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Stigma about You Being Unsteady On a Permanent Job

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Jerry McLoughlin, Bergenfield, New Jersey

Jerry McLoughlin is a certified public accountant who is 65 years old and finds temporary work to be a good way to extend his career.

When I passed retirement age, I was let go. ... I experienced some difficulty in finding another permanent position, so I sort of backed into temping several years ago. It has kept me busy ever since; work can fluctuate from a one-day job to a year-long assignment.

To get the money-or more than I'm getting at my service-I couldn’t get that on an annual basis in a permanent job. . . . If I want to go to the doctor or take six weeks off and go on vacation, I can. It is like I'm an independent contractor. Another advantage is that I’m on a retirement plan with my service-profit sharing. If you put in x number of hours each year, you become part of this plan. You are allocated a certain percentage of the service's profits. It has worked well for me. I'm fully funded now. It has built up a nest egg for me.

Some temps complain about the lack of benefits. And you are always on the road at different clients, that's not a plus or minus for me. . . . It's not very different because when you do public or private auditing, you are always at different offices. I have heard that if you temp for too long (over six months), some offices are not impressed. Temping seems to have a stigma in certain circles. People may think you can't hold down a steady job.

Doing temp work is a good way to work into a permanent spot; but if you are over fifty-five years old, it may be rough to find something permanent. Temping is a good permanent option. Get with a firm that can keep you busy. Register with other services if you are not getting enough work. It can be very discouraging to sit home and wait for a call... Call them when you want to work-let them know you want to work.

Lorraine Beaulieu, New York, New York

During the tourist season, from April through October, Lorraine Beau-lieu is a motor coach tour guide. Then she vacations until after the Christmas holidays and temps from January until April. It is a career life-style in which she makes all of her own rules.

I started temping as a receptionist at a bank. While I was there, I learned a word processing system, QYX, and worked for the bank for another month, which gave me some time to practice. Learning QYX doubled my income from five dollars an hour to ten dollars per hour The next thing I did was go to school to learn Wang word processing; and now I work for a minimum of fifteen-fifty an hour, sometimes as much as eighteen dollars an hour

I advise people to learn word processing. . . . Anyone can learn it. .. . Learn everything you can about it. If you can run the machine, you can do the work. Lots of secretaries envy me because of the freedom I have, and I make more than they do. I work as much or as little as I want. I don’t have to deal with office politics; and if I don’t like an office, I can ask to leave. . . . A lot of people wish they could do that.

Jerry Pitts, Phoenix, Arizona

Jerry Pitts turned to temping twelve years ago when he was in the process of changing jobs. "I was recently divorced; I was trying new things. . . . Temping let me organize my life without the hassles of really thinking about work." For one of his assignments, Pitts was sent to an office and was told he would handle sales and customer information for a new dog-walking service. "They put me in this large empty room with just a desk and a telephone. ... I thought it was a little weird. Then the phone started to ring, and while I was on the phone, people came in and dropped off their dogs. Soon I was surrounded by five barking dogs. . . . It seemed like a setup, so I said, ‘Is this Candid Camera?’ and it was!" Pitts was just one of the many individuals surprised by the TV show that used to make good use of temps.

Didn't you always wonder where they got those people to play jokes on? Now you know.
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