Friday, August 28, 2015

“Temp”-orary Insanity

I have been a stay at home wife and Mother for the most part of 16 years now.  I did quite a bit of volunteering during the early years of my son’s illustrious school career (totally sarcastic).  I helped out where I could with some of the sports he played and did the whole family thing. 

Now I find myself so far out of the workforce that the edgier skills I had are all completely dated and outmoded.  I don’t have enough work credits to qualify for social security or medicare when my time comes.  I never thought I’d be the age I am and wonder what I want to be when I grow up.  I never realized that a person had to have a certain number of work credits to qualify for social security and medicare.  I thought they just sort of “happened” when you hit 65 or so.  I was completely wrong!
In order to get back in the working world and dip my toes in the water; I have turned to temping.  I am currently on my second assignment.  The first lasted three months and I have no idea how long this assignment will last, it’s rumored they like me.  I am fully enjoying it and do hope it lasts as long as it can before this company has to return me to the agency pool.
If you have never done temporary work before, it’s like this;

  • 1.)    You are like a red shirt on Star Trek…you know you will be written out, you just don’t know that will happen
  • 2.)    They really DO count on you when the chips are down and there are deadlines to meet. 
  • 3.)    You have to go with the flow.  You have to learn many new skills, adapt quickly and smoothly and do it all with a smile on your face while eagerly asking for more, all while knowing that you have a much shorter shelf life than a twinkie with the company you are contracted to work for.
  • 4.)    You have to be on time and work the full time, you shouldn’t milk the clock, word may spread.
  • 5.)    You don’t fit in.  Do the best you can to follow along with the conversation, get to know the people you work with, but not all day.   No matter how engaging you think you are….you simply will never be “one of them”. 
  • 6.)    We ALL make mistakes and you have to own up to them more so than regular employees of the company do.  Great managers will help you correct your mistakes, learn from them and move on. 
  • 7.)    You really are appreciated, especially if your work is good and you take the work seriously.

I am enjoying temp work.  I’ve learned some very good new skills and dusted off some rarely used older skills.  During the first assignment I got thrown into the deep end of typing.  Since my spinal cord ding, I’ve not been the most rapid or accurate typist.  I am MUCH better now since the data entry assignment.  During this assignment I am learning all about how orders for stores get from place to place, a lot of the little things that go into you getting that shirt with your favorite team….the Missabamaflorianalinan Cthulu Chaps….logo on the front and how to help make that happen. 

There are some signs that you should break up with an employer too, as bad as that sounds. 

  • 1.)    Job not as described
  • 2.)    Hours not as described
  • 3.)    Abusive work conditions
  • 4.)    Inadequate management or no training to do the job you were contracted to do
  • 5.)    Management has little to no control over employees
  • 6.)    Lack of clear leadership
  • 7.)    Unsafe or illegal working conditions

Those are some serious violations and put everyone at risk.  Temp jobs like that tend to sour many people on the entire temp experience.  My first temp job in data entry in Feb had some management issues, but I was fine working around those.  I had to call it quits just under three months into it (expiration date anyway) because the hours and job description totally changed.  It was no longer as described and wasn’t something I could adequately handle.  I think the best way to handle it,  is to discuss  your need to quit, in person with the company you are performing temp services for.  Let them know why you feel the need to quit, they may respond positively and keep your job as stated for the remainder of your assignment.  Thank them for giving you a chance; leave them with a good impression of you.  Immediately upon quitting contact your agency.  Tell them what happened with the job description.  Explain that you quit and you did so because the position or hours significantly changed, or the work area was unsafe…etc.  It is a violation of their contract to change a job description or hours without notifying the temporary agency of the job change. 
I feel kind of like Mary Poppins.  I never know where I will go or what I will be doing.   I go where the wind blows! 

If you are a temp, you know a temp, or you ever were one you can understand this feeling of impermanence but also some of the rewards of being part of something big in a time of need.  

1 comment:

RJ Veendy said...

I agree. I've never been a "Temp," but I was hired as a "Non-Exempt" in 1986. That essentially means "Easy to fire." No benefits, no strings. If I proved to be a good gimp who could do the job, they might consider giving me a real job. Of course I not only had to to the job everyone else in my position did, but I had to do it better and faster.
I stopped working for that company in 2008.

I hope you find cool, rewarding jobs where you can get good intel on how things happen. It can all be fodder for your Best Selling novel and then you can give SS the bird for not having a required course that makes it impossible to end up saying, "WTF?"
Best of Luck to ya.