Matt Charney, the very talented screenwriter and editor of Recruiting Daily, has gifted the world with a scathing critique of temp work as he experienced it working one day.
Before I get into the problems with his clever but flawed post, a disclosure: Matt did a short gig for me at Tempworks almost 10 years ago and produced some great client stories and schooled me on blogging. But he also introduced me to a spambot called LinkedIn, a dastardly act for which I still hold a grudge.
Anyway, back to Matt's heroic day as temp receptionist at a Texas medical clinic. His first issue with it was boredom: "Over my left, a large white clock ticked. And ticked. And ticked some more. No matter how busy it got during the day, no matter how loud the waiting room became, for some reason, the sound of seconds counting down could continually be heard."
His second and final issue is about the injustice of temp jobs.
The injustice begins with milk. Matt apparently pays $3.70 for a gallon of milk (must be the organic stuff), which he deftly calculates an $8/hr temp makes in about 30 minutes. That $8/hr compares to your average CEO who, according to Matt, makes $2,000 per hour (that's four million dollars per year). Matt apparently hasn't read about the great CEO salary fallacy.
And those evil, overpaid CEOs, it's the ones at staffing firms that Matt has a really big problem with:
And you're willing to accept the fact that the market for most of these jobs pays a little more than 65 bucks for the many associated opportunity costs, even as some global contingent workforce firm (I was placed through a subsidiary of a global staffing firm you've heard of, but thankfully hadn't heard of me) makes billions in revenue off of the margins for cash these workers earn for them but never see a scintilla [bold mine -- Gregg]
What does Matt mean by "many associated opportunity costs"? I think he means sundry expenses like actually getting to work and back and not having a day off, but those are not opportunity costs. Opportunity costs, in economics, are benefits you give up in choosing one alternative over another.
Let's look at that last line: "makes billions in revenue off of the margins for cash these workers earn for them". It's not clear Matt studied econ at USC, nor is it clear he distinguishes between revenue and profits. The colloquial expression is 'make profits' not 'make revenue'. What are 'margins for cash'? And if the workers never see a scintilla (scintilla, muy interesante word choice), what is a paycheck?
I think Matt is trying to say that big global staffing companies sell their product for more than cost (wouldn't that be something!) and that workers should get a bigger share of the difference, but honestly I don't have ninguna idea.
But I digress because the biggest issue with Matt's piece is he makes no effort to point out that temp jobs like the one he worked are the number one way people make it into higher paying, more fulfilling careers.
Ok, I'm going to stop here. Matt, the king of recruiting related content, could have done a cleaner job on this. I can forgive him for this hit piece, but never for getting me started on that spambot.