25-year-old temp finishes three month contract without ever knowing what his job was

OTTAWA – “It didn’t hit me until the beginning of my last week, I was updating my resume and realized I had no idea what I had actually done over the last three months,” explained Stuart McAlister, a 25-year-old temp. “My first day the administrative assistant showed me my desk, gave me a welcome package and told me I was brought in to work on the Endcor file.”

Stuart was instructed to contact IT, security and HR to complete the New Employee On-boarding (NEOB) and then contact his supervisor for further instruction. “NEOB was supposed to take a week but it took over a month. The first week I was excited and would happily wait on hold with IT for hours to get started on the Endcor file, but half way through the second week it became torturous. I kept asking my supervisor if this was normal, he said it wasn’t, but to hold tight. I would come in everyday at 9 and open my NEOB welcome package and read through it. My computer login wasn’t working yet so I sat at my desk trying to look busy.”

“By the time I had my e-Login and mobile workstation arranged I needed to take a week’s worth of courses to be aloud on the secure server. I started with a three day security course. The first day I learnt about physical hazards, the second day was cancelled because the instructor was sick. On the third day, in an effort to get things signed off, we condensed the final two days into one. Harassment and mental health in the morning and values and ethics in the afternoon. When the instructor tried to register my course completion, the course software informed us that only spending 3 hours on harassment and mental health was a breach of protocol and I that I had to start the whole course over again — there was no manual override. It wasn’t available for another two weeks because of a scheduling issue.”

The frustrated temp asked if there was anything he could do while he waited but was informed that he couldn’t do anything until his security training was completed, however, if he stopped attending work his contract would be terminated.

“Once I finally completed my security course I was excited but also disillusioned, I have a master’s degree in industrial affairs and I had  written a research paper on the efficiency and thoroughness of the security training software the company used. I’m coming to realize those two words don’t go together very well in the real world.”

McAlister only had three weeks left on his contract when he was cleared to work on the Endcor files. “I was instructed to spend two weeks familiarizing myself with them.”

After one week with access the young temp explained, “The Endcor files were nothing more than poorly written policy drafts that had been cut and paste from what looked like a number of different policies that covered anything from filing time sheets to what kind of apple juice one could order for an event.”

“I had no idea what to make of the files. I emailed my supervisor asking for some direction and I received an out of office response informing me that he would be away on assignment for the next two weeks and to contact Stuart McAlister (me) if they needed anything, I looked at his return date and noticed it was my last day.”

Mildly irritated with his new found responsibility McAlister kept a closer eye on his inbox but all he received were newsletters about other department’s social activities and an urgent email requiring action on the latest departmental security training scheduled two weeks after his contract expired.

“The whole contract was an experience, they don’t prepare you for that in grad school.”

Ramsgate & Hackett

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