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Stressful life for temps who’d rather be permies

After the financial crash of 2008, a lot of people were forced to take temporary jobs

Many of them have found themselves stuck in the temporary jobs market, although they aren’t natural temps. They don’t actually want to keep changing employers or integrating into a whole different team. In their hearts, these people are permies and there are several aspects of temping they find particularly stressful.

So keen to be permanent, they think they are

Working habits die hard and many “forced” temps only have to be assigned for a short time before they start thinking of themselves as permanent staff. Key signs include talking about “we” and “us”, making far too much effort at office socials and starting to store condiments in their desk drawer. Then one day, they’re told thanks, see you around, and are devastated. The key point to remember is if you’re temporary, don’t engage until you’re engaged.

Effectively they have two employers

Temps have to satisfy the client by doing a great job, so that the agency hears good things. They also have to keep the agency itself happy. There’s more to this than not messing up the timesheets and annoying the controller. For instance, the temp must take care not to work so effectively that they get the assignment done too quickly and cut the billing period for the agency.

Dress down doesn’t apply to temps

Every day, the temp needs to show the employer what they are getting for their money. The simplest way to do this is to dress just one degree smarter than the permanent staff. This shows that you haven’t relaxed into the role, even though the employer has a dress down code. If a temp starts dressing casually, it’s an irritating reminder to management that they are now taking their position for granted.

Some people can’t do cultural change

The type of person who always stays in a particular hotel chain, no matter where they go on holiday, is the kind of person who is going to find temping difficult. It’s not the work – a spreadsheet is a spreadsheet at the end of the day. It’s the fact that they have to get to grips with a completely different culture every time the start a new assignment. The culture affects everything, from what time people show up for work, to what they eat for lunch, to how they behave in meetings.

The sort of person who doesn’t really like going on holiday, unless it’s to somewhere familiar, is going to be ultra uncomfortable moving from one workplace to another. You can’t say that this affects older temps more, because some older workers are keen to try new things. People who have spent years temping, though, may have become somewhat jaded and may appear a little unexcited at the latest corporate craze.

Temps can contribute more than skills

Temps can bring in better ways of doing things, that they’ve learned elsewhere. They may be able to suggest new solutions to longstanding problems. Precisely because they’ve seen it all before, they can be better at keeping a level head in a crisis.

This doesn’t alter the fact that many of them would much rather have a permanent job.

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