The life of a temp

On just a regular Monday I got a call from a temp agency that I have done some work for in the past.  They wanted to know if they could put me forward for a position, I said why not.  I think the whole world knows that I have been on the lookout for new opportunities.  The following day, half an hour before I was to head to my usual job, I got a phone call to say that the company wanted me and I was to start on Thursday. The only problem was I already had a job, although I had only been getting limited hours, I think my employer was still expecting me to work for them.

With my resignation letter in hand I approached my supervisor who didn’t think it was necessary for me to resign and that I could just take leave without pay.  It was very kind of them. However I did warn them that I may not return, they didn’t seem to mind.

The life of a temporary staff member is interesting.  The new work conditions, the personalities and team dynamic. These are some of my recent adventures.

  • I have been laughed at.  Apparently I am really bubbly and have lots of energy and that’s funny in a good way….  Looking around my office I could see how one may think I have been sprinkled with a little crazy dust.  How dare I come to work happy and stay that way for the whole day  😉
  • I have experienced one-upmanship.  I let the baby have their bottle, but in my head I was singing ‘Anything you can do, I can do better’. ha ha
  • I have been given the crap jobs that no one wants to do, but that’s pretty standard for temping.
  • I have been allocated work from the student who is currently studying to obtain the qualification I achieved 10 years ago.  I was offended for a second and then remembered I was being paid contractor rates.  If the organisation thinks that this is the best use of my time, then I’m not going to complain.  That’s money for jam.
  • Within 5 days I was drawn into office politics. I was asked to redo  work done by someone else and wasn’t allowed to tell her because she will get upset.  I warned that this was only going to end badly.
  • There are so many chiefs. Everyone other than my supervisor has an opinion on what I should be doing.
  • People who talk the talk but can’t walk the walk.  I love to talk and walk 😉
  • I have not heard from my contracting company, but that’s not a surprise. They have their money from the client.
  • I have never worked anywhere where the hours have been so flexiable. Leave early if you want too, if you can’t work 38 hours that’s ok. We don’t need to know the days you are working, we will know when you turn up.

Overall I have been pretty lucky. All of my temp positions have been good placements with great co-workers. I currently feel a little under utilised, I could really tighten up some of their processes for them. I guess it’s hard for an organisation to trust someone with the hard stuff when they know very little about me. I should probably be careful what I wish for.

The words that are difficult to say

I haven’t really told anyone.  My husband told his parents, I told my employer and mentioned it to a friend in an email as a way of explaining why I didn’t want to commit to catching up.  I’m not opposed to telling people, but it’s like I can’t physically get the words out, my body won’t let me.  That being said I told my brother and sister.  You have no idea how hard it is to say the word Cancer when it means something to you.  Someone I love has the Big C.

I quite often get referred to as a strong person or a rock. I think I have always been mentally tough. On personality tests I rate low in emotion, so maybe that has something to do with it.  Or maybe it’s because I tackle issues head on because I don’t want them to linger. Or maybe it’s because I had good role models.  I come from a line of tough women who endured more than I could ever imagine and came out on the other side still standing and ready to fight again. I’m a believer in doing whatever you have to do in order to survive. My mental toughness is being tested, but I’m hanging in there.  Mums are special people.  I remember when I was a kid we would all get colds, but my mum never did.  Her explanation was that I am too busy to get sick.

I have entered this strange world. A co-worker whose father in-law was recently diagnosed with leukaemia told me that it is always there, the cancer.  Even when you think that you are not thinking about it, it is there in the back of your mind.  It’s like being followed around by a cloud.

My adult gap year, my year of discovery doesn’t seem so important anymore.

For the first time in my life, I’m on the Naughty List

Throughout my life I have always tried to do the right thing.

I have always tried to arrive on time at school, work and functions.  I’ve never taken a sick day when I wasn’t really sick.  If anything, I would go into work even though I was feeling very ordinary.   I have always met deadlines and continued working until the job was done, regardless of whether I was being paid. My previous employers would all describe me as being very hardworking, loyal and reliable. One of my previous Manager’s would consistently tell me not to work so late, because it wasn’t worth it.  Somewhere along the way this year, I wandered off my straight and narrow track and have found myself on the Naughty List.

