Wednesday, April 07, 2004

I'm baaack. Now, about that contest: at work, we had a special week in honor of March Madness, where people were encouraged to decorate their cubicles in honor of their favorite team(s) and compete for a prize. The grand prizes were Flyers and Sixers tickets, but other smaller prizes would be handed out to people who did a good job at decorating without winning the top prize.

Not only do I have tons of Flyers and Phantoms stuff that I've gathered over the years, but prior to this, my cubicle was about 99.9% undecorated. I had those two post-game pics that are on my shelf with the bobbleheads, and the current season's Phantoms magnetic schedule. That was pretty much it. This combination meant that I was able to adorn the ENTIRE cubicle in a hockey theme, since there were no pre-existing non-hockey decorations to work around. I had to laugh... I ran out of wall space in the cube before I ran out of things to bring in.

Not only were we encouraged to show our team spirit by bedecking our workspaces, we were also able to wear team shirts, jerseys, and hats. I had a grand time with that, too, especially when we were informed that this would be started a few days early. Instead of going from March 22-26, we were permitted to start wearing team things beginning on March 17. (So of course, I wore the Green Jersey on St. Patrick's Day). The rest of my department expressed amusement because I ended up wearing a different jersey and hat for every day of the event. But since I'm not the only one in our area with a hockey jersey collection, it was kind of fun to see who was wearing what on which day. Between the four of us who wore various jerseys in, we could have suited up an entire hockey team.

Finally, the big day arrived. The final day, March 26, was the day when the company president was going to go around and choose the winners.

I was looking forward to it, and at least three people told me I was sure to win, but I had a nagging doubt. I definitely had more memorabilia than anyone else whose cubicle I saw. I admit I didn't tour the entire building, but most of the people I saw devoted one area to the team(s) of their choice, rather than the whole cubicle. However, there IS that nagging detail that I am a temp worker, not a full-fledged employee of the company. I had a feeling that no matter WHAT I did, for that reason alone, I wouldn't win. If I invited actual PHANTOMS to come sit in my cubicle (which is not entirely out of the question since the team practice facility is only 5 miles away), I suspected that wouldn't have been enough to make me win.

So I did this, not because I expected to have a chance at getting the Flyers tickets, but because I *wanted* to do it. I was tired of sitting in a bland, empty-looking cubicle. I haven't had a workspace with MY personality on display for three years now. In all the other temp jobs, I've either had an impersonal, sterile, unadorned work space, or else I've been sitting at someone else's desk where the pictures of THEIR family, friends, and pets stare back at me all day long. I was tired of working like that, so I figured, "Prize or no prize, I just want to have my own little space in the world again".

Sure enough, when the president of the company came by, he gave me a white denim shirt that has the name of the company embroidered on it. Nice gift. Getting something for nothing is never a bad thing. ;o) However, he stood a few feet outside my cube and talked to someone (couldn't see or hear whom) for a few minutes after he gave me the shirt. I didn't hear what the other person said, but his response was, "That would be unfair to the people who've worked here for years".

I have a feeling he was referring to the act of giving the grand prize to a temp worker instead of a regular employee. I knew I wasn't going to win, and I knew why, before I even brought in one single hockey item. Still, it was disappointing. I felt reminded, for the umpteenth time over the past three years, that temps are on the outside looking in when it comes to the companies where we are assigned. It's not that we're the lowest on the pecking order... we're not even IN the pecking order.

But I'm looking at the bright side. Not only do I have a new shirt, I now have a cube that has Flyers/Phantoms stuff everywhere I look, boosting my mood all day long.

Especially, I like my little bobblehead committee. They're such great company -- they always have such an upbeat demeanor. Or at least they smile and nod all the time. I wish EVERYONE would be so agreeable, don't you? :o)

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