Temporary jobs are a great way to learn new skills while working flexible hours. On the other hand, temping will be a completely unique and unpredictable working experience for some. Here’s some advice for your first day that you probably won’t be getting from your temp agency – from one of our clients with plenty of ‘temping’ experience.
Don’t show up on time- show up early
It is inevitable that on your first day at a job it will pour rain, transportation will be impossible and the elevators in the building will be under repair. Give yourself an extra 15-20 minutes. You’ll be thankful for it, even if you only use the time to relax over a cup of coffee.
Wear comfortable clothes
This may seem like odd advice but before you get to a new assignment you will have no idea what tasks you’ll actually be doing. Temps tend to be assigned the odd jobs around the office that no one else really wants to take on. You may find yourself bent over filing cabinets, making posters on the floor or, as I once found myself, traveling to the 44th floor of the Empire State Building in a thunderstorm to buy Boy Scout badges for the CEO’s son. This is not the time for stilettos or silk trousers. Dress professionally but make sure your clothes won’t hold you back, no matter what is asked of you.
Keep a stiff upper lip
The vast majority of supervisors I have had at temp jobs have been kind and supportive. However, every once in a while you will come across a jerk who has decided that temps are there to be abused and insulted or thinks it is somehow your fault that the copy machine was broken before you arrived. Stay calm and professional. Keep reminding yourself that it’s just one day of your life. When you finally get out of there, tell your temp agency that you don’t feel comfortable working under that supervisor again.
Temp jobs are a great way to break into a new field and land a full time gig. It worked for me after about 5 months. Without being pushy try to casually mention to your supervisors that you are looking for full time work. Keep a copy of your CV in your e-mail account or somewhere easy to access from any computer so that you can hand it over right away if it’s requested. Work hard and prove that you have something to offer each company you work for.
Look out for perks
Many companies offer free lunches, stocked snack rooms, use of the gym or even free books and CDs. Don’t be shy! Take advantage of what is offered to you. As long as you don’t look greedy it can be a nice supplement to your pay cheque.
Be ready for anything
At my first job, the computer I was assigned had a virus on it that caused porn sites to fill the screen anytime I tried to access the internet. All sorts of ridiculous and unexpected things happen at temp jobs. It’s best to keep your sense of humor and not let the unexpected affect your work. Always remember, if something truly mortifying happens, you can try somewhere new tomorrow!