I spent a good chunk of my twenties working in the temp industry, and no matter what industry you’re in, it’s utterly dehumanizing. It’s absolute hell to drag your ass into a place Labor Ready well before dawn day after day, just to sit around and wait for the fourteen or so hours of backbreaking labor that may never even come. I can’t imagine doing it for as long as she has.
While there was still manufacturing in the Silicon Valley, I worked on assembly lines through temp agencies like Apple One, making chump change assembling printers and servo motors. If I was lucky, I’d land the occasional filing clerk, telemarketing, or admin position, and while those didn’t really pay any better, at least I didn’t have to worry about losing a finger.
Nowadays, the temp model has made its way into many of the upper-division jobs in Silicon Valley; engineers, software developers, IT, sales, and countless other professions are staffing through temp agencies, competing with ever-increasing numbers of foreign workers from China and India on temporary visas for same positions…and the same wages. Meanwhile, Cisco, Sun, Google, and Apple just kick back and rake in the dough, and American taxpayers pick up the bill.
At the same time, all across the rest of the country, companies like Wal-Mart, Target, and Amazon are laughing all the way to the bank, and all of them are telling us employment is on the rise, things are getting better, and of course they play fair and treat temps like they would their own children. It’s a total sham.