Secret Recipe

Tales of a Temp were never so tasty…

Secret recipie Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

I got kicked out of boarding school – but I won’t go into that story (maybe in another blog, it’s a comedic tale of rebellion). But that forced the issue that if I wanted to attend school in my home town, I’d have to pay for the fees, textbooks and everything else myself. That was my punishment. Enforced by my Father/Overlord. Otherwise I’d be shipped back to the cold halls filled with Nun’s wearing scowls and habits that smelled of mothballs. So I needed a job.

My rescue came in the form of a popular fast food chain restaurant. It was fairly new to our town at the time, and employed younger workers that could accommodate evening and weekend shifts. It took me a single day to find the job and get my first roster from what would be my third ever employer. I don’t think my father thought I was capable, that I’d cave in to his will and get sent back to his expensive boarding school with a tail between my legs. Well, I showed him! Watching his eyes bug out and veins pulsing along his forehead and neck, I informed him I had enrolled in the local (and Public) High School having fulfilled my required employment. I missed my friends, my home and was happy to never see the Nun run dorm rooms ever again.

Secret recipie Pic 02 by Casey CarlisleUnlike the institutionalised education I’d been surreptitiously ejected from, I became fast (food) friends with my blue-collar worker types. No snobs here… it’s hard to be stuck up when you’re covered in a thick layer of cooking fat and have mayonnaise stains in unfortunate places. Swapping pinstriped blue and grey uniforms for maroon polo shirts and tan pants, I bonded with my new mates facing similar dilemmas – needing money… from hard yakka. Plus, I was loving the new independence my own greenbacks afforded me.

I suffered through coming home smelling like grease, rude customers, hairnets, and a couple of occasions soaring into the air as I slipped on an oily floor. I don’t fall gracefully, I look like Bambi jumping on a trampoline: all flailing limbs and unco-ordination. All for the benefits of staying home and my own money. Another was left overs… my brother was my best friend. I’m sure he grew an entire foot over the year with all the extra food he kept sneaking out of the fridge.

Secret recipie Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleIt was a pretty cushy job, because of my big smile and eloquent diction, I was always placed on drive through. And I enjoyed it until someone did a grab and dash. But funny how you know everyone in a small town. Needless to say the culprits were caught on CCVTV and quickly tracked down.

Christmas brought a staff party, where three girls sung carols in beautiful harmony, affectionately dubbed the ‘Pointer Sisters’ (because they were aboriginal – I know – I shudder at small town mentality).

So by halfway through the year I had cracked my secret recipe to happiness: paid my tuition, bought my first car, expanded my wardrobe and had a social life. Even though the food may have had secret herbs and spices, it was the greens in my bank account I was more thankful for. Even though I’d been in the workforce before, this was the first job to make me feel like a grown up.

Tales of a Temp by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Olfactory onslaught

The dangers of crappy first jobs…

Olfactory Onslaught Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

My very first job was at the age of 13 going on 14. I wanted a stereo and my parents said they would pay for half if I saved up the rest. Thinking I would start a paper route, or yard work on the weekends, the parents  figured it would be some time before I had the cash for the sound system of a generation (don’t forget, this was in the ‘80s, so big stereos were in – CD’d hadn’t been invented and massive collections of records and cassette tapes were all the rage.)

But my loving parents had momentarily forgotten how determined I can be. I still don’t know how I pulled it off, but I managed to land a job working at a shoe store, despite my youthful age and mouth full of metal and unruly red mop of hair (and the fact that I honestly looked like I was 10 years old).

It took me three weeks to collect the funds for my musical purchase and the ‘rents had to cough up.

That was when I discovered I could buy more things – big ticket items – in the same manner. Like a computer, or a car!

But there is a rub… I don’t think you understand how much of a challenge this was for me. Especially if your reading about it… Picture a small town in a desert climate with soaring temperatures, and remember this is a shoe store…

Got it yet? Sometimes it is a very stinky job!

Olfactory Onslaught Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Some of those Thursday nights and Saturday mornings were a constant procession of foot odours that had me using all my will power not to retch. It was enough to singe your nose hairs right off. Even though Hi-top sneakers were the bomb, plastic glitter gel sandals were quite popular… talk about petri dishes for sweat and toe jam strapped to your feet! And there I was crouched down on the floor amongst women insisting they were a size smaller than they were, and old men with ingrown or blackened toenails politely smiling.

