Temp Or Adventure?
The temp or temporary position I entered into for twelve weeks this past summer, has recently ended. What began as an immediate fix to an unexpected loss of income, turned out to be an amazing personal and occupational experience.
In June, my family’s world changed suddenly, fear and chaos ensued. Panic and loss of sleep took over my being. A wild search revealed a temporary position, one that would keep our home on an even-keel, at least for an additional three months. This would be enough time to find and secure a permanent income and stabilize our world again.
Since this was the first temporary or temp position that I had ever taken, I thought a lot about my approach to the job and expectations I had about this new experience. Temping was an activity to me, not a means to earn a living. So, the thrust into this world as a temporary workforce was totally unknown territory.
Expectations I laid out for myself included the following: learn the job quickly; follow and complete all tasks and processes exactly as the ‘home’ employee completed them; DO NOT make the job or the working space my own. My mindset told me this was just a job, it would continue providing household income without missing a beat in the rhythm we already had established. I would not be a member of the team. I was a temporary placeholder for the “Home” employee. It was an opportunity to hone rusty skills and adapt to an office environment again. I had left this environment four years earlier to be available for aging parents and to work with my husband in our small, seasonal business. These expectations became my mantra to keep me at a distance from co-workers and stay in the placeholder mode I told myself was necessary for success.
Life has a way of adjusting your expectations and plans. In this instance, I was pleased with the adjustment. What I learned was that this temp job came to mean more to me than just being a job. I bonded with co-workers and blended well with the daily routines. The only aspect of my plan that I kept was not making the workspace my own. Out of respect for the “Home” employee, I kept her space exactly as she had left it. An important piece of wisdom that I gleaned was that it isn’t about the space, it is about the people and the relationships one has with co-workers.
Not only did this bonding occur, I left a positive impression with co-workers of my capabilities and skills as a team member. My confidence grew as I held my own on decisions for completed projects and finished product. I found that I was trusted as someone to connect with on a personal level. We all began to share some of ourselves and our lives. It was wonderful!
I learned that my skills still had worth. This, in turn, boosted my confidence enough to recognize I was capable of greater responsibility. A sense of inner strength began to bloom again for me.
The greatest take-a-way about temping was to not view it as a placeholder. It was so much more to me and to the organization. The only temporary aspect of it was the length of time spent on site and on the job.
This temporary position opened the door to my personal evolution. Self-esteem, confidence and the old me came back to life. These attributes that were me, that defined me, had faded into the background of my life in four short years.
The purpose of writing this article involves changing perceptions of temporary job positions. The experience changed my perception for good. It changed me. I found that temp jobs offer more than an income they are an opportunity to try out various jobs, industries, and geographic locations. They also offer new skills, along with improving old skills.
Another huge plus-factor was the relationships created. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people and sharing life with them. The experience positively impacted me, co-workers and the owners of the company.
My last day was bittersweet. There were tears of sadness and tears of joy. Best of all, to end this sweet ride, there was Thank You cake!