Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Temporarily Out of Service

As usual, my department is understaffed. I have availed myself of the services of a temp agency to fill the gaps.

This temp agency has always provided me with decent service. Around half the time they send someone who's truly excellent. The other half of the time they send someone who'll get the job done. All the temps they've sent have been professional and friendly. I have great faith in this company.

Since a couple of weeks ago I've had a temp on a long-term assignment. She's doing easy stuff that anyone with office experience could walk in and do, like alphabetical filing and answering the phones. She was doing a pretty good job too, until she got sick.

Yesterday I came in to find: no temp. The temp agency had left a message on my voice mail stating that my temp was sick and wouldn't be in. This confused me.



They have an infinite supply of these smiling, efficient ladies at their disposal. When I did call them back, they offered to send someone else over right away, if I wanted. Of course I wanted! That's why I hired the temp in the first place! Duh. I sincerely feel that a replacement should have been dispatched automatically.

Maybe that's not their protocol... Whatever.

That day turned out to be quiet, so I told them not to bother, but that if our regular temp was still sick by the next day, they definitely needed to send someone, because mid-week is our busiest time.

I walked in this morning to find my staff in a frenzy of busy-ness and NO TEMP. What?!

Yesterday I was willing to let slide, but today I was steaming mad! I had left very clear instructions, which they had not followed. I called the temp agency rep with barely restrained fury.

"Oh, I'm so sorry," said the rep, "I didn't understand. I thought you meant you only needed someone if Temp was going to be off for the rest of the week." Yeah. What part of "tomorrow is the busiest day of our week so we'll definitely need someone" was ambiguous?


In the end they sent Temp2, who saved our butts for the rest of the day. I guess I can forgive the agency for the screw-up. But I'll be keeping my eye on that rep if I ever deal with her again. Trust me, in future I will make sure that everying is painfully clear.


Dianne said...

At least you get decent help when they do bother to send them. I've been through so many people! I'm not overly demanding and I'm really easy to work with - but I've been sent "computer skilled" people who then couldn't open up a word doc.

I hope things calm down for you. I know what's it's like to be crazy busy.

Maxie said...

Geesh. Maybe they need to get one of their temp people to take over that receptionists job.

Vanessa said...

I'm with Maxie, maybe this agency needs to hire a few of their own temps!

onlooker said...

So the 'temps' did manage to raise your temper!! :)thankfully just for a while.

Warped Mind of Ron said...

I've gotten to the point that I prefer to fax my instructions to people after I have a conversation. I got so sick and tired of "you said..." when I know I was clear on everything. That way I can call and read over the fax with whoever still screws it up.

Nilsa S. said...

Makes you wonder if a temp was working at the temping agency that day...

Anonymous said...

You tell em'!

Sparkling Red said...

Dianne: Seriously? That's no good at all. At least all of my temps are proficient in the basics. (I don't take that for granted. There are plenty of people out there who have never even learned how to do a double mouse click.)

Maxie: Good idea! As long as they don't send the lousy receptionist to my office as a temp. ;-)

Vanessa: They'd have no problem finding a qualified candidate. They have plenty to choose from.

Onlooker: Yes, it is a "temporary" situation by definition. That helps to keep things in perspective. :-)

Ron: That's a really good idea. If I ever run into this situation again, I will put my instructions in writing.

Nisla: Could be...

Unsigned: I did. And received a profuse apology, for all the good it did after the fact! :-p

jameil1922 said...

ugh. i seriously sometimes want to ask people if they speak english. foolishness!!!

Leighann said...

Yikes, I don't want to mess with you!

mex (aka Syb) said...

I left you a comment, an epistle.

Check it if and when you have an extra 3 hours


Wuvv and stuff,


Karen said...

I have about 30 temp (attorneys) who work for me. We are really flexible about them missing days. I mean, they are temps. They need to interview for real jobs or do whatever temps do when they are not on my clock.

Jenski said...

I'm glad the temps you have had are helpful if the agency is not!

Sparkling Red said...

Jameil: I had to rein myself in. I would've loved to insult the woman who made the mistake, but that wouldn't have been very nice. :-p

Leighann: I can be fierce when provoked! >:-[

Syb: Awesome. I assume you mean on your blawg. I will visit forthwith.

Karen: That sounds like a good system. 30 is a lot! I guess that means you rarely have to work short-handed.

Jenski: They sent a new girl over today, and she's a real crackerjack, so they're back in my good books. :-)

San said...

Now, if you lived in New Mexico, I'd say the part of your statement that was ambiguous was the word "tomorrow." Here there's a tendency to postpone things until "manana." So if you say that you need someone "tomorrow," you mean you need them the day after tomorrow. Or the day after that. Or the day after...

Sparkling Red said...

San: Well, there you go. Maybe the temp agency employee recently moved to Toronto from New Mexico. She'll have to learn the local lingo!

Aurora said...

That temp agency person could have just said, sorry for the misunderstanding. Nooo. She had to try to justify herself. Sheesh. What is it about excuses, people?!