The TemPimp works out of some suburban strip mall hell-hole in an office sandwiched between a rundown H&R Block and one of those ghetto Chinese food joints that also serves sushi.
I park my car, taking note of a blonde who reminds me of the Swiss Miss girl. But with a better rack. Apparently, she got the call too.
Inside is a career resource center for those without careers or resources. It reeks of cheap coffee and desperation.
I spot Swiss Miss reading a copy of the ABA Journal. She’s dressed to impress, like the hiring partner from Cravath is going to walk in and offer her an associate position.
I cruise over to the obese secretary I’ve nicknamed Mrs. Donut. I tell her how nice she looks in her sweater, how the frolicking reindeer bring out her eyes.
I present her with a box of Yum Yums, and she tells me what I need to know—the client needs only one more lawyer, and Swiss Miss, who has stellar temp credentials (an oxymoron if ever there was one), has the inside track because she has the 2:15 p.m. interview slot and I’m not up until 2:30 p.m.
In the world of legal temping, it’s all about first come, first served.
Sizing up my competition, I settle in next to Swiss Miss.
“Only gunners and half-wits read the ABA Journal,” I say. “Which are you?”
She buries her nose in the magazine, trying to ignore me.
“You look like a gunner,” I say over the munching sound of Mrs. Donut. “Nice slacks, tight black sweater, just enough cleavage to give someone at BigLaw a reason to take your resume.”
She drops the paper and looks down at her chest as I spot the clock on the wall—2:11 p.m.
“C cups, right?”
“They’re going to ask in there. Haven’t you worked with this agency before?”
“They’re going to ask about my bra? I don’t think so.”
“No, honey. They’re going to ask if you think it’s a good idea to dress so . . . so . . . .”
The clock turns 2:12 p.m.
“Oh, nothing,” I say. “You probably don’t want to hear any advice on workplace attire from me.”
I grab a Newsweek and leave Swiss Miss to her own self-defeating devices. But like all gunners, she just can’t help herself.
“What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?”
I ignore her, pretending to focus on my magazine.
“Seriously, I need to know. Are temps expected to dress differently? I wear this outfit on job interviews.”
“Did you land any of those jobs?” I ask, putting down my magazine.
“Look, they don’t care what you wear. It doesn’t matter. But you don’t want to go in there looking like a piece of eye candy. The temping agency doesn’t need a simple placement turning into a sexual harassment lawsuit.”
“I didn’t know.”
“Well, now you do.”
She looks at the clock—2:14 p.m.
“I have another sweater in my car,” she says. “I need to change.”
Swiss Miss jumps up and lunges at Mrs. Donut.
“I need five minutes.”
“If you miss your appointment, you won’t be able to reschedule. I’m sorry.”
“Five minutes,” she pleads.
“Sorry. There’s nothing I can do.”
Swiss Miss looks at me.
“Go ahead and take my slot,” I say. And then I wink at Mrs. Donut, letting her know that it’s ok.
“Thank you,” Swiss Miss says.
“Go. You’re wasting time.”
She runs out the door as the clock strikes 2:15 p.m.
The familiar voice of the TemPimp sounds on Mrs. Donuts’ intercom.
Send in the next one.
Mrs. Donut ushers me in.
Ten minutes later, I emerge to see Swiss Miss sitting in her most conservative outfit.
“Good luck,” she says.
“Thanks,” I tell her as I hustle to the door.
“Maybe we can get coffee sometime so you can give me a few pointers?”
“See you at the office,” I say, betraying a slight smile.
Then I race to my car, start the engine and peel out of the parking lot before Swiss Miss realizes I took her job.
Temper(a)mental is written by a real legal temp. He has a license and a law degree. We checked. He’ll continue to post his “thoughts” in between doing “your work.”