The Positive Side of Temporary Employment

So, I have been working at my old University for the past month and a half as a temporary secretary. Most of the other office staff I’ve talked to here have said that this is how they got their positions here, many years ago. In fact, it’s damn near impossible to get a job here without some sort of “in” like this.

Which brings me to today’s topic. Sometimes, temporary employment is the best thing you can go for. I really wish I had realized this sooner, too. Many, many people tried to talk me out of going to a temp agency when I said I was looking for a job. To them, a temp job was 2 week placement somewhere to cover a vacation leave, or to fill a spot while the company tries to restructure their office. While there are some negatives to this sort of employment (which I’ll get to for Monday’s post), there is a whole host of positive things to consider when thinking about going to a temp agency.

-you’ll get a chance to use you skills and keep them current. Sitting at home, emailing out your resume to companies every day isn’t doing much to keep you on your toes when it comes to Excel, or even more advanced Word functions. Getting thrown into a strange office and being told to keep up with their paperwork really puts you to the test, though. It gives you a chance to polish any rusty skills, and possibly learn (or re-learn) new ones. I totally forgot that I know how to not only create flyers in Word, but can make them look pretty damn professional AND turn them into PDFs!

-you get to try out positions without commitment. You may think you want to get into a certain career, or even a certain company. But you won’t know for sure until you actually do it. What if, in the course of your temp placement, you discover that you would rather shove rusty nails in your ears and hit them repeatedly against a cement wall than have to sit in a room for 8 hours with your co-workers? As a temp worker, you only have a short time with those people, and can run far, far away when your placement is over.

-networking!!!!! In my position here, I’m in a department I hadn’t been to much before, and only knew two professors in. As such, I’ve had to meet and get to know a whole department full of professors, graduate students, and support staff. I’ve also been able to make myself visible on campus again, connecting with people from my old departments, the IT staff (who must hate me now, thanks to this damn copier here!), HR, and a whole mess of other support staff on campus. Now, when my resume is brought up again for any temp or permanent position, they all have a face to go with the name AND have no shortage of people to talk to who know me.

-this got me out of my pyjamas and out of the house. After job hunting for so long, things start to look a little dark. I’m not going to lie, there are some days when I didn’t bother putting on real pants, and just sat around in jammies all day, skimming job search sites. With this position, I am forced to get up and out of bed every weekday AND put on my grown-up clothes!

Sadly, today is my last day here with this assignment. The regular secretary will be back in her office on Monday. This means my afternoon will be spent making sure I leave her space exactly the way it was when I got here in February.

Hopefully, though, I’ll be back working on this campus again soon!

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