Tuesday, December 9, 2014

What It's Like To Be A Temp Worker

Last week, I talked about how the unemployed lifestyle ain't all it cracked up to be. It was kind of a bummer piece. But even though I haven't gotten a full-time job, I have been working temp jobs to fill my time and make some money. Let me just start by saying. temping isn't awful. It isn't great, but it is way better than not working at all. I have been very fortunate in that I have worked with really nice people in all of my positions. The biggest downside of temping is everybody sucks when starting a new job, and right when you start to get in a groove with things, your time there is done, and you are forced to start over somewhere else again. I'm not sure if anybody remembers the show "The Pretender" where the main character had a different job every week like fighter pilot, emergency room doctor, or bounty hunter. But temping is a lot like that, except WAY less exciting.

My first position was working in the marketing department of a local college, and they thought they would find something for me until they realized I was more talented than they initially thought and we mutually agreed it was not going to be a good option.

After that, I had a week off until I took a different job at the same college where I worked as a receptionist. On paper, it was a sweet gig. I just had to sit up front and could do whatever I wanted. If I wanted to cruise the internet, go ahead, pop in some headphones and learn Spanish, sure, I even wrote a book (with drawings) for my wife for our anniversary. The problem was that I was stuck there. Outside of going to the bathroom and taking a lunch, I had to sit out front and be present. It definitely sapped my motivation as time went on. They offered me the position full-time, but I'm not sure if I could have made it another month, as I was anxious every day from being forced to sit still.

My most recent position was an events position for a nonprofit. Everybody there was really nice, and I fit in the culture really well. It was a temp-to-hire position, so it was actually really promising. On my first day, my boss told me that if I proved myself, they would probably be willing to offer me the full-time position in two-to-three weeks.

I started tackling projects to the best of my ability, and somehow this backfired on me. After two days of working with my boss, she told me that I was too talented for the position. In all reality, the position was totally fine by me; it was basically just like my old full-time job, and I enjoyed that position. It was a job that would make sense for me from what my past experience was. Telling me I was too talented was the ultimate mindfuck. How can I properly respond to that? How do you tell someone that you're not that great, and this is the position for me? Do I assure them that I will fuck stuff up from time to time? I tried to agree with how great I am (it was not that hard), but at the same time saying that I would like the opportunity as I am not in the position to shoot for the stars at this point in my life.

They were concerned I would leave the position, I told them that I would stick with them through their busy period at the very least before even considering any other positions. My boss wanted to offer me the position, but the President wanted to do her due diligence and interview other people while also considering me.

It took two months for them to finally get around to the interviewing process. In that time, I had done every assignment incredibly well and just about everybody loved me there. In a building of 20 people, half of those told me how much they wanted me to get the job or assured me I was a shoo-in for the position. I figured they'd bring in a few token candidates before offering me the position. Instead, they decided to interview nine people for the position.

Still, this was a slam dunk opportunity. The first interview was with my boss and the HR lady. I presented myself incredibly well, and it was a breeze. If I was in a frat, I would say I crushed it, or slayed it, or possibly combined the two and crush-slayed it. But it went well. My boss told me that I made it to the final two, and I politely thanked her while thinking to myself, "No shit, Sherlock; there was no way I wasn't going to make it to the final interview."

And that brings me to another point. One of my weaknesses is not being great on paper, my other issue is confidence. Most people will tell you to try and be confident during an interview; this has never been an issue for me, but the opposite has been. I am too confident when I go into interviews. Even jobs I have gotten in the past, I was told that my confidence worried them. Basically, I walk into my interviews like I'm interviewing for a porno and I'm packing a footlong in my pants (Speaking of that, maybe bringing in a $5 footlong from Subway for the interviewers would help my chances). So, yes, confidence is an issue for me, but not in the same way as other unemployed people.

Speaking of that confidence, my next interview was with the President of the nonprofit. We hadn't talked a ton, but I had the ultimate advantage as she was a fellow alum at the University of Iowa. Hawkeyes stick together, so this interview should have been even easier. And it was an easy interview. The only weird thing was that she said she was looking forward to getting to know me better on a personal level, and then proceeded to only ask me work-related questions. If I don't mention my wife, pup dog, or pro wrestling, it is probably not a personal conversation. Still, I had proved myself for the last two months, so as things were winding down, I was only wondering how much money they were going to offer me.

Welp, that didn't quite work out, as they gave the position to the other candidate. Through the grapevine, I learned that my confidence was definitely not seen as an asset. So now I'm back on the hunt for my next opportunity. Should I try to tone down my confidence? Sure, I should, but change is hard, and I'm a snowflake, and they should appreciate me for being special in my own way.

Long story short, unless my Mom is in charge of hiring, I'm probably going to be bouncing around temp jobs for a while longer. 

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