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Subtle Workplace Sabotage You Can Do
Every Day!

Perverting the Service Excellence Quote of the Day,
a.k.a. The Temp's Corollary

by Molly Denver and Julie Wiskirchen


I had a really crappy temp job at Cellular Service Provider X. I was assisting the assistant to the Location Manager, but she wouldn't give me much to do. They were looking for a "temp to perm" person and I told her I had no interest in sticking around, so she decided it wasn't worth it to train me. Three months later, they still hadn't found a perm and I was still there, not learning a thing, a bump on a log. I would answer the phones, do some filing, mostly surf the net. Everyday some Cellular Service Provider X HR drone would e-mail a "Service Excellence Quote of the Day." I would then add my addendum, "The Temp's Corollary," to the quote and e-mail it to my friend Molly and we extrapolated from there. It was the only way to add some amusement to those days spent listening to customers complain that their cell phones kept cutting out on them or that Cellular Service Provider X was building a communication tower on top of their apartment building and they were sure they'd get brain cancer. What follows is a collection of our e-mail improvisation.

An HR tool writes:
When we all cooperate, everybody wins.

The Temp's Corollary:

When I'm selfish, I win.
When everybody cooperates to serve me, I win.
When I hoard the most office supplies, I win.
When I charge the office for my personal cabs the most, I win.
When I make personal long distance calls on the company phone, I win and my friends in far localities also win.
When I sleep with my boss' son, he wins.
When I watched the Oscars, Jack Nicholson won.
When Jack won the Oscars, Anthony won the office pool.
When Anthony won the office pool, you lost.
The temp loses regardless of who wins because only official Cellular Service Provider X employees are authorized to participate in office pools.
Unless the temp is stealing office supplies. Then the temp always wins.

Everyone is a customer for somebody, or a supplier to somebody - have you had a CUSTOMER/SUPPLIER DIALOG lately?

The Temp's Corollary:

The dialogue in Reservoir Dogs is really good. Have you watched Reservoir Dogs lately?

Think customer service. Nice guys may appear to finish last but usually they're running in a different race!

The Temp's Corollary:

The smart, crafty salesman will trip the nice guy, like Zola Budd did to Mary Decker Slaney in the '84 Olympics, thereby making the nice guy finish last and possibly even injuring the nice guy and/or ending his career. That is the smart way to run the race.

Think Value. The secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well.

The Temp's Corollary:

The Secret of Success...isn't that a Michael J. Fox movie? As I recall, it was a moderately successful, but not at all uncommon. As was Michael J. Fox.

On the other hand, Scott Valentine, who played Mallory's artistic boyfriend Nick, was an uncommon talent. Whatever happened to him?

Scott Valentine must be doing common things commonly well, as we have not heard from him.

As younger sis Jennifer, Tina Yothers was uncommonly ugly.

Though Tina Yothers was uncommonly amusing as the butt of a joke on South Park.

South Park is uncommonly amusing, especially compared to common Comedy Central stuff. Merideth Baxter Birney is a common choice when a TV movie needs a maternal figure with a mental, eating, alcoholic or psychotic disorder.

However, uncommonly, the woman who plays Mallory is an actress without a history of mental, eating, alcoholic or psychotic disorders.

Yet, we must question Justine Bateman's (the woman who played Mallory) common sense when it comes to choosing film roles. Remember when she played a girl rocker in the movie Satisfaction? That movie is common to the max, except for the uncommon presence of a pre-stardom Julia Roberts in a supporting role.

Oddly enough, Justine Bateman also played the common jilted fiancée in the movie The Night We Never Met, which was about sharing a tiny apartment in New York City. Her brother Justin is uncommonly handsome. (NOT -- ML)

Sharing a tiny apartment is an all-too-common New York City experience. Isn't Justine's brother named Jason? he was the friend of Rick Schroeder, commonly called "The Ricker", on Silver Spoons. Or does Justine have another brother who is not part of my common knowledge?

No, I knew Justine's uncommonly handsome brother (NOT -- ML) had a common name, thereby confusing me into thinking her parents could be so uncommonly cruel. Ricky Schroeder was common for a teen heartthrob in the early eighties, though much like a commoner, his attempt to change his name to Rick was ignored.

Which name is more common: Rick, Ricky, or The Ricker?

In the common world, Rick is more common, but in the uncommon world of Hollywood, Ricky Lake and Ricky Ricardo tip the scales toward Ricky.

