A Few Things I’ve Learned From Temping Over The Years:

-DON’T BELIEVE ANYTHING A TEMP AGENT TELLS YOU ABOUT A JOB.
Temp agents sound breathlessly excited about every job they offer you. It’s THEIR job. When they tell you that the company is wonderful and all the people in it are amazing and they are looking for someone who is a real go-getter and takes initiative and wants to go places, the job is going to be like every other temp job you have ever had: demeaning and boring. With occasional flashes of lousy and soul-crushing. And no room for advancement, not that you’d want any.

-SERIOUSLY. DON’T LISTEN TO THE AGENT.
I have had an agent tell me that a certain company “Is always looking for new people– they really love people”. As opposed to all those companies that hate people? Honestly. What the hell does that mean? It means there is a high turnover rate for temps because no one can stand to do that job for more than a few weeks before they flee screaming into the day.

-A TEMP AGENT WILL NOT LISTEN TO WHAT YOU WANT. THEY WILL ONLY HEAR WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR.
If you tell them you are looking for a small, non-profit office in which you do a job that you feel helps people (because you are an idealist and a fool) they will offer you a job in the call-center of an enormous hospital. If you tell them you are looking to work a temporary job in a field related to publishing (re: idealist/fool), they will suggest a permanent placement in a field where your job is to figure out the best way to ship packages from one part of the country to another. “After a couple months of training, of course. Really, I think that would be the perfect job for you. Shall I send them your resume?”

-IF A TEMP AGENT ASSIGNS YOU TO A PART-TIME JOB, ‘JUST UNTIL THEY CAN FIND YOU A FULL-TIME JOB’, RUN.
They will NOT find you a full-time job while you are working for them part-time. Why should they? They can make more money by keeping you in the crappy four-hours-a-day job nobody wants and offering up the full-time jobs to other people. So, screw you! Even though they’d been calling you three times a day with jobs before they placed you, they will suddenly stop cold. They will not return your calls. When you do get ahold of them, they will tell you they can’t find ANYTHING. This will continue until you either starve to death, or quit the part-time job, at which point they will start calling you three times a day with jobs again.

-DRESS CODES ARE NOT ALWAYS STRICTLY ENFORCED ON TEMPS.
I have friends who have temped at places who have given them trouble for the way they came in dressed for work. But I have sashayed in wearing jeans and cowboy boots and nobody has ever given me any trouble. I suppose this is not as hard and fast a rule as the others.

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