Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Paid by the hour? Don't expect anyone to hurry, then

More joy from the world of joblessness - yet again I had to call up an agency just to find out I hadn't got the role, when they said they would be in touch. It's a common occurrence and happens a zillion times more often than it should; at best it's careless, at worst it's inconsiderate. Yes, downright inconsiderate. Bringing out the colourful language today.

One day I will write up my temping memoires (21 months and counting), where I will describe my experiences in the Land of Zero Job Security, going through the many difficult aspects of the various clients I've had to work with (anonymously, of course). That day is sadly not here yet, as I am still well and truly without a proper job.

I just wanted to touch on one aspect of temping that I was reminded of recently. (Flashback time!) When I was 16, I did waitering for the old people on Saga holidays at the local agricultural college. What seemed crazy to me at the time was that we were paid hourly - so if we all busted a gut to try and clean up early, we were paid less than if we lounged around, mucked around and got out around 11pm. And so, similarly, I've been involved in a number of temp roles with a specifically quantitative task and been paid hourly.

Now I'm not saying I have an alternative. It's not like employers could look at a job and say "completing that is worth X hundred dollars, the sooner it's done the sooner you can go". Also, quality and accuracy are important factors in many of these data entry roles, and I'm frequently saying (often just in my head, in frustration, admittedly) that either you want the job done quickly or you want it done properly, because you can't have both. In a sense, paying for more hours means paying for a better job.  Neither am I saying I'm lazy or opportunistic. Even in my career as a temp, I've been honest and committed to the often less-than-exciting work I've had to do.

But I'm just wondering - does anyone else think it's strange to pay people less for doing the job quickly?

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