Stories and Swag Tours Present: Templand and Permland by Jill Hughes Excerpt and GIVEAWAY!




Templand Blurb:


The heroine, Melanie Evers, is a plucky young working-class woman from Akron, Ohio struggling to support herself in Chicago in the post-9-11 economy. TEMPLAND follows Melanie's journey through the temporary employment world from a college student on "just a summer job" to a 28-year-old woman with a lot of intelligence (and a heap of student loan debt to match) through multiple layoffs and a series of ever-more-wacky temp assignments, as she struggles not only to survive, but also to find romance and always remain true to the honest, working-class values instilled in her by her beloved grandfather.

In her long, solitary journey through Templand, Melanie encounters adventure and romance on her search for that always-elusive Permanent Job---which she finally gets, along with her man. TEMPLAND is a highly entertaining, wickedly funny social satire, contemporary romance, and mystery novel all rolled into one.


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Permland Blurb:


SEQUEL TO TEMPLAND. It’s the beginning of 2003, a few months after the end of TEMPLAND. Melanie Evers is back as she struggles under the insane demands of her long-sought Permanent Job.  Now a human resources executive at Marquette Bank, what started out as a cushy well-paid job turns into a nightmare when her company is bought out by a Dutch conglomerate.  Melanie gets sent on a new series of wacky adventures as she tries to keep her head above water while her crazy new boss Pietra controls her every move, the Iraq War begins, and her boyfriend Dave is called up by the Army reserves to fight overseas. Is permanent employment really all it’s cracked up to be?







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Excerpt One:

This morning I got up and dialed the temp agency.  The recruiters all say you can call them as early as 7 am and someone will be there to take the “same-day requests”---the jobs that come in at the last minute. The temp agency brochures all describe---in glossy, four-color detail---the urgent job requests the temp agencies supposedly get at all hours, the jobs that the smiling, well-dressed temp recruiters all promise will be available for me within hours after registering with their agencies as a Temporary Office Associate. 
Temp agency recruiters get paid on commission. (Used car salesmen do, too.)
            The pile of dog-eared brochures from Kelly Services, Loftus & O’Meara, PeoplePower, Legal Helpers, and a dozen more agencies sit on my dresser, each of them promising all sorts of glamorous, important temp jobs:
            “A middle manager calls Kelly Services at 5:02 pm on Thursday requesting a receptionist for 7:30 Friday morning, because the regular receptionist went into premature labor at 4:59 p.m. and they just can’t go without.  This is where the Kelly Girl comes in!”
            “A trial lawyer whose secretary quit the day before calls Loftus & O’Meara Legal Staffing at 6:54 a.m., begging for someone to come in and transcribe his trial notes into a brief so he can get it to the judge in time.  You’re the one who saves the day!” 
No matter how much those glossy brochures swear that there are thousands of job opportunities just like these each and every day in Chicago, as one jobless day runs into the next, I think it’s beginning to look a lot like false advertising.
            I’ve been calling in to the temporary agency---well, all my agencies since I’m registered with at least 15 of them right now----every morning at 7:00 a.m., and then at 7:30 a.m., 8:00 am and every five minutes thereafter, every morning, all week, all month, hoping that there will be something for me to do---some phone to answer or some scribbles to type---so I can get paid and buy food and pay rent this week, (and we are not even talking about paying the student loans this month, and the credit cards are just plain ridiculous), but there is nothing. 
            Nothing. Not a single, solitary, lowdown, unsecure, no-benefits, no sick-days, no-self-esteem temp assignment to be had anywhere in the Windy City.
            When I call all the recruiters I get the same excuses over and over again:
            “No, sorry, nothing has come in this week, Melanie.  Call back later this morning.”
            “Sorry, we haven’t had any new job orders in weeks.  The agency is even letting people go from our office since we’re getting no commissions.”
            “Call tomorrow.  I am absolutely positive that we will have something tomorrow.”
            “We’ve been in the Chicago temping business thirty years and it has just never been this bad, I mean really honey, it’s nothing against you but—“
            “Call next week.  We just got a big order for proofreaders at Kirkland & Ellis for a class-action lawsuit project next week, and Melanie, we know that you really know your proofreading, so we will be sure to call you.”
            “No, sorry, Kirkland & Ellis cancelled that big order.  They decided to use their in-house staff. The judgments, they just aren’t what they used to be you know, so they’re cutting back on all their hiring. Call back the week after next.”
            They used to call Chicago the City That Works.  So much for that.

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