The Laury Group, Inc.



Temporary Insanity

as seen in TIME OUT NEW YORK (11/7/2000)

Whether you're a NYC newbie or a native finishing up your screenplay, the mad, mad world of temping can provide a quick route to a fast buck. TONY helps you find an agency that will work for you.

Temping is a rite of passage: For a lot of thespians, who require flexible schedules to attend auditions, it goes side-by-side with throwing that first on-stage tantrum. For writers, it provides endless characters from which to draw inspiration. And for NYC newcomers, it's a chance to land an employer and a paycheck--fast.

But it's certainly a strange way to make a buck. Temping's transient nature almost never allows for a familiar routine; just when you've figured out the coffee machine's quirks or established a rapport with a cute officemate, you're off to the next gig. Maybe that's why New York City temps are such a resilient bunch. After working with all types, from black-clad Gucci folks on Madison Avenue to overworked Wall Streeters, who wouldn't be?

Those in the ranks have some bizarre stories--from nightmare assignments to weird bosses. One experience shared by all, however, is the daunting process of registering with an agency. No matter where you go, you're run through a series of tedious tests designed to evaluate skills like typing, spelling and filing, and your knowledge of software including Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The better your score, the better the assignments and salary level you'll end up with. A lot of us at TONY have been on that side of the table-so for a change, we thought we'd put some agencies to the test. To make your task of choosing a temping team easier, we scrutinized them for user friendliness and, of course, concern and respect for applicants. As for how to make filing, faxing and photocopying exciting--sorry, for that, you're on your own.

--Steve Kurutz



Step into the midtown office of the small, personable Laury Group and you're greeted not by a frazzled receptionist on hold, but by the slow-moving shaggy office dog. The room is full of plants and remnants of the '70s décor that was "in" when Laury Ford Jeambon started the company three decades ago. But don't let the casual atmosphere fool you: Laury's client list includes such big names as Pfizer, Polo Ralph Lauren, Federated Merchandising Group and the ABC network. The company's links with fashion and media have made it a favorite with performers and creative types looking to bridge their dry spells.

Jeambon has shrugged off buyout offers over the years in the interest of keeping the agency intimate. Spend a quick hour registering, and you get the gist. Before the obligatory tests, applicants are asked to bang out a biographical sketch detailing their career aspirations. I didn't manage to get placed within the week after I registered, but I did get the feeling that the staff was working hard to find a fit.

They did for Barbary McNamara, anyway. A freelance television producer in career limbo, McNamara had never temped before when she signed on. "I wanted to stay in the loop," she said, noting that she chose Laury because of its media clients. Within a week, she landed a position assisting a president at ABC.

Laury employs the reverse of the "don't call us, we'll call you" policy. After registering, applicants phone in whenever they're ready and available--a task that's actually pleasant, since the receptionist seems to remember you personally. And, when you come in to pick up your paycheck every week, the dog will remember you, too.

--Josh Lawrence


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