Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Make your life easy -- think less

Temp X just began an multi-week assignment at [Network Name Redacted]. Like most gigs, the assistant going on vacation -- or in reality, crying at home because he/she doesn't make enough to buy a plane ticket much less pay for a hotel -- will leave a little instruction sheet about what to do. It usually offers the basics like computer log in and password information, voicemail codes and vague platitudes about their boss (those are usually lies). But I've noticed a trend I find very troublesome and exceedingly useless -- these manuals have become tomes.

Want proof? The manual at the place I'm at this week -- 15 pages! In the immortal words of G.O.B. Bluth, "Come on!"

By the 15th page in The Bible, God created everything, took the day off was dealing with bickering brothers Jacob and Esau! But somehow it's necessary to write 15 pages about how to answer the phone and check your email? Think again.

15 pages?! That's half the length of the sitcom script you keep telling people you're gonna write but don't. Heck, by the 15th page of According to Jim script, the still less famous Belushi brother has farted twice, made a comment about Courtney Thorne Smith's boobs and worn four items of Chicago Bears clothing so as to remind us where that "show" takes place. [Jim, we know you're a proud Chicagoan, now write something funny.]

15 pages?! Freud's analysis of man's place in the Universe as detailed in Civilization and its Discontents is only 70 pages longer. Shit, if Freud can distill the meaning of life into 82 pages, the instruction manual for [Name Redacted]'s desk should be one word, "Do."

15 pages?! The first draft of Hank Paulson's $700 billion bailout of the collapsing banking system was 3 pages. Granted it was probably a bit short, but that means working on [Name Redacted]'s desk is 5 times harder than saving the global capitalism?


Assistants. I love you people. And some day, I aspire to be one of you. Well, mostly because I just want a decent health care plan and paid vacation. But get over yourselves. It's not as complex as you make it sound. Stop "Rolling" with your boss as if it's some kind of sport. Try inserting an object in your sentence instead of just saying "Can I have him return?" And most of all, don't make your instruction manuals for Temps 15 pages. The contracts your clients sign aren't that long nor are they as complex. Everyone knows your job sucks. I know it sucks, You know it sucks. And we all know it's a shitty step to get anywhere in this town. But let's all make a collective pact that we make things easy for each other.

With that in mind, I'd like to offer the following that every assistant use from now on.
Step 1 -- When the phone rings, answer it and follow instructions.
Step 2 -- Wait for the next call.
Is that easy enough?


Anonymous said...

SERIOUSLY! That is a mess. If all the Assistants and Temps banded together, Hollywood would be a far less obnoxious place to work.

Anonymous said...

Assistants and temps banding together reminded me of how the Jets and Sharks both team up to mock Krupke in "West Side Story."

Hang in there Temp X. While you do have to put up with quite a lot, you handle it with a good sense of humor. Good Luck.

MissNic said...

On the upside that's 14 extra pages of reading material to kill time with for what will probably be another painfully boring assignment.

Read slowly.

Anonymous said...

I temped for like 10 years and may have to do it again. Oh, how I wish you were at all of my temp jobs! Would have been more fun to have a live discussion about where best I should put the razor.

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