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work dilemma (Choccy's crusade of the week)

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I have a temp job just for this week in an International company at a head office for the UK. I had 2 hours training last week. I'm a receptionist answering calls on a switchboard and posting invoices, neither of which I had experience of. It was short notice from an agency and didn't give a specific job description. All I did was transfer 1 call on my own to the person they asked for and there was no mail to show me on Friday. I'm left pretty much to it as people can't do some of the tasks such as transfer the calls in clever ways which I had to teach myself on the Internet on Monday. Im a very quiet person and would normally avoid this sort of job like the plague, but I'm short of money and it was only a week. The agency has my CV knows my exerience and has interviewed me.


I'm being put in a bad situation by one of the supervisors (everyone else is nice). A department arbitrarily only takes calls within 3 hours in the day. I've been told not to put any calls through, but of course there are always exceptions and the supervisor has shouted at me aggressively the 2 times I put calls through to her when none of her 3 staff who take the calls were answering to help me and there was an irate unpaid supplier. Today the supplier was stopping orders to 6 sites as they had not paid a large sum of money, but I was supposed to get rid of him. They were apparently working on it, and said he phoned every day and suppliers "tried it on" with temps. He had not had any reply to email/messages he had left and needed an answer. She shouted at me and said my job was not to put callers through and she didn't take calls. I feel if I did it again she would fire me she is that angry and could potentially affect any reference I got. Yesterday she just refused to take the call from the supplier and I had to tell him that. Actually today I was aiming for her voicemail but by Murphy's law she answered, and phoned back to shout at me. Since then I've been told by someone else calls from internal sites are OK to put through.

I'm really annoyed as don't have knowledge/experience/training but get shouted at it. She doesn't even explain what I should be doing, just tells me off for getting it wrong. I've been nearly in tears twice.

I'm worried I might get a bad reference and my only other references are academic as I've been a student for 4 years.

I'm tempted to a) suggest to the supplier they make a complaint

b) talk to the agency after I've left-they were supposed to phone to check it was going OK

c) (risky and probably not?) let someone like the MD aware that this and 30+ invoices on my desk have not been paid and the department is ignoring suppliers they owe money to and future orders are being stopped.

d) do nothing take stress management courses :roll:


Is it normal for a Multinational organisation to have lots of outstanding invoices?

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Gosh Choccy sounds like an awful situation no wonder they need a temp. to do the job they probably can't keep anybody long enough to become permanent............I am sorry i don't have any experience in this field i just wanted to sympathise with you, I hope you manage to stay the week and get a good reference.

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I'm just holiday cover. They use temps from agencies when the permament receptionist is away.

The person who arranged the temping work is away this week, so don't have 1 specific person to report to, but this woman is most related to what I do and fairly senior.

2 days....2 days.....2 days.......

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Thank goodness its just for the week, you poor thing :shock::shock:


Try and stick it out, lay low and if it were me I would keep quiet until the week of work is up, THEN complain to your agency about how you were treated and explain exactly what was happening - as you wouldnt want another person going through what you're going through.


If you really want to drop somebody in it/take action I would wait until your last day, (maybe mention in the meantime to your agency that you are not comfortable/finding it hard at this assignment and you have been threatened with a bad reference when youve done nothing wrong) and then on your very last day totally go to town !! :twisted:


I really feel for you, working myself in a large office for a major company I really do my best to make "newies and temps" feel right at home with a smiley face and an approachable attitude. There is no need for people to treat you in this way and for you just to "put up with it" :evil::evil:


I really dont know why people behave like that,...some people really have to look/listen to themselves sometimes to realise what horrors they actually are.


let us know how you get on :D

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Choccy - that is an appauling situation to find yourself in. I was a temp for many years and my thoughts are:


Firstly - dont wait until you leave to contact the agency - they are supposed to be working on YOUR behalf, dont forget that they are making money because YOU are working, they are not there to sit on their backsides and relax once you have a position. Get onto them at once - if they do their job properly they should be able to liase (sp) with the employer and ensure you are not being treated like a piece of dirt.


Secondly - sadly yes I have experience of working for a huge multinational company that is very bad at paying debts- they have their own "system" for paying ( or not) which is totally inflexible and leaves a lot of suppliers fuming. Trouble is that they spend so much money that they can usually get away with it.


No job should make you cry - try and get mad not sad!

Big hugs

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Sounds awful Choccy, but that is how many businesses work.


I know that many companies will have 30 or 60 days to pay bills, and will leave it till the very last minute, or be deliberately late to window dress their accounts.


The companies owed money know how the game is played, and could well be doing the same to others.


The week is nearly over now. If you really want the reference I'd say nowt. If you aren't bothered, tell your boss that she is an unpleasant bully on your way out.