I managed six months before quitting.  I think I’ll leave the stinky shoes to the enjoyment of my dog…

Olfactory Onslaught Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

I did find another job shortly after, because those big ticket items were still surely set in my sights… but that’s another story.

Tales of a Temp by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Interpreting the spirit

Sometimes there is a different type of language barrier – maybe you’re existing on different Plains?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of my favourite challenges while temping, was for a company offering spiritual services and courses. It had more to do with understanding the way my new boss spoke… she didn’t have traditional ways of thinking and I was frequently needing to decipher what is was she was really after. That’s not saying that she was difficult to understand or work for, she just has an artistic interpretation of the world.

We were about to launch a new curriculum and introduce subjects and course material to clientele and the general public. It sounds simple, but throw in a Director who, being true to the stereotype, tended to talk and operate in concepts – and the task became more and more intimidating.

I had to learn a whole new way of communicating and mused how our conversations would look with subtitles:
Topic by Casey Carlisle

Venue by Casey Carlisle

Support Material by Casey Carlisle

 

It may sound like I had a frustrating task with no leadership when attempting to organise a series of spiritual seminars, but in truth it was fantastic. You could get as creative as you wanted, make things bright and colourful, think outside the box… way outside!

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If you want to know what I did for the seminar:

Instead of throwing together a PowerPoint Presentation on a set list of topics, I created ‘Stations’ around the room which had flatscreens looping material on multimedia packets for each area of speciality. Substituting the typical folder with pages of information for products with our branding, complete with information on use, company background, courses, contact info etc. – essentially a show bag of goodies.

Each station was a sensory adventure with music or live instruments, flowers, burning oils, and shimmery stones. A smorgasbord of stimulation. The Director was then able to head to whichever station she wanted to and give her excitable spiel, with complete freedom to follow a train of thought, or follow where the largest group of participants gathered.

Tales of a Temp by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Casey and the Introverts.

Sounds like a cool band name, when in fact it describes my experience working an IT firm.

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I had the great opportunity to temp at a world leading IT firm, a friendly and nurturing environment, social, and possessing an environmental consciousness and brilliant resources. Another first for me, and I dove in head first ready for the challenge. The job role itself was easy, but it was the ‘nerd culture’ that caught me unexpectedly… and I count myself as a big nerd!

In the first month, barely anyone looked up from their computer screens to make eye contact on an open-plan floor of around 200 workstations. If I approached, it was the soft tones that had me leaning in to ask ‘Sorry, can you repeat that?’ Most everyone was timid and focused on their monitor display. My personality is very social, all smiles and laughs, I like to wear bold colours and big earrings, and you will always find me in high heels. With bright red hair and a height of 5’8” I was designed to stick out – so I embrace it. Trying to hide or blend in only results in standing out even more: I end up looking awkward and uncomfortable.

In these beginning weeks the chief method of contact was IM, even though they were sitting two desks away. My co-workers, fiercely shy, and not something I am used to dealing with en masse. Was this towering ginger really that imposing?  I was perplexed at their refusal to approach my desk and ask me face to face. I’d occasionally do a mirror check to ensure there wasn’t anything stuck in my teeth that was scaring everyone away.

Like High School everyone was dressed in the same uniform – trousers, business shirts and v-neck sweaters with nary a hair product in sight. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not passing judgment on their appearance, but from working in creative fields for so long, this it was quite a juxtaposition. My co-workers were astoundingly intelligent and once I had broken the ice and gotten to know them all – also hilarious…I just needed time to get to know them, and for them to acclimate to my loud personality.

ImageA running joke on our floor was that my presence was like that of the character Lucy Liu portrayed in Charlies Angels infiltrating a computer company: a mash up of dominatrix and efficiency expert. Its funny how other people see you; I was worried I kept interrupting important work with my menial administration requests.

I love temping, meeting new people, and experiencing different industries. The social dynamics in each workplace always surprises me: there is always something new, something exciting. But I have discovered that since the days wandering the halls of my Secondary College, the fully-fledged nerd status has waned. I’m going to have to turn in my membership card and be content to use a guest pass every now and then.

