Smells Like Temp Spirit

The supervising associate, a.k.a. Boss Lady, is a pretty woman with an olive complexion who never thought her JD would grant her dominion over a team of hopeless losers.

Somewhere Boss Lady took the wrong step inside BigLaw. Maybe she fouled up an important brief or just failed to suck up to the right partner.

She should be buried in motion practice or destroying an opposing witness on cross. But instead, she’s trying to explain to a sleepy-looking temp standing next to me that he shouldn’t come to work smelling like gasoline.

“Sorry, I spilled gas on myself when I was filling up this morning,” Smelly Temp says.

His explanation doesn’t help the smell, which has already made two temps puke.

“Can you change?” Boss Lady asks.

“But this is my shift,” Smelly Temp protests.

Boss Lady just glares at him. It’s the kind of glare that says, “How dare you turn me into some kind of glorified Wal-Mart manager. I graduated magna cum laude from Stanford and made Law Review at UVA. I AM BIGLAW, AND DON’T YOU FORGET IT, MISTER!”

“I can’t have you smelling like gasoline,” Boss Lady says. “You’re making people sick. You’re making me sick.”

“But I need the hours.”

“You need a shower,” A nauseous-looking thirty-five-year-old Korean temp says.

“You smell!” another temp shouts, opening up the flood gates as twenty temps begin to yell.

You stink! Clean yourself up! 

“I think they want you to leave,” Boss Lady says.

But instead of giving into the crowd, Smelly Temp turns the work stoppage into a bizarre game of chicken.

“I’ll leave if I can stay on the clock,” he says.

“No chance,” Boss Lady counters.

The shouting continues, as the pungent smell of petroleum begins to seep in my digestive track.

“I’m going to be sick,” I tell Boss Lady, who tries once again to shame Smelly Temp into leaving.

“I need the hours,” Smelly Temp says. “I can’t afford to miss work.”

“Seriously, this guy is making me sick, you’ve got to do something,” I say.

Boss Lady stands between me and a trash bin, and I stumble toward it, ready to heave.

“It would be cheaper to pay me to go home and change,” Smelly Temp says, folding his arms in stoic protest.

Boss Lady shrieks, demanding that I find a restroom. Then she looks at her temps. We have nothing better to do but shout. Shouting breaks the boredom. Smelly Temp has become the must-see event of the day, and Boss Lady knows it. Worse, she knows that nothing will get done until Smelly Temp takes his gasoline stench home. She has been beaten.

“Be back in one hour, Smelly Temp.”

“With pay?” Smelly Temp asks.

“With pay,” she says.

Smelly Temp gets up, points a fleshy finger at me and says, “Witness.” Then he leaves to change his clothes on BigLaw’s dime.

Read more from Bitter Temp Guy.


  1. Rams

    December 1, 2008 at 8:27 am

    I don’t believe the story.

  2. Anonymous

    December 1, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Dang temps.

  3. Anonymous

    December 1, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    As someone who’s actually BEEN the boss lady, let me tell you – temps are shit.  There is no amount of work they’ve ever done that I would ever bet my life on.  Firms pay them a lot of money to basically be able to say things have been looked at and completed.  And being the person in between temps and the firm who has to stand up for what they’ve accomplished is miserable.

  4. Ex-BigLaw

    December 1, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    BS.  I’ve been the boss-man, and Smelly Temp would have been not only sent home, but if he had pushed back that hard, let go before he came in the following day.

  5. mostdebtcompetitionwinner

    December 1, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Bitter Lawyer is the best.  Even the made up stuff.

  6. Anonymous

    December 1, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    All temps smell.

  7. Anonymous

    December 3, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Agree.  Don’t believe this story for a second.  In reality, the temp would have received a call from his agency informing him that he had been fired on his paid hour break. 
    The truth of the matter is that the quality of temps varies greatly.  Some are really great and some are totally awful.  If a firm is generating shitty work product produced by temps, it is still the firm’s fault.  In this economy, there are a ton of highly qualified people with great credentials who are temping.  The firm is being paid outrageous sums of money to find these people and adequately supervise them.

  8. Anon

    December 12, 2008 at 12:35 am

    I’ve been a temp (although not as much in law) for the same company for 3 years straight & I’ve NEVER been incompetent, lazy or smelly!
    If I was Boss Lady, I would have told him he wasn’t required, no matter how much he was needed. What a loser he was!! I wouldn’t act like that!

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