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From the outside, temping can appear to be a daunting experience. However, with advantages galore, it’s definitely a viable option for those starting out in the industry, in between jobs, or looking for a more flexible lifestyle.
We sat down with Ruth, one of our longstanding temps, to get the inside scoop on temping – why she chose to temp, what advantages she’s found and how she prepares for each assignment.
1. Can you provide a brief overview of your professional journey since leaving high school? How did you end up temping?
After leaving sixth form, I went to drama school, where the classes are really intense – and 40 hours a week! On the weekend, I continued to work on my craft (while also trying to recover!), so there was
no opportunity to take on paid work. After graduating, I worked in fashion retail between acting jobs and was very lucky to have incredibly supportive managers who let me work around auditions and performing – but it also gave me quite an unhealthy obsession with designer handbags! At the end of 2015 I was finishing a show with a particularly gruelling schedule and had three jobs booked for the next year, so I knew that my time in retail wasn’t going to be convenient for much longer. I was introduced to the idea of office temping through my boyfriend who works contracts in film and TV. He had a really positive experience with Tiger, so I wrote to his consultant Rosanna and never looked back!
2. Do you have any specialisms within business support temping?
Having lots of customer service experience through retail, I feel naturally drawn to front of house roles.
3. What are the advantages of temping for you?
It’s definitely flexibility. I often get offered permanent jobs on placements and I decline every time because you can’t put a price on how valuable it is to be flexible. When an audition comes in from my agent it can be very short notice so preparing can be a very stressful experience. When you add the angst of feeling that you are letting people down, it’s not a good spot to be in!
. In my profession, it’s also a good way to meet other actors – I have made some great connections through temp jobs.
4. How do you approach and prepare for a new temping assignment? Do you do any research, or have any rituals before starting?
Tiger is really good at sending through a detailed brief with the company website and contact information for who will be meeting you, so I always look forward to receiving that. Planning my journey is the second task and if I’ve not been to the area before, I check out where will be good to eat that day – you never know what office kitchen you’re going to be dealt so I always buy out on my first day at a new place.
5. As with every new workplace, learning about a company’s processes and procedures can take a while! Is there anything you do to make the transition as smooth as possible?
Don’t put pressure on yourself! It’s important to understand that it can take time and nobody is expecting you to walk in knowing their specific procedures – just have an open mind, a positive attitude and take notes. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to! My main advice would be to just get stuck in straight away. Something all temps on reception seem to agree on is the relief of taking ‘the first phone call’; once that’s been dealt with, you feel ready to conquer the world.
6. Are there any skills that you have found particularly helpful when temping?
Most definitely. I’d say the most important is efficiency – if someone gives you a task, do it straight away. The sooner it’s done then it’s another thing you know how to do and it’s out of the way. Communication is also essential – it’s always better to have passed on too much information than not enough. If you already have computer skills then, of course, these are really handy but don’t fret if you don’t – I learnt most of mine on jobs just exploring different computer systems and getting to grips with different software.
7. Are there any challenges in temping?
Each placement has its own challenges, but it’s nothing that can’t be overcome. It makes sense that the more placements you do, the more at ease you feel with new challenges. In the wider picture, it can be difficult to juggle pursuing your main profession whilst committing to temp placements, but with organisation and perseverance with a new routine, it is possible to keep shaping your career whilst paying the bills!
8. In your opinion, what are the most important attributes of a temp?
Confidence, flexibility and positivity.
9. Do you have any advice for those looking to temp?
Don’t expect the agency to know your diary. There are a lot of people looking for work and you want your phone to be the one that rings, so it’s up to you to make sure they know you’re available. Oh, and keep your phone handy!
Interested in temping? Tiger has plenty of temporary opportunities on offer. Get in touch today.