By the end of my stay at this workplace I’d celebrated Star Wars day; and learnt to yowl like Chewbacca; partook in cosplay; and discussed the pros and cons of integrating your home network to make your abode a sort of smart house. I miss working there; it had me hinkering for the days teaching Year 11 and 12’s.

It is great to see that nerd power is still alive and kicking… and slowly leading the world into a new era of technology.

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© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I could have been Ginger on my own version of Gilligan’s Island! …. by Casey Carlisle

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ImageBlue skies, calm azure seas, tucked into a life vest on a ship with eight hot guys… was I wrong to wish for a shipwreck?

And I’m not talking about a singles cruise, or a fishing trip with the boys. I had signed on for a couple of months as research assistant tagging turtles along the Far North Queensland coast on weekends, monitoring their migration patterns and population dispersal. Just shy of completing my Marine Biology degree, of which I was completely in awe of, having grown up in the CentralianDesert, so every attempt was given to volunteer for assisting the PhD students in their practical studies. I managed to participate in many, but this was, by far, my favourite.

Not only was there great eye candy, I could lavish in the warm coastal currents, scuba dive, and have said cuties help slather on yet another layer of sunscreen. The hard part – long hours, (about 22 hours on the vessel) and having to baby sit a couple of the lads with motion sickness (albeit brought on by the previous nights drinking game). We would catch and release continuously through the night as well, and what little sleep I did manage, was disturbed by farts, burps, coughs and groans of the men resting soundly: I had many thoughts of dropping them overboard just for some peace and quiet.

We found an alarming number of turtles garnished with plastic rubbish and a lurking Great White (maybe it was following the trail of vomit behind the boat?) There was also evidence of silt killing off a part of the coral and seagrass beds, kicked up from the shipping lane.  However the rest of the journey was filled with pristine waters and its coulourful inhabitants. It certainly raised my awareness in how our garbage is disposed and recycled, and the importance of environmental impact studies on industry.

It was a fantastic experience diving in waters with great visibility and contributing to a cause bigger than yourself. Meeting a group of socially aware and intelligent young men and actually having a constructive conversation without any awkwardness or need for a drink in one hand. I must have snapped at least 10 rolls of film (no digital

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camera back then) of the gorgeous ocean, above and below the waterline… and the hunky shipmates. So what started as a chance to hitch on a trawler and dive on reefs around our fair town for free on the weekends, and enhance my education, turned into an exercise in a global consciousness. I think I’ll trade in Gilligan’s Island for Captain Planet any day!

Save the turtles! Save our Oceans!

© Casey Carlisle 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Here Love, have a chicken …..by Casey Carlisle

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Temping can be a joy and a burden… or both in one day! While working at a health clinic I relished the no stress attitudes of my boss, no deadlines to panic over, and no matter how rushed you were getting ready in the morning – you would always look glamorous in comparison to red-eyed, runny nosed and green-looking patients. I only say that because living in a tropical climate at the time, it was a constant up-hill battle against frizzy hair and unattractive sweat patches – being a ginger I’m built for colder climates and the indoors!

I loved hearing about the elderly patient’s lives, garnering tidbits of wisdom and stories of their travels about the globe, it’s just a pity nearly every one I got to speak to was feeling poorly. I really hoped my smile helped brighten their day (it’s hard to miss – my teeth take up half the area of my face).  However, it was extremely hard to keep a straight face when the old dears began to recount their sexual exploits… in detail. It is definitely an over-share to hear someone your Grandma’s age contorting like a gymnast… and then asking your opinion. Needless to say I had suddenly remembered I needed to attend a matter in the back room many times! And if you think that is bad, just wait til you get the patient who talks about nothing about their entire medical history – with visual aids. It’s geriatric show and tell. I don’t really need to see the mole next to your left nipple, or the weird rash on your buttocks in reception!

And these lovely biddies would visit often, always with samples of vegetables and fruit grown in their gardens, or homemade jams, biscuits and cakes – I never had to bring lunch.  I wouldn’t have been surprised if one day a silver-haired dear walked in and handed me a chicken!

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But the best benefit of all – free consultations and medication, not to mention all the cute boys that come in for their appointments daily! The whole experience at the clinic reminds me of the famous quote by Voltaire – ‘The art of medicine is in amusing a patient while nature affects the cure.’

© Casey Carlisle 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.