Words, Weights, Whatever

Friday, August 20, 2004

Last Day

Image found on the Internet and all rights belong to their owners.

Today's my last day of my current assignment.

As usually, I have mixed feelings. I enjoyed this job: the location, the hours, the work,
and most of the people. On the other side, I can't wait to set my own hours again, take a
large whack at the household chores (yes, I'm a 'domestic diva' type of guy), and write
hours on my works-in-progress (WIPs).

Temping is a large part of my work history. I started sometime in 1996, two years after R.
and I moved in. The first job was a three-day data entry position that literally made me go
blind with those old-fashioned green on black monitors. Ugh.

The first major position was working for a credit verification company. It was from that
experienced I learned about technical writing and specialized temp agencies. For the next
couple of years I worked in the IT departments of some pretty well-known companies as Hughes and The Getty Museum. The latter was an amazing place to work: all those multi-million dollar paintings casually hanging in various departments. And the view...!

Temping landed me my first perm job. I had just been let go from an aerospace firm. R. and I
had just had a party a few weeks before and one of our guest had discovered we had termites.

We called in Orkin who had to fumigate. We stayed at my sister's place while she visited her
(then) boy-friend up north. I was driving back to her apartment when I received
a call from an agency I had joined a couple of weeks before.

If you're not familar with temp agency, there is a category called "permanent placement." These are positions where the agency screens potential candidates for permanent positions in their client's companies. The agency who called me had such a position for (at the time) a major wireless telecommunication company. When the rep told me its name, I immediately said yes to a potential interview.

I started work a couple of months later, my first permanent job.

Alas, the position didn't last. Economic changes and company politics ("let's transfer an entire department to our state and combine them with technology they have no training in to save cost") forced me to leave. By then, though, I had already developed the mindset of "permanent temp": that all working folks are temps regardless if they're getting benies from their jobs or not. With this case, I got unemployment and other goodies (which I had been paying for, anyway) and got some substantial work done on my novels.

I did secure a perm job last year without an agency, the first since my college days. For a variety of reasons that didn't last and I went back to temping. The experience had changed me, though. One of the advantages of temping is the ability to "try" different jobs. I used this trait to go in a brand-new career direction: working in the public sector. I secured my current position in a local city hall* a couple of weeks after leaving the perm job.

Now it's ending and I'm in a tangled bundle of emotions. That's okay: it's only "temp"orary anyway ;-)

*I'll be back for another temp assignment at the same location but a different department. Yay!


  • I don't think I could ever do work that was deliberately temporary, but I have security issues.

    I often wish I was more spontaneous like that. I'll bet it makes life interesting.

    By Blogger Lola, at 11:40 AM  

  • Re: security.
    That's definitely important and I'm fortunately my spouse has a perm job. But I've met many folks whose sole income is based on their temp jobs and they've done quite well for themselves.

    By Blogger Joel, at 11:59 AM  

  • Temping would be interesting but probably irritating for me. I worked six years for a company that did contract work. The work (shift work) was great when things went well but picky or disruptive in lean times. One thing I did like (if in moderation) was the variety of clients and locations. Hopefully this will give you a short break to write and relax. -cheers fm.

    By Blogger Leon, at 7:37 PM  

  • My current position is temporary as well, though it's long-term temporary, if that makes sense. If I had the $$, I'd love to just take a month off every now and then to write. Sounds like you'll be having some fun times coming up!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:41 PM  

  • Re: temp.

    Hustling for the jobs is a bear. I've had my share of panic times. But, again, I'm not the primary breadwinner in our household but it's still very vital: our "fun" money comes from my paychecks.

    And I know what you mean about long-term temp jobs, Sandra. Half my temp tech writing jobs were extended beyond three months.

    By Blogger Joel, at 11:41 PM  

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