If you’re a current or prospective temporary worker, things may seem hard today, but I want to offer you my own story, to let you know that things WILL get better for you and for your family.
I’ve been in your shoes before. For 16 years, I was a stay-at-home parent, essentially working an essential full-time job (and more!) that pays no money. I know it sounds humdrum, and at times it was, but in hindsight it was something I wouldn’t give up for anything. But at some point, the right time had come for me to look for paid work. My kids were about to enter college and we needed the extra money to help out with those costs. I won’t kid you. I was scared. Not just scared, but terrified. I hadn’t used my office skills in years. Yet I knew I had to get past my fear and get started. The problem was I didn’t know how to get moving.
I was sure no one would want me. My skills were outdated or stale. But one day, I was talking with my sister and she suggested I go through a staffing-and-recruiting service and serve as a temporary worker (a “temp”), “just to get started.” She had done the same at one time in her life and enjoyed the experience. To be honest, I was not immediately sold on the idea. I wanted a “real job.” I wanted a job that was “permanent,” not one that might move me around from one place to another. But I was stuck in a rut of fear, with little confidence in myself or my marketability, so I decided to take my sister’s advice.
I first went to a well-known national agency. Since they only placed industrial workers, and I had no experience in that field, she suggested I try Shannon Staffing, since they placed both industrial and clerical workers. (I will be forever in that woman’s debt!) I walked into Shannon Staffing’s office and was greeted by their staff. I filled out their application and expected to leave to await a call that I *hoped* I would get sometime in the future. Instead, they spoke with me immediately about my skills and experiences, eased my fears about my extended lapse in work history, and proceeded to tell me about a position that had just opened up for which they thought I was qualified.
The start to a new (and ultimately permanent) career path began. I worked for Shannon Staffing as a temp through several assignments. It wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be, although it had its challenges. My first assignment was for 3 months only. I was told this at the start, but although I gained some things to add to my resume, I hated to see it end. The next job had me working with a newly formed company with me as their only help. That too ended shortly after I started, not because they didn’t want me, but because they had growing pains and had to work them out before going forward. My next assignment was with a company that was quickly growing. I worked for them for a few months, and then for my own reasons decided to leave. After that, I worked in the Shannon Staffing office until the previous company offered me a full-time position with their firm. I worked there for many years until they closed. At that time, I was asked to interview with the owners at Shannon Staffing for a new permanent position in their offices; it’s one that I still hold to this day.
I know you must be thinking that I got lucky. That things just fell into my lap. And yes, I was lucky. But I also had to work diligently at getting a permanent full-time position. There’s a saying that “you make your own luck.” Things aren’t going to just come your way if you aren’t willing to work hard at making them happen. Every temporary position I had held its own challenges. There were days when the work environment was less than ideal: difficult people, difficult tasks, difficult places. But, in truth, that’s just reality… no situation is ideal or perfect. I held positions that required me to learn new programs, work in areas that had little space, and deal with people who, at times, were downright mean. There were days when I wanted to yell at someone and days when I thought it would be easier to just not show up. But that’s not how you land a permanent position with a company. You have to prove that you are worthy to work for them as a core team member. Let’s face it: There are too many people out there wanting the same position you want. If you want that job, you have to set yourself apart from everyone else. Now, believe me, that doesn’t guarantee you will automatically get the job as a permanent employee. That’s life… not everything works out the way you want. But to improve your odds, there are a few things you can do to better your chances of being picked for the team.
Remember, I was once in your shoes. I’ll share those tips in Part 2.
(written by: Denise)