Surrealist Doodle

Surrealist Doodle
This was used as the cover of Karawane in 2006 and I have included it in on a number of bags and postcards over the years. Someone on the subway asked me if it was a Miro. I was very flattered!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Temp Job: A Performance Piece

One of these days I'm going to do this performance. (Note to would-be performers: this has been on the net for two years -- long enough for me to establish copyright. So if you're interested in doing this, I ask only that you contact me and let me know and credit me somewhere regarding your show.) This piece is borne from my pain and suffering!

Cheers.

So on one of my previous temp jobs, in which I had absolutely nothing to do all day long and no computer access and in which, per usual, I was merely a placeholder sitting here, I had done two books of crossword puzzles in the past few days and thought I would go insane, I started writing down every time I looked at the clock. I then recorded how much more time I had until the end of the day. This will eventually become a performance piece. In the performance, I will place a desk in some public place and go there eight hours a day and every time I look at the clock I will say the time out loud and make some kind of repetitive action. Whenever anyone comes near the performance piece, I will ask "are you the new temp" and when some smart ass finally says yes, I will "train" him or her in on how to do the job and have them sit at my desk while I go and take a break.

For now, unperformed, it remains a piece of conceptual art in the lineage of Yoko Ono or Andy Warhol.

As Andy Warhol once said, "we figured out how much we thought the audience could take and went about 10 minutes beyond that. Leave them wanting less was always our motto."

A Random Wednesday on a Temp Job
This list is every time I looked at the clock and how much time was left in my day.

8:29
7:30
7:21
7:16
7:00
6:47
6:25
6:09
6:06
6:00
5:27
5:20
5:19
5:12
5:04
4:50
4:37
4:25
4:20
4:19
4:16
4:15
3:50
3:45
3:34
3:20
3:17
3:10
3:07
3:04
2:55
2:49
2:40
2:15
2:00
1:35
1:21
1:17 zzzz (fell asleep briefly)
1:08
:56
:47
:40
:30
:25
:22
:18
:16
:09
:08
:06
:03
:02


Thursday

These are the times I looked at the clock at work and how much time
was left in my day.

8:20
8:09
7:59
7:40
7:20
6:37
6:10
6:01
4:55
4:39
4:38
4:01
3:43
3;33
3:24
3:22
3:17
3:10
3:09
3:08
3:01
2:44
2:20
2:19
2:15
2:10
2:02
1:57
1:51
1:46
1:40
1:20
1:14
1:11
1:06
1:04
1:00
:55
:39
:37
:36
:33
:24
:21
:19
:15
:14
:10
:07

Friday with variation

These are the times I looked at the clock at work today and how much
time I had left. And when I remembered, I wrote down what I had been
doing in the intervening time. I left early today, so starting with
8:00 rather than 8:30.

8:04
7:56
7:45
7:44
7:39
7:33 Called to check my bank balance
7:20
7:04
6:54
6:37
6:34
6:33
6:26 Took a bathroom break
6:18 Made a phone call
6:13
6:08 Distributed mail
6:03
5:49 Went to the store to get money and buy a chocolate milk
5:23 Read Skyway News
4:58 Went to the 4th floor to visit old co-workers
4:52
4:43 Talked on the phone
4:35 Spilled water on the message book. Copied over 1 page of phone
messages
4:29
4:01 Did the daily crossword puzzles. Could not finish New York
Times Puzzle in the Strib. Finished LA Times Puzzle.
3:32
3:30
3:03 Lunch
2:53 Talked to Cheryl on the phone
2:48 Called Aramark about the beeping vending machine
2:43
2:41 Personal phone call
2:29
2:00 Read the Star Tribune Front section
1:44
1:40
1:32
1:02 Hung out with Ryan, former co-worker, in the breakroom. I ate
popcorn. He spilled ice on the table and on me.
:51
:39 Copied over my notes from a seminar in December
:38
:21 Had a coughing attack. Had to run to the bathroom. Hacked and
spit up a little. Hurt my throat for the rest of the day.
Ish.
:18
:15
:09
:08 Boss told me to go ahead and leave and thanks for covering this
week.

2 comments:

Ray said...

So what are the qualifications for this work? I am currently looking.

However, I envy you. I'm sure I would never be hired to sit around an office doing "nothing". Must be nice.

Fluffy Singler said...

You'd be surprised. It's not as great as it sounds. The reason for this is I had no computer access. I couldn't check or send email look anything up, or do anything but sit at that infernal desk 8 hours a day and wait for the phone to ring. Try it sometime. Even if you're getting paid, it's still a pain.

The "qualifications" I had to do this are that I type 80-90 wpm and know all Microsoft Office programs at an advanced level. I can make presentations, do advanced financial work and budgeting on spreadsheets, etc. And there I sat 8 hours a day doing nothing at all.

Now I have friends who end up on temp jobs and work their asses off. But I have rarely had that be the case. I've never had a temp job with less than 2 hours or more of downtime a day and the key is "looking busy". But this was the absolute worst.