Maybe it was when I took time off work because I was bored and went and contracted for another company for a week.  Or maybe it was because I went into work one day and told my Team Leader that I was enrolled in fulltime study and my availability for work was very limited. Or maybe it was because a week later I went back to my Team Leader and advised I was now studying part time and I could work pretty much whenever.

I have seen my colleagues that I started work with back in April excel.  Receiving increased hours, opportunities for training and advancement.  My hours have seriously declined over the last 6 weeks.  There was a time when I was working almost fulltime hours even though I was a casual, but that has all changed now. I am being consistently rostered for 30 hours a fortnight.  The job I have found to be really boring has become even more dull.

The other week I received a call from a temp agency wanting me to do an assignment working 2 days a week for a 4 week period.  I politely declined because I thought that I should be a bit more loyal to my current employer.  I was really annoyed at my self when I went back into work and found yet again, I had only been rostered for 2 days a week.  I should have taken the temp job, clearly I had the availability.

I have asked my Team Leader a couple of times about my hours.  I thought that my changes in availability would affect my roster initially, but I had hoped it would settle down.  I have had consistent attendance and availability for the last 5 weeks and my hours haven’t change.  I approached my Team Leader about the Naughty List but apparently it doesn’t exist. I was told that if my performance was truly an issue I would be taken to a small office down the back ‘for a chat’.

There may not be an official Naughty List, but I feel there is a mark against my name.  I know that I have brought this on myself, but maybe this has all happened because I applied for a job that I was never destined to enjoy.  It was never going to be exciting or busy enough. I have far too much energy to sit around waiting for a customer to call.  Most people would enjoy the quiet time at work, but it drives me nuts.

This is my year of discovery and I have discovered that quiet office jobs are not for me.

#8 of 32 My first writing competition

Entering a writing competition is on my list of New Things to do this year. I have been looking for the past few months for a competition that interested me.  I was looking for something that would either suit a piece I had already written or would be a topic that I would like to write something new about, but I couldn’t find anything.

On one Sunday afternoon, I was checking my twitter feed and came across a tweet about The Shortest Short Story Competition this side of Australia

The competition was up to its third and final round and was due to close that day, 21 July 2013 at 11.49pm.  The competition required the submission of a short story, less than 49 words and must contain the signature word ‘Apple’.

The competition sparked my interest, but I had other plans, so I went about the rest of my day.  It wasn’t unit 11.30pm that night, that I thought maybe I should enter the competition, it’s only 49 words. After a brief hesitation, I entered.

My piece wasn’t special. I didn’t win, which was no surprise. I’m not a brilliant creative writer and I need to work on my grammar, but it was enough for me to enter.  It made me feel inspired. This is my little piece.

I dream of something more, I can’t wait anymore. 
My bag is packed, an apple in my hand, I’m on my way.
I journey into the unknown.
I can’t see where I am going and that is okay. 
Life is an adventure and I’m going for it.

If I had my time again, my story would be different. I had fun entering and I enjoyed reading some of the finalist’s pieces.  I learnt a lot by reading other entries and the judge’s comments. I will enter another short story competition at some stage. Hopefully I will give myself more time to respond and perhaps create a story that is a little longer.

Am I the only one without an end plan?

Starting a patisserie course has sparked many questions from the gallery.  Everyone wants to know what I am going to do when I finish my course.  Most people are not satisfied with my response when I say that I don’t know.

Questions like ‘You must have some idea?’ or ‘Why are you doing it then?’ have been thrown my way.

I am beginning to wonder whether most people have an end plan.  Do most people plan their lives, get jobs, and enrol in courses knowing exactly where they are headed?  Am I in the minority by not having an end plan?

My reluctance to plan out my life has brought me to this year, my year of discovery. It is likely that my go with the flow attitude will mean that at the end of my year, I may still not have an end plan and maybe I never will.

My lack of planning is intentional.  I want to leave myself open to experience everything that life has to offer and take advantage of opportunities that come my way.  I’m not sitting on the couch all day receiving an unemployment benefit, I’m keeping busy.

