6 Temping Tips:

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.

How to Train Your Dragon...Er, New Employees:

I'm lucky to have a job in theater. Of course I wish the job was full-time writer, but while I work towards that goal, I have a pretty cool gig in the meantime. A gig in Customer Service, which y'know, sometimes makes me ashamed of the human race, but still. Beggars can't be choosers. 

I've been at my job for a while now, and I've climbed my little ticketing ladder and procured a management position that requires me to train new employees in all things Box Office and Guest Relations. I like to think I'm a pretty great trainer (I've had a lot of experience at this point), and I've amassed a few tips on how to make your new team member feel comfortable and confident throughout the training process. 

1. Be Relatable. I'm a young-ish person, and I've trained people that are younger than me, and people that are older than me. However, I've never let my age determine the way I treat people that I'm training. It would do me no good to cower in the face of a person with more life experience - if I'm intimidated by a new employee's professional history, how can I objectively and successfully train that person? Similarly, if I treat a younger person like a naive baby who's never had a job before - first of all that's rude and ignorant, and secondly - that will inevitably instill unnecessary anxiety in the new employee. Best approach to training all walks of people? Establish a comfortable, but appropriate dynamic right off the bat. Crack a few jokes, appear confident yet relaxed, ask the new employee a few innocent questions (Where are you living in NY? How long have you been here? Fro-yo or ice cream?), and absolutely smile. No one likes learning from an Ice King or Queen. You are a real person. Act like one. 

2. Be Enthusiastic About Mundane Tasks. Every single job on the planet (including awesome jobs like braiding Jennifer Lawrence's hair) can be a little bit tedious, a little bit dull, a little bit frustrating - that is just part of the work world period. No exceptions. However, when you're training a new employee, it is imperative that you make these monotonous tasks appear insanely fun and all "Wow, look at that brain power, use that critical thinking, alright you frickin' genius you!" This thrilling attitude will trick your new employees into thinking they're a) using the total sum of their mental capacity and b) that qualifying ticket orders, creating spreadsheets, scrubbing the toilet - it's all fuckin' scintillating! 

3. Don't Pretend You Know Things You Don't. If you don't know how to use the copy machine, don't train the new employee on the copy machine. Politely give that job to a more competent fellow associate. P.S. All people should know how to use a copy machine if over the age of 18, but I think you get the basic gist of this bullet. 

4. Encourage Them to Ask for Help. In my opinion, this one is supremely important. I would rather have a new employee ask me a question every two seconds as opposed to making ill-conceived assumptions in regards to the job, and then subsequently making a ton of mistakes. Of course I want you to feel empowered in the position, to be an independent thinker, but I don't want pride or fear to cloud your judgment and put you in professional situations you're not yet prepared to handle. Always ask for the big H. Also I mean if you're an employer and you just presume your new staff member instantly arrives at the job like some cyborg who should never ask questions or seek guidance, then you are (pardon me) a real asshat. 

5. Take Breaks. You need a break. The newb needs a break. Just to pee, grab a coffee, pet a dog, take a phone call, whatever. Even a simple fiver is sufficient, and will help greatly in keeping you both focused as you trudge through your training sessions. 

6. Give Helpful Hints, but Don't. Talk. Shit. Don't cheat the new employee of valuable inside scoop that will inevitably help him or her succeed in the role. For example, if the head honcho likes his or her coffee with two Splenda, make sure the newb knows that. Similarly, if the head honcho hates the phrase "Just a second," the newb should know that as well. It's called being a generous supervisor. You're not only protecting your newb from unwanted scrutiny, but you're also protecting yourself. However, don't make the newb privy to catty office gossip or attempt to negatively influence his or her opinions about fellow staff members. This will simply cultivate a segregated, unkind work environment. Essentially, if you don't have something nice to say, don't fuckin' say it. Unless the newb reaches your shared opinion about a peer on his or her own, then go out to drinks and have it at. 

7. Possess a Bottomless Well of Patience. Or as others might say, "make the charitable assumption." Just because you've done these tasks a million times doesn't necessarily mean they're rocket science. Perhaps you're not giving yourself enough credit, perhaps the dots aren't as easy to connect as you think. Don't automatically assume your newb is slow. Instead, maybe recognize your job isn't the most obvious, and that it will take some time for your newb to become as proficient as you are. You had a learning curve too, by the way. Don't forget where you started and where you are now. I bet you were super appreciative of the people that showed you patience when you were a new. So pay it forward. 

Alright, that's all I got. Now go train your dragon!