Thursday, April 5, 2012


I had just turned 20 and was attending the University of Kentucky. Well, I should say I was enrolled, but not necessarily attending. I withdrew from school and made the decision to work full-time until I could figure things out.  To my wonder and surprise a temp service hired me on the spot!  It was so exciting - I was a temp. I would be able to work many different job. Life would not be boring.

Boy, was that an understatement.

One of my first jobs was to drive cars through an auction house. Easier said than done, my friends.  I couldn't understand one word the auctioneer said so I often sat with saucer-wide eyes until he banged on the roof of the car I was driving and yelled, "Get out of here, idiot!"  Also, I was the only person working for the temp agency who knew how to drive a stick shift and was thus given the privilege of driving all of the large trucks and vans that were manual. It was a horrifying experience.

I worked the auction for a little bit, but then was given an opportunity to fill in for sick receptionists.  Yes,please! I just knew this is where I could shine in the professional world.

Unfortunately, the temp agency did not have time to train me. I vaguely remember being asked if I knew how to work a multi-line phone system.  I answered truthfully with no, and an explanation was offered.  Those who know me are familiar with a fact about me:  I possess an ability to look extremely attentive while not actually hearing anything that is being said. 

The next morning I was off in proper attire.  It was a small law firm with only 4 people in the office.  Perfect.  My desk was in the entrance and to the right there was a long hall with 4 offices.  Introductions were made, I was shown where to sit.  Once again the phone system was explained. Once again it did not sink in.  I think that the lawyers were already nervous as I only looked to be about 17 (even though I was a very savvy 20!)  I was very convincing at playing the part of responsible, information gathering, completely capable receptionist. I was thinking of the 80's show Scarecrow and Mrs. King.

At 9 a.m. the phone began ringing. I couldn't quite figure the phone system out. I tried and lost a couple of calls.  I was thankful the individuals called back but bummed that the caller seemed so ticked off.  I assumed that you must be angry if you needed to call a lawyer. Ever the quick thinker I put them on hold, briskly walked to the needed person's office and calmly said, "You have a call on line 3," then briskly walked back to my desk to answer more phone. I was getting quite the work out.

On my 6th trip back to his office, the man who seemed to be in charge told me that I didn't need to keep getting up and down.  I thought that was really generous. Therefore, I no longer got up and down I simply called, "Joan, call on line 2"  or "Peter, call on line 1".  

Yes, yes I did.

Imagine my surprise, and relief, when the phone quit ringing. The lines were still lighting up, but my phone was no longer ringing and it was only 10 a.m. Huh. Oh, well.  I perused a magazine I had thoughtfully brought along and found the perfect hairstyle.  I also noticed that the darkened windows provided a pretty perfect mirror.  I also noticed that there were a large pair of scissor in my special desk.  

So I played professional hairdresser.  

And cut off 5 inches of my hair, neatly depositing in the trashcan next to my desk.

I left for lunch excited to show my future husband my new haircut and tell him of my exciting time playing receptionist. He liked my hair, but seemed disturbed that I cut it while sitting at desk in a public building.

I returned to the office after lunch, feeling supremely professional with my new do. Upon opening the door my ordered world shifted to confusion.  There was a new lady - an older lady- sitting in my seat! What the heck?  I politely asked her if I could be of assistance. She politely told me to go home and call the temping agency office.

There ended my adventure playing the role of receptionist.  I often wonder what my replacement thought of the hair in the trashcan.

Mama’s Losin’ It


  1. Too funny! I cant believe you cut your hair right there! I worked for a temp agency too, in college. i had some of the strangest jobs :)

  2. HAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHA. *wipes eyes*

    I was a temp too...for several years. I did many, many stupid things.

  3. Hi-Larious. I would have never had the nerve to cut my own hair off though!

    And I had forgotten all about Scarecrow and Mrs. King. I loved that show.

  4. My strangest temp job was in Evansville, I was in my 40's and found myself unloading plastic tricycles from a semi. One day was more than enough.

  5. I wish you had a pic of your hair after you were done!

  6. OMG - I definitely laughed out loud on that one! However, I commend your choice to not rush into college before you were ready - I wish I had taken some time to figure some things out before I did. :)