I got a new job through a temp agency, nothing to write home about really, typical office work, but they said that if I played my cards right, I had the possibility of getting promoted to something permanent. Is that a promotion? Or a new offer? I don’t know, I guess the big difference would be that I’d be getting a paycheck through them and not through the temp agency which, how much of a cut are they getting anyway? How long do I have to keep giving them some of my pay?
But I got way ahead of myself, because guess who just happened to be my new boss?
“Oh, he’s such a cool guy,” the guy sitting next to me said, “Yeah it’s like he’s more of a colleague than a manager. He even hangs out with us after work sometimes. We had this karaoke thing last week, he was so cool, and right before he left he paid for the whole tab on the company card.”
What was this, Google? I mean, this sounded too good to be true. And of course, that’s exactly what it was, way too good to be true.
“Andre?” I said when he turned he corner, holding a cup of coffee in one hand, a stack of papers on a clipboard in the other, he had on this really skinny tie, a short-sleeved button down that you could just tell he was only wearing to go for that cool-nerd look. “You work here too?”
“Hey, yeah, I work here. I’m your new boss!”
And he just stood there and smiled for a little bit, eventually putting down his coffee and extending his hand, as if we’ve never met before, as if this were some kind of mock-introduction. I already knew Andre. We used to be pretty tight, rolled with the same group of friends. But we haven’t talked in like half a year, ever since he blew me off at that fro-yo place by the subway.
“So let’s just get some of this paperwork taken care of, OK?”
“Andre, why do I have to fill out paperwork? I already filled out a ton of paperwork at the temp agency.”
And this stack of paperwork Andre had clipped to his clipboard, it was a ton of stuff, I knew it was going to be all of the stuff that I already wasted my time filling out, useless information like, “What was your major in college?” or, “Are you sure you’ve never been arrested for anything?”
“Yeah, it’s just that HR likes to have everything in our own format, you know what I mean? It’s just an easy way to streamline all of the information.”
Streamline. Please, now he was just showing off, using all of his fancy corporate terminology. Look at me, I’m wearing a tie, my short-sleeved button-down is slightly untucked in the back, like is that on purpose? Or am I just so cool that I don’t even notice that it’s untucked? And I could tell that it was a deliberate stylistic choice.
“Andre, come on man, that’s going to take like forty-five minutes. Can’t you just have the temp agency send everything your way? What’s the point of having me fill this stuff out twice?”
And really, I should have said three times, because after I submitted my resume to the temp agency, they had me basically retype everything into their website, a little separate box for each piece of information, so I couldn’t even copy and paste anything. Actually, it was four times, if you count me actually writing out the resume, and then guess what the first thing they made me do when I had my interview at the temp place? Yeah, another stack of papers, “OK, just fill out these forms and someone’ll be over in just a sec.”
“Rob, it shouldn’t take you forty-five minutes …”
“Come on Andre, how long have we known each other? Do you really need me to write out where I went to college? Come on man.”
He kind of just looked at me for a little bit before picking up his coffee.
“All right man, it’s cool,” and then he turned to the guy sitting next to me, “Morris, how’s everything man? Karaoke on Thursday?” and Morris was like, “Yeah boss, sounds great!
I looked at Andre. He didn’t extend the invitation to me. Or, I don’t know, maybe it was an implied invitation. But maybe not. Probably not, because the temp agency called me when I got home, they said that there was a mix-up, that they’re actually going to send me to work at a sorting facility at some shipping place.
And I couldn’t help but thinking that it was Andre, he didn’t want me there, cramping his style, I was undercutting this ridiculous bullshit professional image that he’d obviously spent way too long trying to cultivate, the cool boss, look at me, I sing karaoke. I wish that I got to be Andre’s boss, just for a second, not a second, but a day, maybe a week, I wouldn’t toss him out the door after one day, not even a day really, it was just once, just that one interaction, I didn’t see him again until the end of the day, but he didn’t even say goodbye, not really, he just kind of half-waved at me from his desk as I was on my way out.
And later the next day I texted him, about everything, about me getting switched, about the karaoke night. And I got a reply within an hour, “Sorry, wrong number.” What the fuck dude, did you change your number? And you didn’t let me know? I mean, my contact should still be in there. What if it’s an emergency? Or are you just messing with me? Fucking Andre, man, I really hope it’s a while before I run into him again.