This post was first published on January 12, 2005, during the time when I was working seven days a week. One of those jobs was temping for Kelly Services.
Regular readers know I’ve been temping lately. One of my temp jobs is helping out at various seminars in the Richmond area. I had no idea how rich and varied the seminar field is. In the past few months, I’ve worked quite a few different seminars, ranging from software training to property law to childcare toâ€”well, let me tell you about it.
This morning’s workshop was titled “Self-Mutilation.” It was about adolescents who cut themselves. I’d heard of the problem before, and so didn’t really raise an eyebrow at the subject matter. However, registration this morning was a bit unusual. The problem involved signing in. Over a hundred people approached the registration tables, wanting to be sure they were at the right conference (we did not have a giant sign, only literature on the tables). But they were also hesitant to ask at the wrong table, which is understandable. Picture this conversation:
“I’m here for the Self-Mutilation conference.”
“What? This is the Phillip Morris Team-building workshop, you sick freak!”
So here we are, two temps sitting at the registration table, and people walking up afraid to ask if they’re in the right place. Sometimes, they would see the program on the table, their faces would light up, and they’d say, “Oh, this is the right place!” After a while, I could see them trying to figure out what to do, so I’d start:
The hotel employee whose job it was to change the notice boards with the day’s workshops came up to the table and asked for the name of the conference. He was clearly intensely uncomfortable talking about the subject at all. So we had a short conversation:
“What name should I put in the notice board?”
“The conference is on Self-Mutilation”
“How about if I just put S-M?”
“No, then people would think it’s about sadomasochism. How about you just put [name withheld] Center?”
He went off, clearly relieved he didn’t have to have “Self-Mutilation” sitting in that board for twenty-four hours. And I got yet another story to tell people.