I imagine that she will be acting with the tacit approval of the MD so you'll get no support there. Tell your agency and ask them not to send you there again.


I'm afraid that not all bosses treat their staff well, despite all the legislation.


Grin and bear it, put it down to experience and cheer yourself up by rejoicing in the knowledge that you are better than they are.


Chin up.

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How horrible. Yu need themoney so I am not going to suggest telling them where to stick it.


First of all it is normal for large multinational companies to delay paying invoices.


As you say only 2 days left - grit your teeth and stick it out and put it down to experience.


In the meantime, do just as you are told and do not put calls through. Say I am sorry that line is busy'.


Your choice now


Say - 'Would you like to hold?' and if they do keep going back to say the line is still busy - the caller will soon get the message.


OR - 'Can I take a message?' Pile them up and hand them over as appropriate. That way if there is anything urgent they can't say you did not tell them.


If you can, discuss this with that difficult woman and ask her what she would prefer you to do?


Whatever you decide - phone the agency as others have suggested - tell them how you have been treated and how you intend to handle the situation. Its up to them what to do next (but you can bet your bottom dollar they won't want to upset their client).


Don't worry about the reference - its only a temp job for a week, it doesn't really count. Any sensible employer would not expect a reference from every company you temp for. And you won't be asking them for one anyway will you?


And if the agency send you to another useless job - leave them and sign up with another one.


Good luck

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I would't worry about the reference thing, I think it is illegal to give a bad reference anyway, and if it's only been for a week grin and bear it. I have been contracting for years and don't recall ever being asked for a reference.


Any contracts that didn't work out for whatever reason don't get a mention on my CV. All contracts that were less than a month for instance and there were a few in the early days! :roll:


I tend to adjust the jobs either side of it to make it disappear!


I think the shouty woman has problem, try not to take it personally and try not to lose your temper, not easy when working for a bully. :evil:


I used to for a bloke like that, he had a serious case of short person syndrome, he made my life hell for months how I kept myself from swatting the little prat I will never know!


I am sure you find a better position shortly and this week will all be a bad dream! :lol:


Good luck!



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I tend to adjust the jobs either side of it to make it disappear!


Exactly what I was going to suggest and what I have been known to do :roll: although only in extremely appropriate circumstances :lol:


As everybody else says you won't need a reference from this place. No employer is going to worry about jobs of one week. If anything, if you were likely to have several months of jobs from the one temp agency they might choose to get the reference from them instead.


I have had some foul bosses - for some reason always female - and it can make life miserable. But in only 16 working hours time you will be out of that hell hole and counting how many new chooks you can buy with your very very hard earned cash



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Sorry it's not going well for you CC -all good advice above.........


Definitely tell your agency straight away what is happening. Tell tham you are sticking it out but that they should be aware of what this company expects from temps and that it isn't acceptable.


.....only 2 more days :?

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I have had some foul bosses - for some reason always female


Funny isn't it....the the only two bosses that I have clashed with have been women.


They both had unfaithful husbands, inadequate childcare arrangements, not terribly likeable children and they seemed to think that these were justifiable reason for their behaviour and that everyone else should be supportive.


They couldn't handle stress, had foul mouths and filthy tempers and both got their cummuppance eventually.


Do as you would be done by is a good motto for bosses.

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Thats not a nice situation for any new starter to be in.......


A lot of companies work like this though, I have worked for a few big companies and they will just point blank refuse to pay bills, them not paying has probably come from a director or whatever so telling them will probably just make the situation worse.......The previous place I worked they went through a stage of not paying large invoices and this was to keep their share price high, this came from the Finance Director...........


It may well be worth talking to the agency about it, and her attitude. For the time being I would just do as she asks, if she doesnt want the calls dont try to put them through and if all her staff are busy tell the caller to call back. It really isnt worth the hassle and the upsetment of having her shouting at you and if the suppliers stop orders from your company then so be it, she will soon pay up :)


Hope it gets a little easier......

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Thanks for the support, I never know if I am being oversensitive or there is a genuine issue. The forum as a whole is so wise. I will keep looking at this during the day to cheer me up. :D


Tina I will follow your phone advice, although after 10 mins going backwards and forwards I will probably accidently lose them from the queue anyway :oops::oops:

I juggled 3-4 calls on Tuesday :D

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Any news on the permanent job front Choccy :?


That company sounds fairly typical though :evil:


Just grit your teeth and remember on your CV you only need to put down you worked for the temp company as the type of thing you are doing is unlikely to be what you want in the long term so the fact you have been keepoing busy and working is the most important thing :wink:

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I have a writing test for a medical communications agency, and have put 2 more applications in through an agency.

