Casey Bosco knows five software packages: MultiMate, WordPerfect, WordStar, Microsoft Word, and Symphony. She earns approximately $17 to $22 an hour as an evening temp.
I have the job a lot of temps want, and those of us who have them don't want to give them up. Mostly, I work the five p.m. to midnight shift or midnight to seven a.m. I love night assignments, but it took me a while to find them. You just can’t walk into a service and expect to get them. In this city, there is a whole family of nighttime temps who know each other from seeing the same faces at different companies. You tell each other which services have the best assignments; a whole network develops... It’s hard to break into it. We got in on the ground floor of word processing around seven years ago. I also know several dedicated word processing machines like Wang and Syntrex. Most of my assignments are law firms, or places where there is a large volume of text that needs to be keyed in before the next workday.
The best part? The money is great; sometimes I get supper and cab fare home. It's not good if you want to meet new people or find a permanent job. There is a limited number of personnel on at night. What I do love is having beautiful days for myself. Usually, I sleep in the afternoons.
Build your proficiency on several systems and temp days first. Make your service love you, and let them know you are very open for evening work. Don't get discouraged; the night work is out there, but you might have to look for it-not every service gets evening job orders.
April Dillon, East Elmhurst, New York
April Dillon now works as a full-time temp counselor for the temp service that once sent her out.
I started temping because I was looking for a permanent job. ... It let me pay my bills, go on interviews, and minimize stress while job hunting. I temped for approximately two months. . . . What I liked best about it was that it gave me a chance to see what a company was like in terms of atmosphere and people, who had the window offices and why. I learned about the firm's personnel policies and whether there were any good opportunities at the firm.
As a temp, your salary does fluctuate; but if you get good references, you'll always get work. You can be away from your temp service for long periods; but if you had a good reputation with your counselor, they will always be glad to see you again and find work for you. ... If you want to work in a corporation, go in dressed the part on your very first interview with the service.
Once I was in a large office as an executive secretary and there were four conference rooms. A client came in and only knew a name of someone at the meeting he was to attend. I didn’t have any information about the person or the meeting, so I told the client I would need to check with my supervisor He started to demand the number of the conference room and ran around ranting and raving, opening doors. ... I tell temps to stay calm and keep your head because not everyone you work with will keep theirs.
Tina Clarke, Seattle, Washington
Tina Clarke is a writer who temps to "keep herself in typing paper." She says, "I couldn't be a writer and not have some sort of backup to pay the rent." Clarke temps as a typist or secretary and gives herself creative breaks whenever she needs them and can afford them.
There are two things people never tell you about temping, and I'm not embarrassed to say them. One, I’m a bit of a snoop; and if you temp, you are a legitimate voyeur. You sit at people’s desks and you look at their photos, their knickknacks, and their bulletin boards. . . . You find out all about them without ever meeting them. People don't know how much they give away about themselves by what they do with their desks. I use an individual's idiosyncrasies in my stories; as a writer, I find it is a great way to build character development. Second-and this is a nice plus-temping can be a great way to meet men. You can build a social life for yourself. Of course, not just dates. I've made a lot of female friends from temping, too. But ... it is definitely a good way to get introduced to someone in a safe setting. If you see a man in his work environment, you get to know more about him right away. ... I don't mean to be flip; but apart from the obvious reasons everyone gives for temping, these two stand out for me.