At the outset I adopted an overall approach based on trust in the group's professionalism. Thus we decided not to block internet usage, monitor comings and goings, etc., and generally eschewed big brotherish oversight. We try to be as transparent as possible, particularly regarding the length of the project so that the temps may line up other work. We haven't been particularly lavish with things like meals and transportation (other firms certainly offer more than we do in these areas). We do look at production for a number of reasons, including evaluating work effort and understanding of the project. We have let go a handful of people who couldn't do the work, but only after retraining and an opportunity to demonstrate competence.

Do you know what we discovered?

Individually and as a group their performance exceeded expectations by every conceivable measure. Moreover, many will be offered full time positions because of their attitude and ability. I am convinced that the project was successful in part because of, rather than in spite of, a positive work environment.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that.

tom the temp

Anonymous said...

Here is my question for anybody that was on this project with Update:
Should we even bother to show up on Monday for this damn "meeting?"

I am assuming most of us are going to try to find employment with other agencies regardless of what they have to say or do on Monday. After all, they screwed us way too many times already and the project in terms of the environment, and supervisors is absolutely horrible, and is totally unprofessional. It is a professional sweatshop! To hell with all of them!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that Lexolution also has a ton of people on that project. Does anyone have a copy of the Lexolution e-mail list? Maybe we can e-mail this blog and information on how to handle the project. They have to staff it one way or another. Let's screw with them like they have screwed with us.

Anonymous said...

From a legal recruiter's perspective, it would be too blantant of a bilk to have to hire and train all new people to bring them up to speed. Each of you have eperience with the issues and codes.

I wonder what kind of lies agencies tell about their employees to law firms?

Anonymous said...

Interesting blog. I've often thought someone ought be be keeping one. As for K & Hellish, I intermittently temped there in DC over a period of a couple of years and the stories sound strangely familiar. If you can avoid working there, do.

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Anonymous said...

i agree ...i think we as a group should seriously complain to Update and Lexolution (i'm a lexolution temp)
our working conditions are seriously horrendous...they treat us like we're retarded deaf/blind/mute idiots or vermin ...did they forget we all have law degrees and probably graduated from top colleges!!!!!

Anonymous said...

could the person who worked w/temp attorneys and discovered that treating people w/humane basic respect actually encouraged a positive work environment (surprise?!?!) speak w/our dictatorial supervisors at K/E or even w/the Update/Lexolution staff????

Anonymous said...

last comment for the day...us lexolution people received an email to report to the Mon meeting...but they didnt tell us the time? does anyone know what time we are supposed to return for Mon's meeting????

Anonymous said...

i am an update temp. this sucks. maybe tom the temp can speak to update and lexolution on our behalf. everyone is afraid to speak out because they think they will be the only one to do so, which will cause them to be placed on the agency wide blacklist. classic freerider problem.

Anonymous said...

I received only one e-mail from Lexolution which said that we would be paid for 4 hours on Monday. It did not say to report to work on Monday—if anyone has received additional information, please post it.

Anonymous said...

No, that is the only e-mail I received as well.

Anonymous said...

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9am...

Anonymous said...

I thought the meeting was just for Update people.

Escape from Stalag 17 said...

A few points in no particular order:

1. We were purposely strung along until after 5 on Friday to make it difficult to find work for early in the week. It was obvious that there were grave problems by mid-day Thursday. They need us to come back and reckon that if we are still looking on Wednesday or Thursday we will just pack it in and head back to their shop. Good comment from above: Update will want to argue that we signed on for a six month commitment.

2. Update is known as being especially vindictive to Temps who cross them. Do not speak up in the meeting if you think you want to work for them again.

3. If you go back to the review, don't expect things to get better. Update is known for running these kind of Locked-down shops. K&E also known for treating their temps like cattle (in fairness, I don't think the associates have it all that great either).

4. Anita is wasting her time and the clients money interviewing every single candidate proposed by the agencies. She isn't even doing all that great a job vetting candidates who meet her standards, as she's had to fire a whole bunch. The job of vetting candidates is for the agencies. If they wind up sending you a lot that you have to get rid of, stop accepting from that agency.

5. The associates have to get out of their cages. You have to lead from the front boys. It may be unpleasant to surrender your private workspace, but sit yourselves down at the tables and work from one of the terminals along with the Temps. That will foster collegiality and make you more available for troubleshooting and Q&A. Your hard work (snort)will stand as a shining beacon of professionalism and service to the client. The two associates that were bs'ing in one of the offices for several hours the other day after Anita departed, well, I just hope you weren't billing that time to the client, because there was manifestly nothing productive going on in there.

6. I have been at this for a few years. Quality and number of perks vary a lot from firm to firm. I have never/never worked at a place that did not voucher lunch on weekends.

7. I for one am viewing this as an opportunity to turn my back on a really lousy job. I predict, however, that there will be at least an 80% return rate when the review starts up again. Why? Well, the pay rate here is actually decent, not great, but at the market for a large review, people are afraid of getting blackballed, other agencies may be reluctant to poach from this project because they have business with it or are hoping for a piece of the action over the next few months and simple inertia.

8. Update's General Counsel, i.e., the guy who orders office supplies and unstuffs the toilets, did a pretty decent job of calming things down on Friday. He is the only supervisor on the project (of the ones that have been around a lot) that has behaved in a consistently decent and civil manner. I guess that its pretty hard to condescend when everyone knows that your job title is a cruel joke.

Anonymous said...

"Anita is wasting her time and the clients money interviewing every single candidate proposed by the agencies. She isn't even doing all that great a job vetting candidates"

Yeah, she made a huge mistake. Tom the Temp quietly slipped by her.

Anonymous said...

This project is sad just sad and depressing.

Anonymous said...

Wonder how Anita's client would feel if Credit Card Co realized how many things she botched up?