I work 4 days a week. I do yoga, boxing and running. I have one midweek class and an all day Saturday class.  I’m also trying to finish my agents representative course, keep up to date on social media and trying stay in touch with friends and family.  I’m also in the process of looking for a new job, because my current job is not challenging enough and I’m bored.  Sometimes I feel like I’m doing everything and nothing.

It’s possible that I will work in the hospitality industry when I finish my course, but then again I might run away and join the circus.  Anything is possible.

I guess when I think about it, my end plan is to survive and to get to the end of my life having lived the best possible life I could.


#7 of 32 It’s Yoga time!!

Yoga is something I thought would be good for me.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned that relaxing is not part of my usual routine.  I realised recently, that if I am at a loose end and have nothing to do, I can be a real grumpy pants. So maybe I should learn to relax.

For years yoga had been recommended to me to assist with back and neck tension. I have many friends who love yoga and for about 6 years I avoided going to a class.   I always avoided yoga because I thought that it’s just not my thing.  I don’t know how I came to this conclusion because I knew nothing about it. So I added it to my list of new things for 2013.

I should probably mention that part of my reluctance in going to yoga was my perceived lack of flexibility.  Once upon a time (more than 10 years ago), I did a fitness test.  The results showed that my level of flexibility was so poor it did not even appear on the scale for females, my flexibility was considered to be very poor for a male. My flexibility was probably never helped by my defiance against having to stretch.

With age and my level of activity increasing, stretching in the last few years has become no longer a choice, but a necessity.

With the help of social media, I sourced some local yoga classes.  I ended up in a class where a friend is the instructor.  She gave me an easy out, telling me to come along and try it and if I didn’t like it, she wouldn’t be offended if I didn’t come back.  I took another friend with me for moral support, but in reality I would have gone on my own, but I thought she would enjoy it.

It wasn’t what I had expected, it was so much more. I really enjoyed it. The lights were dimmed and the room and was warm.  I started off a little shaky. It was so quiet, my breathing was all over the place and I struggled to balance.  I wanted to laugh out loud at myself, I had to calm down and relax.

By the end of the class I had felt a release.  The tension and stress of the day had gone.  I was relaxed and feeling sleepy.  The next day I didn’t feel like myself, the tension through my shoulders and jaw wasn’t there.  It was a strange feeling.

I have since been to a second class. I’m getting a lot out of the class and seeing improvement in myself, but I still have a long way to go to get the most out of yoga.  It takes me a while to get into the class, to get centred, to calm my breathing and to focus.  It’s hard to switch off my mind and forget the million things I need to do. I think yoga is good for me, so I’m going to continue trying.

#6 of 32 the romance novel

On a normal day, I am far too restless to sit quietly and let the world pass me by.  But when I am in the mood, I really like to read. When I get absorbed into a good story, I cannot be disturbed; this is when I feel truly relaxed.

I do not read literary masterpieces. I find it hard to get my lips around the language and I like to speed read. Even when I’m relaxing, I need to get the book over and done with quickly.

This time in order to achieve another new thing, I decided to leave my comfort zone and leapt into the imaginary romance world of a Mills and Boon novel. I read The Captain and the Wallflower. I didn’t search for hours looking for a gripping synopsis that I could not pass by, but instead made my decision based on cost. The Captain and the Wallflower was the cheapest book in the romance genre I could find.

I would not describe myself as a romantic. I don’t need a man to take care of me, I would not describe myself as a damsel in need of rescuing or have ever dreamt of being swept off my feet by a handsome prince (although I do have my very own prince). I’m more comfortable with action in my life and on the page.

What I enjoyed about the book is that it was an easy read.  I read it in an evening.  There was a story, some romance and a few steamy scenes, but nothing in the league of 50 shades. I became sucked into the book.  The more I read, the more I wanted the lead characters to fall in love.  This made me frustrated. Of course they would fall in love and live happily ever after.

So it’s done.  I read a Mills and Boon romance novel.  I didn’t find it painful to read and I have no grand plans to read another, but I discovered that maybe I am a little bit of a softy at heart.