I recently finished up at It Shoulda Been You on Broadway, and it was a tremendously enriching experience. Beyond fantastic. However, I always knew that it was more of a short-term gig, so immediately after opening, that panicky voice in my head began screaming, "MONEY, MONEY, MONEY?!" Yes. How will I make money now?
Enter temping. A glorious option for people like me who are getting married in a month, and cannot fairly commit to a new full-time position. My calendar leading up to May 23rd is actually offensive. Furthermore, I don't know precisely what I want my next career move to be. I have to say, after being at the same job for three years, I'm really enjoying the shifting tides. Dare I say, I'm diggin' the uncertainty?
This spooky professional unknown is very new for me. I am a notorious planner, and usually break out into a patchy neck rash when I don't know my next move. Adorbs, right? However, at this particular fork in the road, I feel that perhaps I need to open myself up to the unpredictability of our fair universe. At least for a few months.
So while I sort out my brain and streamline my various ambitions, temping it is! Here are six little tips that I've learned so far in order to be considered a passable temp (trust me, I do not consider myself an expert temp just yet).
1) Show up early. The most recent company I temped for asked that I show up at 8:45 in the morning on my first day. I showed up at 8:30. Not a big deal, but those fifteen extra minutes gave me the chance to quietly study the reception set-up at this particular company. My lovely trainer needed a few minutes to get settled before taking me on, which was perfect, because by the time she was ready for me, I had a ton of questions. This helped us both breeze through the training period efficiently. I feel that entering a temp gig with your ball-buster hat on is only going to lead to greatness. You want me to learn a new, super complicated phone system before I have my morning coffee? Done. Get at me. Y'know how I did that? Staring at all the doo-dads on the phone console for those extra fifteen minutes I gave myself. BOOM.
2) Never say, "I don't know who that is" when you're answering the phone. Of course you're not going to know who everyone in the company is, but you certainly don't want to seem like you don't. I've learned quickly that the best thing to do is either transfer the call to your supervisor for the day, or take a message. Do not attempt to answer questions you don't know the answer to, and do not assume someone is not an employee at the company just because you don't have that person's extension. Essentially, cover all your bases, and never let on that you have no freaking clue what the CEO's son's name is.
3) Be nice to everyone. Every single person you interact with, be nice to them. Why? Because when your recruitment firm asks for feedback about you, at least if nothing else, people at the company can say you were friendly. Also, manners might get you some free shit. In the last two days, I've been offered free bagels, pizza, and cookies. Um, yes please.
4) Respect that the desk you're working from is not yours. Be tidy. Don't snoop. Don't break into the emergency supply of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups or Excedrin stashed in the bottom drawer. Just don't do it. It's not your shit to take. When you leave for the day, turn off all electronics, throw out any spare post-its littering the desk, and make sure everything looks just as you found it.
5) Take the damn "cheaters" manual. Don't be too proud. You are going to need all the help you can get when being thrown headfirst into a temp gig. You will want all the tabs in all the binders with all the phone numbers and all the policies. You will want all the things. Also, it's probably one of the only times you're allowed to "cheat" without facing any judgment.
6) Embrace the experience. There will inevitably be either new skills for you to learn, or if nothing else, skills for you to brush up on. Even if being a "sub" doesn't seem super glamorous, it's kind of badass. You're in, you're out. You (hopefully) don't sink the ship, and you keep the company coasting a long. Perhaps you make some new connections, or at least a good impression. You become familiar with a new company, and its operations. You make the money you need to survive while you figure out your next big project. So embrace all that. Embrace the beautiful in-between that is temping, and absolutely without question, eat the free food.