Recently I found a new job. For the time being I am a temp working for an agency and adapting to that change made me think about what it means to be a temp. I work in hospitality again and that meant checking whether all of my old work gear was still in good condition. I might as well write about some things I learnt in my years of being a temp.
Having been a temp, more specifically temporary employee I started as a school kid with a summer job and later worked to support myself full-time. The shift from extra cash to money to pay the bills is one that changes your perspective on work completely. Also you learn some unexpected things.
Temps are hired.
When you sign to become an employee with a company you are employed. Temps are hired for specified jobs and hours, not to be employed.
Temps are immediately replaceable.
Because you are hired for a specified job and hours you are redundant when you are done or did a bad job.
Every working hour counts.
Not being employed means living with the risk that you cannot make regular hours. You own your time and you make it count.
A bad job can be your last job.
As a temp a bad job can cost you the opportunity to work for an employer again.
Prepare for everything.
As the hired temp you can expect dirty jobs and unique jobs. Even with a proper briefing prepare for everything because the temps generally do a lot of the dirty work. Being mentally and physically flexible matters.
What you do not know, ask!
Being a temp also means you are not always given enough information to work with. It is better to ask too much than to ask too little so you can do a good job.
Seasons and economic trends directly influence your income.
Certain times of the years will be insanely busy but a negative economic trend can erase your jobs.
The picture tells you everything you need to know about being a temp. Only the tough ones survive but to become a tree you need more soil. In employment terms: without proper employment contract and regular hours a career is difficult.
When you are tough enough you develop a survival attitude.
Being a temp…