Temporary state of being

Some days I don’t mind being a temp, because there’s a certain freedom to not being in charge of projects or of much planning. (I do a lot of the “grunt work”; other people, mostly permanent employees, plan and organize and track progress.)

But other days it’s a source of worry. Am I doing enough? Should I be more ambitious and ask my supervisors if they want me to take more responsibility? If I did so, would I be considered a candidate for permanent employment? Or would I simply be taking on more responsibilities with little reward? Do I want to be employed there permanently?

It’s not a bad place to work, but, like all places, it has its drawbacks. Some of them are simply personal. For instance, I frequently feel awkward being one of the oldest in a non-managerial position. I’m in a cubicle; at my last job I had an office with a door. And my cubicle is the closest to the freight elevator door, which means I often have to deal with (or choose to ignore) delivery men who pound on the door throughout the day, too impatient to wait for the guy whose job it is to accept deliveries. The door also slams loudly nearly every time it closes. I work in medical education and marketing, so the material requires a good deal of concentration to make sure it is accurate. To say that I do not appreciate interruptions is an understatement.

I have no issue with any of my coworkers. I find them all rather nice, although, to be honest, I have not made much of an effort to make friends. I started this position late last September with the idea that I’d be there just till the end of the year. The work never slowed down, though, and I stayed on and stayed on until late April. At that point, I was “laid off” indefinitely and went back on unemployment. I thought I would not be coming back. Sometimes temp agencies will tell you a company doesn’t have enough work, when really they don’t have work for you, specifically.

In July they called me back. My freelance editing work has been fairly steady, but I felt it was still too unpredictable to turn down a full-time, albeit still temporary, position. Back I went, facing the same situation as before: Do I request a different cubicle—there was one available, but it was right next to mine and I wondered if I were being petty and silly by asking to move one position in. Do I ask them to consider me for a permanent position? Perhaps a half-time position? Should I ask a coworker to lunch, reach out and get to know people? Even if I don’t stay there and never see them again, there’s nothing wrong with having lunch. I think the reason I haven’t yet is that at lunch I often just want to have alone time.

The cubicle next to mine was occupied by a new temp employee last week; I had hesitated too long. I still may ask someone to lunch. Who knows what will happen? I keep doing my work—with much diligence and skill, but perhaps not that much enthusiasm. Am I petty and resentful sometimes? Yes, and I realize that I should try harder to improve my circumstances. Right now, regretfully, I’m unmotivated to determine which direction to take.

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Visit my professional website: Arzooman Editorial Services

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