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Where to start with this one… I think I’ll start by just coming out and saying it.

Temp Agencies are bad. I’m happy that I don’t have to use them anymore, but I do share the frustration by those who do.

Lets look at the way these agencies work, then breakdown what it means for the Agency, Employer (Company you are sent to often called the customer), then finally the Employee (You the person, representative in the equation).

The Agency is nothing more then a device, a money making, glass ceiling for all, employment blocking device. “Now wait a minute.” you say “I am presently working through one of these agencies.”
Well okay so you are, and so are about 700 000 other Canadians who face some rather similar ugly realities. First off lets get one thing straight right off the bat, YOU ARE NOT, by the very definition of the word employed-

[To have or keep at work; to give employment or occupation to; to intrust with some duty or behest; as, to employ a hundred workmen; to employ an envoy. [1913 Webster]

You are “representing the agency”. All you need to do is go into any of these types of agencies and walk through the mountain of paper work that must be read, signed, and dated before you even receive the offer of so-called employment. If one pays close attention there is always somewhere in there a clause or a caveat basically whittling you down to the equivalent of a commodity with such phrases as “You a representative of – agency name- …” or “- Your Name- as a client of – agency name- if sent to – Customer Name- … have the right/duty/responsibility blah blah blah”, basically to take the human factor out and lower the standard all around. Lets look at some examples.

A- – Your Name- gets a call to go to a – Customer- for a scheduled start of a shift, after the introductions (on site), the tour, you are given your task, you go about your work and at the end of the shift you head home. Next night (if asked) you return, but you are given a task that involves something unsafe/uncomfortable/beyond your skill-level, (which actually happens quite a bit as you are dealing with people at the agency that more-often-then-not haven’t even seen the details of the work you are sent to do as they have a template they use over and over again to fill/recruit.) So you inform the supervisor/contact that you are not willing to do the task for the safety/comfort concerns which by the very papers you signed at the agency gives you the right to do and in MOST cases actually are laid out in the Employment Standards of Canada but guess what, you finish your shift after being given another task and lo-and-behold you get home after work only to realize that the company called and requested that you do not return. The very next day someone else from the same agency you are “contracted” with goes in your place. I have witnessed this personally and it is actually quite a downfall of this agency “employee” relationship.

B- – Your Name- gets a call to go to – customer- 4 days after you signed up because the – agency- called on 20 people to show up for 1 opening and you inform them that you can’t as you have a medial appointment (example) scheduled for the stated start time, so the – agency- thanks you, hangs up, and moves you to the back of the so called “availability list” to leave you waiting for the next call.

This type of example could go on for days as the very combination/practices of a Temp Agency allow this and other instances of employment violation to occur by the very design.

The inherent problem with this sort of arrangement is actually quite clear, as an Employer in Canada you are bond by certain rights and obligations, same for an Employee, yet it is evident in the practices of the – agency- this can be easily circumvented, as you are reduced to nothing more then a client and the employer is reduced to a customer, one by one Standards can easily be sucked into the grey area/void created by this very arrangement. Right in the Canadian Worker Hand-guide is the following; You as the employee have the right/obligation to refuse any work deemed unsafe to undertake whether it be your skill-level or inherent dangers of the task (in a nutshell).

So basically if you are told to jump 2 feet in a room that only has 1 foot clearance and the ceiling is lined with razor wire YOU as the Employee have a duty/right to refuse and the Employer has the duty/right to investigate, but with the agency involved said example does not exist, instead the customer can call the agency and have the client replaced with one who will do the aforementioned task without question. That example may be a little extreme, but it does show the weakness of the arrangement and the problems that arise for the working folks who have had their rights stripped away in recent years and it also illustrates the basic and most important flaw of this set-up YOU are no longer a valued employee you are point of fact a commodity and a revenue generator for both parties. This is why under this arrangement 90% of the time you see temps doing tasks in their positions that actual employees of the customer would refuse and create nothing but a problem for Human Resources. There is also the fact that because of expend-ability created by the agreement the client (temp worker) must perform the same as an actual employee or else. Lets look at this closer as in my opinion it is unfair and quite horrifying.

Lets say I (an actual employee) of the employer receives $18.00/hour to do my job, now the agency receives that same rate (in a lot of cases more) to pay the client (temp worker) $10.00-12.00/hour to do the same task, now for such a reduction in pay-rate this temp is to show the same qualities in performance as I for 300-500 hours (usual length of contract)? Personally, I believe no, in my opinion any supervisor or H.R. representative worth their own wage ought to be able to tell if the client is a good fit after a few shifts, also this arrangement in fact increases the clients probation time by 2 or 3 times which can have someone working for up to a year without a proper wage, benefits, or at the very least some sort of sense of security.

So lets stop the expend-ability, the loss of worker rights, and together take back the voice of the employee and say no to circumventing the rules.

As of late, it seems that the linux world is rising in some popularity whether it be the everyday user, people looking for something different, or even the system administrator looking for a break from the norm..

