Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Island in the Stream

I know people have been waiting for my vant on the situation at work. I think this is it so sit back, relax and enjoy this look into the life of a Michigan State contract/temp employee. I will warn you, this is as egocentric as it gets. This is about my island, and me. I really am not worried about people outside of this circle.

Currently in Michigan there is a hiring freeze. Budget stuff. So instead there are long term “temps” brought in to help with the work. By long term, we are talking about people working in the same position for 1 ½ to 2 and some at 3 years. The pay is good; the work environment is mostly favorable. (As long as the bright light keeps the shadows away.) Thought is that by staying and doing a good job, you will get hired in when an opening appears.

That theory was shot down last month when 4 long-term temps were passed over for a permanent position, in favor of some one from outside. That is something I have started to get over.

The current wrinkle is that yesterday we were informed of a new Executive Order that all temps working for Michigan State are to be let go by January 30.

Ok, I am an intelligent man. I know that both of these are so beyond my control that there is no use in dwelling on them. My office is currently trying to get something done to keep us. I believe that is true, but I don’t know how good of a chance there is. I am also not sure I like the options. We will either be extended in our current job and position, and/or they will be able to open up more positions to hire some people permanently. I have a couple problems with these options.

Extending our contracts keeps us in the same situation we are in now. Unsure where we are going. I need a goal to work toward, and that leaves me with no goal. My shattered goal was getting hired in to the state and that died a horrible death. Which of course leads to opening up more positions. Does not thrill me either. We have been shown that even with our experience, knowledge and high numbers, we can and will get passed over for an unknown person from outside of the office that may or may not help the call center.

All that can be done is play by it by ear. Lots of finger pointing going from the governor to the union. I know the union sees the temps as a threat and I can see why, just do the math. I am rounding my numbers to make it easier.

Averaging out, the temps do 40% of the calls in a day. That leaves 60% of the calls for the remaining 25 call center employees. Maggie, Hispanic Wonder Woman, takes 10% on her own. That leaves 24 people for 50%. Let’s remove another 4 people for customer walk ins and answering emails. So that means every permanent employee takes an average of 2.5% of the calls and the temps take and average of 6.6% of the calls. And Maggie’s 10%.

With numbers like this I can see why the perms are threatened! The temps take all their work and they have to spend the time walking around, chatting with each other, and stressing on people doing the work! We temps are evil, evil people! They need to chase us off before someone gets the bright idea to hire 6 more temps! (hmmmm another 6 temps= another 40%, Maggie’s 10% leaving 10% of calls for the remaining 20 people to take, wow! That so works!)

Now welcome to our island. Made up of temps, perms, and one Puerto Rican. This group has gotten us through many trials at work. More a family then a work group. None better. I always knew we would get broken up sooner or later. I just did not expect it to be the governor who did it. I mean really, I know she reads my blog, but from the comments she has left me, I thought she enjoyed it.

We got it beat though. We are to close to be broken up. Does not matter if we are not working together, we are a team and will stay that way. Too many times have I lost contact with co-worker once I was not seeing them every day. That isn’t going to happen. We are, and will always be the island. I am sure the where ever we end up there will be plenty to blog about!

Tomorrow is Penguin Thursday. Be there. Something long in coming, Friday, January 21, 2004 we will have “THE ISLAND PARTY”. At the Metro, 9 PM, get with me for details. Whether it will be one last hurray, or just a time to party hearty doesn’t matter. A night of drinking and (hari) karaoke is long deserved!



Blogger brooksba said...


I'm hoping the best for your island. The stories you tell about your island members show that you obviously enjoy their company and think they are great people. That's a great thing to see. One of the questions from those "Is this a good place to work?" surveys is always, "Do you have a best friend at work?" It's so vital to have great co-workers. I'm glad that you feel they are like family. I hope that all goes well, please keep us posted.

Enjoy the Penguin.


11:55 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...


This sucks. Sucks, sucks, sucks. I am so pissed off about this and I don't get how the powers that be can't look at the stats and say "Hmm. Who's doing all the work? Why it's the temps! Let's hire them."

Stupid powers that be. Argh. Gar.

Okay, talking like a pirate does really make it feel a little bit better.

Seriously, we could use you at NABABNA.

10:47 AM  

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Location: Lansing, Michigan, United States

Desert Shield/storm vet. I am the one at work who comes up with the ideas on filling up those non-work hours. (ok, who is up for canoeing this weekend?) After several wrong turns, have finally found the love of my life.

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