True Stories from the World of Temporary Employment for Anyone Terrified of Being Stuck in a Job They Hate
When Steven Barker was twelve, his father, in pursuit of the American Dream, moved the family from Canada to Connecticut, having worked his way up from the mailroom to a top sales position at IBM before leaving to be VP of a computer company. Steven, in contrast, has followed the philosophy of “quit everything until you find something you don’t want to quit,” and has spent over fifteen years as a contract employee. Now for the Disappointing Part is the first collection of essays written for the temp workers of the millennial generation—those who, by choice or circumstance, delay or abandon plans for long-term careers for the variety (and anxiety) of contract work. Funny, insightful, and sometimes shocking, it’s more than the stories of a man who thinks life is too short to spend forty hours a week doing something you hate. It will resonate with a generation of people who are struggling to find work, stability, and happiness, and are afraid of losing all of them.
“Steven Barker writes beautifully and hilariously and I can’t decide whether I love him or hate him for it. More importantly, he is a hero to me and everyone else who refuses go along with the plan. I am trying to figure out a way to end this blurb by making it more about me than him, but I can’t even bring myself to do it because Now for the Disappointing Part is so damn good I just want everyone to buy it, read it, and force everyone they know to do the same.” —Dave Hill, author of Dave Hill Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
“A charming page-turner of a memoir, Now for the Disappointing Part winningly anatomizes the lifestyle of the late bloomer. But its essays amount to more than just a tale of boxed Mac ‘n’ Cheese, failed romantic relationships, and miserable short-term jobs. Throughout, Barker crafts a sensitive and principled argument in defense of an undervalued and disposable workforce. The result is an honest, self-aware, and funny tale of millennial malaise.” —Suzanne Morrison, author of Yoga Bitch: One Woman’s Quest to Conquer Skepticism, Cynicism, and Cigarettes on the Path to Enlightenment
“Before our so-called share/freelance economy emerged as necessity, some of us never fit in to the 9-to-5 grind. Barker’s visceral struggle to find the color of his parachute shows he paid his dues and earned his right to claim the title ‘writer.'” —Shawna Kenney, author of I Was a Teenage Dominatrix
“For those unfamiliar with the culture of temp work, Barker’s book is a good, funny introduction. He repeatedly finds himself in absurd situations that are a curious blend of banal and mortifying. . . . Those moments in Disappointing Part when he acknowledges that his employers make billions of dollars a year yet they claim that they can’t afford to hire full-time content writers are when the book really comes alive.” —Paul Constant, Seattle Review of Books
“Now for the Disappointing Part is timely. . . . Barker’s essays are honest, and many offer humorous insights. The witty lines were so sudden that I found myself laughing out loud—sometimes in public.” —Hippocampus magazine
About Steven Barker
Steven Barker has, in addition to big company temp jobs, worked as a freelance journalist and his essays have appeared in Salon and Split Lip magazine, among others. He lives in Seattle where he cofounded the local reading series “Cheap Wine & Poetry” and “Cheap Beer & Prose.” He is the host of the arts and entertainment podcast Ordinary Madness.