Monica Luchak

work, work, work, work …

Month: September, 2012

Employment Insecurity

I’ve completed the second week of my two-week assignment, now extended to another week or two. The agency had contacted me about doing another assignment for them starting next week but I had already committed to stay with the organization I’m at.  It’s the right thing to do.  Can’t go jumping ship after you give your word.

Working a temp job is not what I remember it. Years ago I worked office temp jobs for Manpower. Each assignment had a start date and an end date. The jobs were clear-cut; you sit in a chair and type one letter after another, or post transactions to a ledger, or do inventory adjustments after a physical counts. It was all cut and dry.  Sometimes if the boss took a “shine” to you he might offer you a full time position.  Often those “position” weren’t even worth the breath it took to turn down.

Temp jobs now are more …subtle. Resumes are sent to a prospective client/customer, they look through them, and pick who they want. You could call it a resume beauty pageant. I’ve always wondered what attracts the eye of someone reading a resume.  As the writer of a resume I never know what to include and what to leave out. I guess that’s the tension, the pursued and the pursuer. The real questions is who’s, who.

Temporary work is just so temporary. When I did temp work all those years ago, I remember feeling a sense of insecurity.  Not knowing when the next job would come along, the original employment insecurity. In those days if I didn’t line something up I would go hungry. This time it’s different. I won’t go hungry, even though I could afford to lose the extra pounds. I’m confident the reason this time it’s different is because I have the support of someone who believes in me.  When I start to doubt myself he reminds me I’ve been successful in my career and still have more to contribute. Now if I can parlay that optimism into a real job we’ll be cooking with gas.

One Foot in Front of the Other

I’m in the second week of a two-week assignment for the temp agency I’m with. From all accounts, I seem to be meeting their expectations, dare I say hopes. I don’t know yet if they’ll keep me on after Friday. However, the real million-dollar question is, “Will I be offered a permanent position?” I don’t have an answer to that one. They’re playing their cards pretty close to the vest. What I do know is they are in desperate need of someone. If I’m not the candidate, I hope for their sakes they hire someone with strong organizational skills, otherwise they will be in a major mess sooner rather than later.

This morning walking to the office, it occurred to me every one struggles with employment in one way or another. People are either working to find employment, struggling to keep what they have, or trying to get something new, even President Obama is in that boat.  Currently he’s working to keep his job. If that should not happen he’ll be doing what I’m doing, job hunting. The major difference between us though, is he will be swimming in a much larger pond.

Often I wonder how the long-term unemployed keep their spirits up. How do they keep going. It’s harder than I thought. Perhaps that’s why so many people have fallen off the roles and are no longer being counted. They’ve just stopped looking. Even though I’m doing this temp gig I feel myself being … antsy, maybe even restless. It’s hard to describe. Those that are going through this know what I’m talking about. Why can’t the hiring authorities see what a great, hard working person I am?

This evening I reviewed the several automated responses to postings from last month. They were all short and sweet, “thanks but no thanks”. The military rejection email was the most telling, “Due to the higher than anticipated applicant response to this announcement, only those applicants meeting the Best Qualified criteria were reviewed for consideration at this time.” High response? This country has an 8.9% unemployment rate and they felt the need to point out a high response rate. Duh! And what is Best Qualified?  They only want PhDs? 20 years of experience isn’t exactly chopped liver. I just hafta keep marching. Many years ago a drill instructor in my basic training platoon told us, marching is just putting one foot in front of the other in unison.

So, chin up, chest out, right foot first, hut, two, three, four, hut, two, three, four, “I don’t know but I’ve been told” …

Burning the Candle on Both Ends

Today was my first day working full time as a temp. I’d forgotten how stressful it could be. I’m confident of my skills. I know the work upside down and side ways. Hell I could do it standing on my head, but what I don’t know are the people, politics or the context of the projects. It seems almost everything has a back-story. That sort of thing takes more than two weeks to work out and this assignment is only two weeks long. It makes me chuckle, (to myself) just as I figure out all the subplots I’ll be leaving. I hope whomever they hire really knows there stuff or they’ll never make it past the probation period.

It feels strange being back in the saddle again, and the old neighborhood. Nothing has changed but me.

Now that I’m working temporarily full time, my job search has moved to part time.  Prior to this gig I was dropping my resume almost everywhere. My filter for culling out viable jobs was the word “graphic”. I wasn’t to discriminating. Now that I only have a few hours a night to devote to the search I’m being a lot more selective.  I just don’t have the time to go down the digital rabbit hole of job postings. Right now I have a bunch of resumes out and the postings are just now starting to close. In the next week or so hopefully I’ll start hearing if I am worthy.

To kick things off, I have a phone interview tomorrow at 7:00pm with a government contractor I spoke to more than 2 weeks ago. It’s exciting. I wonder if I should tell them I know how to sew. I can make my own mask and be a stylish beltway bandit.

I never thought I would say this when I quite BoardSource, but I need to be vigilant and not over commit myself. I’ve been on a hiatus for 7 weeks and I don’t want to start burning the candle on both ends like I’ve done before. My matches only just now have dried out.

Hi Ho It’s Off to Work I Went

When I started this blog more than 6 weeks ago I gave myself a tagline that read “The Journey to find Employment”. Although that’s still true, I believe I’ll need to update that tagline to read, “The Journey to find Permanent Employment”.

Yesterday morning I went to work at a job assigned to me by my temp agency. I was there a whole 3 hours. This limited work day was so the exiting intern and department lead could brief me on the scope of work. This assignment is slotted to last 2 weeks. It could go possibly longer if they don’t hire right away and they are satisfied with my work. (Temp to Hire) As I mentioned in my blog post, Is Half an Opportunity Really an Opportunity? I submitted my resume to this organization weeks ago for the posting I’m now temping in. Curious. For the last few months they’ve had an intern, fresh out of college, keeping things going after the “regular” employee left unexpectedly.

Now I know 3 hours at the elbow of someone, prior to a long weekend, with the majority of the staff out, is not enough time to get a good sense for what the culture of the organization is like, however I found the physical appearances of the offices attractive. On the surface the space is lovely, sort of monochromatic with lots of glass, marble, and metal, very clean, polished and professional looking.  It’s in direct contrast to my last organization’s offices. Their suite had more of an industrial, minimalist, circus feel.

According to the intern who briefed me, the work is similar to what I’ve done before and should not be a problem at all. What interests me is that they are looking to do polished and sophisticated materials. With all my experience in printing, and specialty folding and cutting, I’m confident I’ll be able to give them some interesting and fresh looks. I believe they’ll benefit from my knowledge and experience. We’ll see.

For now I’m going to enjoy my Labor Day weekend, respond to any job posting I may have missed last week, and prepare myself emotionally to go back to a 9 to 5 job, for at least two weeks.

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