The Hunting of the Snark

26/04/2010

Now I need step #2

Filed under: Snarky — Jeremy Irish @ 07:00
Tags: , , ,

Hi. My name is Jeremy, and I’m a temp worker.

Admitting you have a problem is the first step in all of these recovery programmes, right? I sure hope so, because I do have a problem.

Temping sounded like an attractive option three years ago. My wife and I had fairly well settled in to life in Belfast, but cash flow was negative, my idea of continuing to generate income as a freelance music engraver hadn’t panned out and the presumed automatic compositional inspiration of being in the British Isles had failed to materialise. I needed to get a job quick.

So, what else? I went out and registered with some agencies. It was quite easy, and I had my first couple of assignments before I knew it. The first was truly a temporary contract: two days’ worth of filing. I don’t think I could have stood any more. But then I got some proper administrative work, which was extended, and a finance assignment, which was extended, and so on… up until now. ‘Between’ assignments again. Looking for my next hit.

The big problem with agency work, of course, is that aside from hourly wages, they owe you NOTHING. No benefits, no redundancy package—there’s not even any guarantee while on assignment that they will allow you to go back the next week, the next day, perhaps not that same afternoon.

Now, I do appreciate the agencies that have found me work. They have all, er… found me work. Yeah. And they did pay me what I earned. And two of them have been a pleasure to do business with. I don’t blame them for the non-committal nature of the system; I asked for it, after all.

But to me there’s something even worse than that lack of obligation. More subtle, but with a bigger impact. It’s the jarring sensation of seeing your life pass in front of your eyes over and over and over and over again. Every post is like a mini-career: there’s a search, an application, an interview, a probationary period, the main body of the work and a sort of retirement. (Well, I suppose with agencies, you only need to fill out the ‘application’ once, possibly once a year. But this is offset by the sheer number of agencies you have to register with in a given area to have a good chance of getting a single assignment.)

So it’s bad for my mental health and I really need to quit. Can I just chuck it all in? Not yet. Just one more assignment, then I’ll go back to music. Just one more.

– The Snark

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1 Comment »

  1. […] time. This is a battle that must be fought, which I’ve been losing a lot lately. (I’ve indulged in ranting about it today on my dark-side “mean reds” blog, if you’re […]

    Pingback by The second post « Countermelody — 26/04/2010 @ 14:42 | Reply


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