I've been investigating the reminders on my desk (just out of interest) and the company owes over £62 000 to suppliers, although they must make millions overall so that is probably a small amount, although from 1 day's post. :?

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Oh Choccy - I absolutely really feel for you as I have been a victim of bullying most of my life. Nearly all the companies I've worked for have now gone bust! The thing is, I'm quiet, sensitive & willing to work. Where as most of my ex colleaugues were the opposite, taking the mick ...always on the internet (ebay, downloading music etc). Bosses were very good mates with my colleagues, so nothing ever got done if I said anything!


I've come home from work many times in tears. Yes, I agree that female bosses just don't work for me!


Because you're quiet, you will get put on - just like I was. But it's hard to tell someone to stop it as you get so angry that you either cry or are nasty in retaliation.


My best advice would be to plough on to the end of the week. If no one is around take a magazine and flick through that! I would do as litle work as possible. I'd be tempted to ignore the phone too! They will be bankrupt soon anyway! Or answer the phone politely then put them on hold.

So long as you turn up on time, work your hours, don't do anything illegal. There is nothing they can do. So do as little as possible as they obviously don't appreciate you!

After leaving, why not send a letter to the MD, saying how you felt, how you were treated, what is going on, name the slackers etc. I did this once and soon after the unecessary overtime stopped and a few months later they closed down. I literally did the MD a favour by bringing things to his attention!


Choccy, don't worry about your reference. I think it is illegal for anyone to give you a bad reference! Also, even if they do - it's your 1st job, you've only worked for a week there. I'm sure any future employers would not be too concerned. Especially if you are honest and explain, that you are a good people person, but one this occassion you were victimised due to your accuracy & willingness to work. But explain the lack of training.


Be strong love, easier said than done & when you finish on Friday - make sure you do something you enjoy oh & say to the supervisor woman....

I would have liked to been able to say, it has been a pleasure to work here, but unfortunately it hasn't & thankfully I have learnt how not to run MY company.


Just be a bit cocky - they don't like it and it will take them by surprise coming from someone quiet!!!!


Could you not try a different agency next week or even do a different job, party plan even? Have a scout round & you'll eventually find something where the people are good to you and grateful!


Good luck!



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So pleased to hear it went OK today.


Working on a reception is not as easy as it sounds. The company probably assumed you knew something of the etiquette of instructions like 'no calls'. You didn't, because you had no experience.


Be aware that agencies will sometimes 'talk up' your experience to the client because they want the business.


Anyway - you now have more experience of office life than you did at the beginning of the week :wink:


Best of luck with your next temp job (and in the search for a 'proper' job.

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I agree that agencies will 'talk up' your experience - and you have to be strict with them. As a nurse, I am very aware of what skills I do and do not possess, so when I signed on with an agency I was pleased that they asked about my specialty (occupational health - not been inside a hospital ward for over 15 years). So I was a bit shocked when I got a call asking if I would do shifts on an acute burns unit! :shock::roll:


Pleased today was better for you Choccy. As long as you can say you did the job tot he best of your ability, you can be out of there tomorrow with a clear conscience. I'm afraid workers today are just 'resources' to be used and abused. :(

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I agree that agencies will 'talk up' your experience - and you have to be strict with them. As a nurse, I am very aware of what skills I do and do not possess, so when I signed on with an agency I was pleased that they asked about my specialty (occupational health - not been inside a hospital ward for over 15 years). So I was a bit shocked when I got a call asking if I would do shifts on an acute burns unit! :shock::roll:


:shock: Crikey! That surely can't have been good!


I'm afraid workers today are just 'resources' to be used and abused. :(


Thats the kind of attitude the multi-national company I work for treat their staff for sure!


Still - we have a staff motto. - "It Hertz for Hertz"



Glad today went better for you Choccy - and there's only 8 hours left now. I think it would be good to let the agency know just how bad this week has been with this woman's attitude. Got to be worth a shot for the next poor soul who gets placed there!




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2 hours, and we've actually talked in a civil way today :shock:

There is a temp working from my agency in her team. He seems to keep to himself and is quiet. Hopefully he is OK.

I love your company "motto." :lol:


I've found agencies talk down what I know e.g. because I have been a student and not been employed to do obvious things like stuffing envelopes, answering the phone and writing simple letters therefore they um and ahh about my experience. They seem unwilling to look at transferable experience even when I really sell myself and I rarely get contacted at all. One agency wouldn't put my CV forward despite agreeing I had the skills and would be perfectly capeable/suitable for the job

I tend to do a lot better applying directly to employers. This is the 5/6th time I've approached agencies and have only ever got 3 jobs from them, even when registered with many agencies.

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