This post is not meant to tow the line for either camp (M$ or Linux), but to address an issue that seems to be growing pretty rampant no matter which OS or Distro you choose. For some time now I have been quite active in My favourite Distro’s forums and IRC support board. What I have steadily seen an increase in what has to be “mis-informed users”, to say that it is from MY viewpoint, too many users look for help in scenarios that could easily be addressed by some legwork before they make the “leap”. What i mean by this is pretty simple if I use a broader example;
You go to your local cell phone shop to get the latest and greatest phone, you get it home and (for 90% of us), open the manual while it is getting its first charge.
After that, if you get stuck with a function you find yourself going back to the manual.

This does not seem to be the case lately in the Linux world (same problem exists in the M$ world, just with the smaller user base in Linux it seems exacerbated), day in and day out, the same questions arise;

– Where do I get my programs from?
– What is a Package Manager
– What is this terminal you speak of?
– My World of War-craft.exe doesn’t load.
– I can’t install M$ Office.
– etc., etc., etc……..

This list goes on and on and on. Now lets look at what I feel is one of the underlying reasons for this and how it can be limited;

– Do your homework! No matter what your friend said, or what you read in some obscure post on the web Linux IS NOT Windows and vice-versa and I will not get into that debate as it is covered, blogged and re blogged as far as bandwidth can navigate on the web! Any comments relating to this point will be deleted.

– Remember that it is ALL about preference and nothing more. Just as some people prefer to drive a Dodge and others prefer to drive -insert make/model here -, I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts you researched that to death before you leapt.

– Understand what it is you are really trying to accomplish. This in itself should be the very principal that guides you! Are you truly looking for an alternative?, Are you mad that because of inexperience Windowz crashed beyond recovery? Just going for a test drive for look and feel? What ever the reason, an educated guess is always the good one and anything less is just plain DUMB.

To continue without these VERY BASIC skills in problem solving is just asking for trouble not to mention, it is mostly VOLUNTEERS handling the support and not a paid service, also most of these users started out as new too. They borked, re-installed, re-borked and re-installed again before they became proficient. As a good friend of mine said, and I quote:

“For one to think that it is as simple as booting to the install disk, installing the distro and on reboot magical things will happen like Unicorns dancing across your desktop while farting rainbows in itself is ludicrous”

In my opinion NO matter what OS you chose to go with, the current trend in today’s population of “I want it now, and it should work!” is going to be a problem across the board, whether it is your OS, Car or microwaveable meal, in the end it is the user to blame for 90% of a computer’s problems, whether it be due to mis-information, rushing through well laid out documentation to get to the end and wish a result, or even blindly following someone’s advice. Remember what your Mom always used to say?
“If your friend went and jumped off a cliff, would you?” Take a step back and think it through is all I guess I’m really trying to say.

REMEMBER

Construct the idea of what you want to accomplish, what tools are available for you to accomplish it, then research it again, decide, then execute!

Pretty simple huh?

Now if Face Book (FB), actually goes ahead and deploys their e-mail service upon the WWW, I honestly believe ABSOLUTELY NO DAMN GOOD can come of it. Other then users blindly clicking about looking for old flames, drinking buddies, or even that nerd they used to “pack-bully” back in the day, it is of MY opinion the FB is the true essence of “Form-Over-Function”! Since it’s inception, the press surrounding FB has always been mixed, in that context it seems more often then not FB is only making headlines because of;

The Horrifying-
-security issues
-third-party vendors misbehaving
-people doing things they shouldn’t be (especially during work hours)

The Decent
-binding together awareness groups (which can be construed as the horrifying, depending on your views)
-pages sometimes started for missing people or legitimate help organizations

Now in today’s world of security lets look at the underlying principals that really bother me. Write to FB and ask for your profile to be removed and binned for good, or even better, take a look through their EULA and see what “opt-out” really means. If the average person applied those kinds of caveats to their career between other associates or employers, I’m sure for the most part one would find them selves being binned in the real sense of the word and not FB’s version/lofty idea of the word (or at least publicly skewered for it).

Most serious providers of e-mail or “networking” do offer a legitimate option for binning/deleting you profile (though some are buried deep within the EULA) but, nonetheless they do. I opened a FB account over two years ago to see what the fuss was about, I poked about for forty-eight hours and decided it wasn’t for me. Since then I have written to FB twice, have NOT logged into the account and followed all of their “suggestions” to the letter, guess what? Friends I added during the trial can still see my profile, and if it wasn’t for some sort of spam control/junk filters in my e-mail, I would still see messages telling me I haven’t logged in in awhile and I should see this that and the other thing.

Taking all of this into consideration, just imagine the flood of mail once one’s e-mail address is publicly catalogued to one’s profile, further more one can only imagine at some time that info will be compromised as it has in the past by FB partners. Once again in MY opinion the whole idea scares me to death and the age old adage “Buyer Beware” (Very AWARE) in this case applies like never before.