Friday, June 24, 2005

As it turns out, I am a better person than my employer.

When I started my job, and entered data from HR, I noticed that despite the fact that this is a distribution centre, nearly all of the employees have Irish/English names. I thought that was a bit odd, as the labour is certainly low-prestige and relatively unskilled, and in the US, I'd imagine similar jobs are staffed by non-native speakers to be sure. Certainly, all the stockworkers at my old Nordstrom are of Latin American descent, though the cleaning staff seemed generally Eastern European.
However, early this week I noticed that, in fact, there are loads of Eastern European men working the stock, as they would show up in reception from time to time and well, definitely not speak English. But it turns out they are from a temp agency. Multiple agencies, actually. And indeed, every day I sat up in reception, a few more showed up to work.
Then I thought, well, jeez, why don't they actually just hire these guys? Then I thought they must be bigoted dickbrains. And then I thought, well, I'm a temp and I'm not temping because I'm discriminated against, I'm a temp because I wanted short-term, low-commitment work. Then I didn't think anything of it.
Until yesterday, when I began writing about 1 million letters to former residents of the former Soviet Union and its neighbors, as well as a few dozen Africans. Also a handful of Irish women. To be fair, in these million letters were also a few rejections for Mr. Brian O'Brien and Ronald McDonald, but most of those were either 16 or 61 years of age.
In reading their CVs and cover letters, I was literally heartbroken several times, as nothing is more poignant than bad English. I mean, when I write a cover letter, I do my best to sound like I don't desperately want this job, but in fact, have come to the realization that the company desperately needs me. But lacking proper English skills, these wanna-be lads write "I am good worker I very work hard" while their CV lists a master's in engineering back in Nigeria or Lithuania. And there is nothing more devastating than the truth. My cover letters never resonate like this:
I wish I could be given the opportunity to work in the warehouse. I promise to work to the best of my capacity and to display my talent in picking and loading area of the warehouse. I really believe I have the experience in those area.
says an accountant from Nigeria who also has an Irish certificate in forklift driving.
I would totally give him a job.
Then I realized that I am excited to go home and start looking for a job where I don't get to feel so self-righteous all the time.


Bill McClain said...

I'm pretty sure there is no such job.

Anonymous said...

So wait, the company sends rejection letters to applicants? They don't just leave them alone and never talk to them again? Also what kind of HR privacy practices allow the temp secretary to see CVs? Your employer surely is the devil, therefore you can't be proud to be better than them. Even though we all know you are.

ruth said...

I know! I've never gotten a rejection letter, aside from about half a dozen colleges...
people assume temps are too stupid to care, i think. it's like being a spy.