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Temp Services and Staffing Agencies

Updated on May 17, 2012

I was a Temp Service Double Agent!

Eighteen years ago or so I worked for three different Temp services. You know, the company that promises to get you work and that they will be sending you to places that will eventually hire you permanently? Yeah, a load, but I'll get to that.

While working for a recycling warehouse I worked for one service, Accu Temp. I was also on call with Protocal and Kelly's at the time. At this point I had worked in over twenty different locations and had not recieved a single offer of permanent employment to my knowledge. The key phrase, to my knowledge. One day protocal called me with a job and i explained I was working regularly at a locale through Accu temp. They wanted to know where and how much I wa getting paid. They promised that they would pay me more and since I was getting only $7.50 an hour I was all in. All I needed to do was work undercover for a month or so and observe and report all of the activities of the company and Accu temp. I did this but protcal never followed through with their promise. After I had stopped working at the recycling plant apparently accu temp lost the account and protocal took it over. There was no reward for my spying, they lied and i fell for it.

In most cases the jobs needed someone short term to do so some work. In others employers seemed to rely on Temporary workers to keep things running on the cheap. I had built myself a reputation among these temp services as someone who was reliable and was a very hard worker. Those two things were the most important aspects of an employee as far as they were concerned. Every action or non-action you made reflected back on them and because I performed and satisfied the temporary employers I unintentionally made myself a commodity.

Now, you might think that is a good thing but it was not. In fact it turned out to be a bad thing. You see, at most of these jobs there would be other guys from the temp services as well. The next day there would often be a different guy and so on because the last fella didn't want to return. Most guys simply did not want to work for the lower pay rate the service provided. Here and there I would meet others like myself who were simply happy to be working but we were a rarity.

Because of the huge number of unreliables both accu temp and Protocal began to use me to polish their image. If things had gone badly at an employer's due to their temp staff the services would send me and in no time it would all be forgotten. I was the band aid. I was the proof that there were men working through the temps that could be relied upon. Considering all of this you might think I had plenty of offers for permanent employment. I did.

It was not until I had left the temp services completely that one of the reps called me and confessed. She explained that they missed me, they needed me and that they had made a huge mistake in letting me go. Let me go? I left and there was nothing that was going to convince me to stay. When I told her I had found a permanent job and no longer needed her service she then began to explain to me how I was wronged. I had plenty of offers from places i had been sent to and on each occasion the supervisor of the temp agency proclaimed I was too useful to be let go! As I said earlier I was a band aid for them and because I had done all the right things I had gotten shafted.

How about that, kids? The American ideal, work hard and be loyal and respectable and you should do just fine, right? No. Instead you get used, taken advantage of and taken for granted all at once. They were capitalising on my ethics while ignoring their own. They made promises and never kept them. They in effect betrayed my trust.

Today, 05/17/2012, I recieved a call from a temp service explaining i had applied for a job they run HR for. They wanted a painter. She asked, "Are you a professional painter?" My silence as I contemplated my reply must have spoken volumes. She then asked, "Do you have warehousing experience? I see that you have worked through a couple temp services so you must have some experience. Do you recall applying to this position?"

I replied, "Honestly, no. I have applied to so many places by now, in fact I have applied everywhere." Suddenly her tune changed. She asked if I had a criminal background. I said no. She asked if I had a car. I said no but I share one with my better half. She asked if I could pass a drug test. I said sure. She said I needed to complete my application to them and come in for an interview. I never applied to them in the first place. I applied to an add in craigslist that said they were looking for painters. She said I should come on down and immediately I went online to look them up. Bear staffing. I found a lot of complaints and evidence that things have not changed as far as temp services go.

Now, looking around for the past 19mths I realize that something like 80% of warehouses and large industries are relying on temp services/staffing agencies to find their employees! To me because of my past experience this is a horrible and repugnant thing. To me this doesn't make much sense. If a temp service gives me ten dollars an hour to work someplace that pays their employees 13 dollars an hour how is this helping me? As I explained above the so called promise to help you find permanent work is a lie. Once it is established they can rely on you they will move you around in order to keep their image polished. Yet, as my unemployment races toward its end my options are limited.

I hate to say it but i need some moral advice here. I learned this lesson once but should I allow desperation to put me back in a bad position? Really, most of the time I worked for temp services I sat around waiting for work more than anything. I have little faith in them and no trust but apparently the same can be said of me by the countless employers I have applied to. In all these months I have had five interviews now. Five.

I know I am not alone. I know that things are bad not just in the USA but all across the wide world. Yet still Temp services and Staffing agencies make me want to vomit. How about you?


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    • Barnsey profile image

      Barnsey 5 years ago from Happy Hunting Grounds

      Thanks dmop, Rabbit75 and Angela for stopping by. Thanks especially guys for your two cents, recently I have decided I would rather struggle as a one man lawn maintenance business than return to the mercy of the Temp services, I am glad you agree that they are the wrong way to go.

    • dmop profile image

      dmop 5 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

      It is near impossible to get work here in Indiana with out going through a temp service. 80 plus percent of the places I have been to have told me that they only hire through so and so staffing. I personally believe they have a lot to do with the state of the economy. I have seen companies lay off their full time employees only to hire a bunch of temps for half the wage, and little to no benefits. I'm with you they make me sick. I may be just getting by with writing, computer repairs, and guitar lessons on the side, but its better than nothing.

    • rabbit75 profile image

      rabbit75 5 years ago

      I've had bad experiences with two temp agencies, whom I won't name, but both were in TN. I have a disdain for Temp agencies and the huge and cheap corporations who use them so they can skimp on paying medical and other benefits so their board members can give their CEO big fat raises to use as a tax write off.

      Anyways, aside from my rant, sorry that happened to you Barnsey. I can truly say I understand!

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      This sounds right... true story!

    • Barnsey profile image

      Barnsey 5 years ago from Happy Hunting Grounds

      Not having my own vehicle makes it tough. I thought of doing lawn maintenance but without a truck and trailer...I am going to look into the writing things...Takes me back to that offer my grandfather made me when I was an angry teen, but that's a story for another hub! Yeah, I think the temps will be a last resort but at least they are an option. Thanks again, Express.

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 5 years ago from East Coast

      It's sad that they did this to you. If at all possible, I would avoid them because they take that chunk of what should be your pay and hide long term work from you. Is there anything that you can do to earn money on your own? Any ways that you can create additional streams of income will help lessen your need for liars like them.