A Temp for All Seasons

Hollywood has a mixed attitude towards the staffing industry.

On the one hand, there’s Dave which features Kevin Klein as the beloved owner of a small staffing agency who parlays his resemblance to the President of the United States into the chance to solve the nation’s problems as easily as he manages the woes of his employees.

And then you’ve got The Temp (1993) starring Lara Flynn Boyle as a homicidal temporary Admin 3 who helps her boss, Timothy Hutten, by murdering all those who stand between him and top leadership of a cookie company. (Note to film renters – avoid all films with plot lines hinging in some way on cookies, or any baked good for that matter.)

In the independent film scene (or Indie, for you hipsters), temporary employment has been used as a shorthand for Generation X and Y aimlessness, as in the 1998 feature film, Temps. Alternatively, the temp-as-outsider provides film makers the mechanism to inject a straight man into the macabre world of office politics. The 2005 11-minute short A Temp for All Seasons (which can be seen in its entirety on YouTube) fits into this latter category. In this brief feature Tom, working as a temporary receptionist, refuses to fib on the phone about the whereabouts of his boss, setting off a chain reaction of absurd managerial witch hunting worthy of The Office. Within one day, the company recruits HR, fellow workers, even Tom’s fiancé to get him to compromise his integrity by agreeing to a new company policy requiring all employees to lie on the phone when requested by senior staff. As the title implies, we’re in the territory of Man for All Seasons, the play (later the film starring the recently deceased Paul Scofield) where Sir Thomas More had to deal with his own integrity vs. authority issues during the reign of King Henry the VIII.

Is Temp for All Seasons any good? Suffice to say that the great staffing industry film of any length has yet to be made. Don’t feel bad, however. At least Hollywood treats staffing better than it does my beloved testing industry (see The Perfect Score, or better yet, don’t.)

This Bullhorn Blog post was written by Jon Haber of First Advantage Assessment Solutions.


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