Temp jobs are the blind dates of the employment world

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

Blind dates seem to serve as great fodder for romantic comedies on TV and in movies. I’ve only ever been on one blind date myself. It’s not my cup of tea (but I don’t actually drink tea). This week has brought me my first temp job experience. It is a ten month contract working for a research and development department of a pretty well-known beverage producer. I signed a lot of confidentiality agreements, so I don’t know if I can even mention the name of the place publicly like this, so I won’t. I’m sure it would be fine, but isn’t it more fun for me if I pretend like it’s super secret? You don’t have to answer that question. But feel free to if you’d like.

It was this new working experience that led me to draw a connection between blind dates and temp working. Allow me to explain. What a useless phrase, of course you’ll allow me to. I’d explain even if you don’t, not because I don’t respect your opinion, simply because in a blog if you decide you don’t want the writer to explain, you just change the page. Perhaps I’m still recovering from my midweek agony and hydrocodone haze related to my kidney stone experience. Perhaps I shouldn’t be writing anything yet. I’m going to do it anyway.

When a person applies for a job they have an idea of what the position demands and what the employer expects from the potential employee as far as knowledge, skills and abilities. The applicant introduces his or her self through a resume and cover letter. The employer introduces itself through the use of job postings and a company website. At the interview, each party has a working concept of the other party. The employer asks the candidate questions. The candidate asks the employer questions. Each increases their knowledge about what is expected of and what can be provided by the candidate.

Isn’t that sort of like a regular date? Two parties meet and develop interest. The interest is cultivated through finding out about each other. But this doesn’t happen with a blind date, does it? Typically a blind date involves a third party that is at least superficially acquainted with each of the potential dating parties. The third party acts as a liaison, trying to find a good fit between the other parties.

The blind date situation sounds more like a temporary employment situation. In my case, I applied for a position with a staffing agency. I met with a recruiter and explained what I can do and what I’m interested in doing. A few days later the recruiter called me and offered a position that might be a good fit for me. I was given a very brief description of the job and being desperate for a paycheck, I took it. I guess that fits with the dating analogy, too. In some cases.

When I arrived for work on my first day I found that the description related to me by the recruiter was accurate, however short it had been. Short in some important details, but those wouldn’t have really changed my interest in the job, so I guess it’s fine. The point is that I didn’t know what I was really getting into, and that’s what a blind date is like.

Temporary employment brokers, or staffing agencies, are great helps when you are struggling to find a job with traditional efforts, meaning going it alone. The same is true with dating, only substituting a friend for the staffing agency. Then again, maybe a staffing agency could be just what you need if you are having as much trouble finding a date as many people are finding jobs these days.

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About paulbrodie

I am a writer and a musician. My education is in psychology with emphasis in industrial/organizational psychology. My work experience has been primarily with electronic document management. Academically and intellectually I am interested in criminology and sociology. I am married to my favorite person in the world and we have one daughter.
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5 Responses to Temp jobs are the blind dates of the employment world

  1. Ann Kilter says:

    My son works for a giant computer corporation. He won’t tell us anything about the clients….strictly forbidden.

    • paulbrodie says:

      I respect the need for client confidentiality, but it does make me wonder if in my current case, one day we’ll have armed militants raid the building looking for top secret beverage formulas. One of the employees was explaining the process of the sensitive material trash process. They have a separate trash removal service for sensitive material, in addition to paper shredding services. This one is just for food product. So he tells me this and I ask “who are the competitors that might want to steal your garbage” and he couldn’t think of any. This company is at the top of their game and still employs these strict confidentiality methods, so then we agreed that the confidentiality methods must be working well. It all makes sense, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make fun of it!

  2. Ned's Blog says:

    First, I love the title of this post, Paul. I laughed out loud — perfection, and so true. Second, the good thing about the Temp date is that, if it’s not going well, you can at least get an exit interview to find out what went wrong. When a date goes wrong, all you get is a view of the exit.

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