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Does Temping Provide Freedom, Convenience and Versatility?

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On a more serious side, following are views on life as a temporary employee from a broad range of temps in a variety of fields.

Ghenia Websterss, Brooklyn Heights, New York

Ghenia Websterss has been temping for approximately seven months. After leaving a permanent position as an administrative assistant to a senior-level executive, Websterss decided she would give her "brain a break" and temp until she decided which direction she wanted her career to take.



Websterss, who changed the spelling of her name based on her belief in numerology, says, "It's what’s in my paycheck that counts, not the everyday responsibility." Websterss registered with several services and found one she is very satisfied with. She does warn newcomers, though, that you have to call services and remind them you exist, or else they may stick with their own pool of familiar temps.

I don’t treat temping as though it were any less important than a permanent job; I’m there to work. It is surprising how many companies are unprepared for you, even though they placed the order for a temp. You can wait awhile before they have any real work for you. . . . I find that there is a tendency to give temps the idiot jobs. But, like I said, it is the paycheck, not the responsibility that matters most to me. I can’t be bothered getting offended by what I'm asked to do. I convey this attitude, and people are usually responsive and relieved, I even volunteer for jobs-the other day I went to the bank for the client.

When you go to an assignment, you either sit at a person’s desk who is out or you find an empty desk that is generally designated as the ''temp desk." Right now, I have been at the same assignment for several months. They are not making full use of my secretarial skills, but my service is still paying me fifteen dollars an hour.

Websterss assignments have included investment houses, corporate legal departments, and an architectural firm. We asked if she had considered any of her temp jobs as a permanent position. "If I saw something I liked, I would pursue it. People have asked for my resume, but I haven't seen anything of great interest so far. But I’m still looking."

Does she like temping? "Yes. It suits me just fine for now." Websterss is a tarot card enthusiast, and says she was advised by several psychics not to take a permanent job this year.

I've had a good opportunity to get rested and work when I want and where I want. I called in sick one day while on this long-term assignment, and the client refused my services offer to send another temp in my place. They said they'd wait for me until I felt better It was nice to see that they appreciated the quality of my work. Temping has been a good option for me. I like the exposure to companies, and I’m very relaxed now.

Leslie Fallon, Huntington Beach, California

Leslie Fallon is a registered pharmacist.

I quit a management job at two pharmacies, which I had held for a total of four years. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I took two months off and then I decided to try temping. I found I really enjoyed it because I wasn’t locked into a particular place... I like it for the freedom, convenience, and versatility. Also, it is a great challenge to walk into a new environment and handle a new set of problems each time I temp. There are always new people to meet... I don t find myself falling into a rut.

Some people thought I should pursue regular employment, but temping is my choice. I really like learning new systems, going to new areas, [and] the exposure to different doctors and their therapeutic regime. I also got married and was able to take one-and-a-half months off and come back with no problem.

I repeatedly go back to the same pharmacies. It is kind of like going back and seeing old friends. You increase your scope of colleagues and acquaintances. I learn new uses of medicine from new doctors. I can get a wider view of patient problems and what doctors prescribe as opposed to one small group of the same people where the opportunities and the doctor-patient relationships are more limited. If I should look for a full-time position, I can now eliminate what fm not comfortable with, and temping lets me know what is available in the market... The flexibility gives me personal time. I've worked long enough now to want more than two weeks off a year.

The pay scale may or may not be a disadvantage. I often have long distance drives. You work without benefits or insurance, but that is not a problem for me because I have coverage through my husband. Sometimes I find myself overscheduled. I end up working more days than I want to; but if I let my service know there is a problem, they handle it for me. Newcomers to the field should be flexible and come in with a good attitude. Make an effort to blend with people... Step into a job as if you were working there full-time and not just temporarily. Your attitude makes you act more responsibly, and your peers on the job will appreciate it... Make sure you don't try to make permanent changes in their procedures.
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