But don't forget the none-too-common Rick Springfield and Rick Baker (Oscar-winning makeup man for horror movies like An American Werewolf in London). I guess both Ricks and Rickys are commonplace in Hollywood, however, there is only one Ricker.

This puts him in the category of Madonna, and Cher -- who truly are folks who do the commonplace uncommonly well.

Service Excellence is a commitment to positive change, embrace it..." A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for." --John A. Shedd

The Temp's Corollary:

When you're on a sinking ship, and you can't be with the one you love, embrace the one you're with. Chances are, Celine Dion will start singing about commitment. That's what she was built for.

Find ways to move toward service excellece (sic) goals everyday. "Opportunites (sic) are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them." --Ann Landers

The Temp's Corollary:

Even a dumb-ass temp knows that the spell check feature exists on most word processing programs and is a friggin' easy way to achieve service excellence.

The Temp's Corollary Part II:

Dear Ann Landers,
Most perms don't recognize that I'm a hard worker disguised as a temp. In fact, most perms don't recognize that I'm a living, breathing person with feelings. I think they think that their company orders temps from the Corporate Express supply catalog and that if they don't like the way I look or if I somehow don't fit, they can just stamp "return to sender" on me and take a credit for their next order. What can I do to achieve some respect in the workplace?
Disgruntled in Yonkers

Dear Disgruntled,
Why don't you try stealing office supplies? That will make you feel better. Chin-up, lil' temp!

"Perfection is a dream, excellence is a reality that is achievable." --Source Unknown

The Temp's Corollary:

Perfection is that really stressful game where you have different shapes and you have to stick them in the right slots before the timer goes off because when the timer goes off all the pegs come flying out of the slots and you lose (your mind -- ML). You know, why would anyone want to get that stressed out on their recreation time when our jobs provide a full quota of stress? I'll stick to Solitaire.

"The wise only posses (sic) ideas...the greater part of mankind are possessed by them."
--Samuel Tayler Coleridge

The Temp's Corollary:

1. Coleridge didn't misspell possess.
2. To continue with the Coleridge reference, this job is an albatross hanging around my neck.
3. The greater part of Cellular Service Provider X employees are possessed by Satan. Their possession is long and drawn out, more like Marlena on Days of Our Lives than Linda Blair in The Exorcist. I wish someone would hurl someone else out of one of these 11th floor glass windows. Or at least vomit. Or have "SERVICE EXCELLENCE" show up in raised letters on their bellies. That would be exciting.

"Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better." --Pat Riley

The Temp's Corollary:

"Tina, nobody every said that life was fair. I'm bigger, I'm stronger and I will always beat you." --Mommie Dearest

"Nobody gets to run the mill by doing run-of-the-mill work." --Thomas J. Frye

The Temp's Corollary:

Who said I want to run the fucking mill? I'd prefer to continue doing the run-of-the-mill work I'm assigned as a temp while battling against windmills in my mind like Don Quixote.

"Problems are only opportunites (sic) in work clothes" --Henry J. Kaiser

The Temp's Corollary:

Use thrifting excellence tools. Problems occur when you can't find good sales on work clothes.

Take it from break dancers. Problems occur when you can't do good work in sail cloth.

Problems occur when arthritic break dancers get stuck mid-worm, when they discover they can lock, but they can't pop.

A Service Excellence Tool is dancing against your enemies such as in Breakin' 2 - Electric Boogaloo.

Break dancers would have problems if their work clothes were ugly suits and blouses with floppy bows and suntan hose. Perhaps we corporate women would have an easier time achieving our service excellence goals if we had the opportunity to wear sail cloth. Maybe that is what "Casual Friday" is built for.

Fashion can be a Service Excellence Tool in and of itself. Work clothes are opportunities to solve problems. Suntan hose cannot solve anything.

But suntan hose have provided Mom Denver with support excellence for years. One only needs to watch Melrose Place to see how fashion can be a service excellence tool. Amanda got to be big boss chick because of her short skirts and spike heels. She was promoted for her look, regardless of her ability to practice service excellence when the opportunities arose.

Amanda has always been capable of utilizing the Service Excellence tool of sleeping her way to the top. The problems consisted of removing her work clothes.

Removing clothes really isn't a problem for Amanda. Her skirts are so short they provide easy access. But the suitor who doesn't practice service excellence is the one who forgets to pull down Amanda's suntan hose before attempting to penetrate her with his service excellence tool.

As long as the suitor's service excellence tool is wearing it's very own work clothes, opportunities less frequently become problems.

"Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday." --Don Marquis

The Temp's Corollary:

Procrastination is an art. It's not hard to keep up when you're a temp and you're given one small job that's supposed to keep you busy all day (guess when ML typed this up?) The art is to procrastinate while doing that job and make it last all day. I'm pretty good at it. You might say I practice procrastination excellence.

"The world is not run by thought, nor by imagination, but by opinion." --Elizabeth Drew

The Temp's Corollary:

If I've learned anything from temping and life in general, it's that all my opinion is good for is maybe a $5 gift certificate at the mall if I take the time to talk to one of those survey women who take you into a back room and ask personal questions about your detergent and lunch meat preferences. I'm pretty sure my opinion does not run the world.

If my opinion ran the world, the Irish would be happier, starvation would be much more minimal, everyone would dress a bit better and no one would feather their hair, wear blue eye shadow, own windsocks, or serve cocktail wieners before dinner. Also, I would be rich.

If imagination ran the world, Disney would be out of business.

If my opinion and imagination ran the world, everyone would be required by law to watch a minimal of two talk shows a day to keep things in perspective.

If Jerry Springer's opinion ran the world, his cabinet would consist of strippers and you would have to be the product of incest to run for congress and only people with multiple piercings and drug habits could be Supreme Court justices and the first lady would be a hooker.

If hookers' opinions ran the world, you would never have to work honestly, and drugs would run in the water.

If hooker's imaginations ran the world, well, let's just say there'd be a dildo aisle in every Wal-Mart and condom vending machines in the schools and nobody would ever kiss anybody, they'd just fuck. Kissing is too personal. Fucking is service excellence.

Even though the world is not run by hookers, I think it is indeed run by fucking. Opinion isn't in the equations and neither is cold hard fact, just cold hard fucking.

"Not failure, but low aim, is a crime." --James Russell Lowell

The Temp's Corollary:

When I was in Junior High, I used to avoid getting 100% on tests on purpose. I aimed to increase my low popularity by placing little value on my intelligence, by making myself more like the failures who had tiny brains and big feathered hair. That was no way to achieve satisfaction.

Even going back to reunions and flaunting one's success does not achieve satisfaction -- the feathered-hair women then can't figure out why you're not married. They are satisfied you are a failure, just as you are satisfied that they are. This is like the fact that we think apes are stupid because they can't do math. They think we are stupid because we bother.

"It takes months to find a customer but only seconds to lose one...IF YOU PROMISE TO DELIVER, DELIVER WHAT YOU PROMISE."

The Temp's Corollary:

It takes months of aggravation with incompetent sales and customer service people before the frustrated Cellular Service Provider X customer finally decides to take things to the highest level, to contact the area president, and then he has to come through me. Usually the area president is in a meeting or at least he wants me to say he's in a meeting, and that makes the frustrated customer even more frustrated. I wish it only took seconds to lose him, but usually he will yell for at least two minutes, during which I hold the phone away from my ear and play solitaire. That's the way I practice service excellence on assholes who misdirect their anger at innocent temps. I practice service excellence upside their heads.

It is better to practice service excellence upside their heads than up their asses. Remember, it takes months to find a customer, but only seconds to screw one.

The customer often has his head up his ass already, so sometimes you have to go up his ass in order to go upside his head. Sometimes that is the only way to deliver what you've promised.

It takes months to find a customer, but only ten minutes to effectively kiss my ass. The customer should keep in mind the power I have to stick my head up my own ass, and above all, the power I have to hang up, ending our exchange entirely. This can be more pleasant than never even promising to deliver at all.

Still, it's fun to promise things that you have no intention of delivering. It's fun to tease customers. They will get all excited and then want to kick you in the ass when they discover you lied. But by then, you will have moved on to a new assignment where you can promise things to different asshole customers and continue to deliver nothing. Remember, it takes seconds to get an appointment with a new temp agency, but about two hours to take all the crappy tests.

When all else fails, one can always move home. Remember, it takes two seconds to tell your mom you're going to set the table, but two hours to put it off until she does it herself.

Practice Service Excellence as a part of each day.
"The world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation. The hand is more important than the eye...The hand is cutting edge of the mind." -- Jacob Bronowski
"Just do it." --Nike Commercial

The Temp's Corollary:

Let's recap what we've learned over the past few days...
Imagination, Thought, Idealism, Contemplation, Seeing = BAD
Hand Jobs = GOOD.


Discuss successories and other lame motivational tools here. Add comment.



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