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Life of a Brightwater Temp

25 Jun 2020

We’ve asked Kate, a full-time actress and part-time Brightwater temporary worker to talk about her experience in temping with Brightwater.

There are lots of myths about the realities of working in temporary roles whatever your profession be it administration, HR, accountancy, engineering etc; it won’t suit your lifestyle or your bank account, that it won’t lead to a permanent position, you won’t get holiday pay or perks, you need to be experienced or that you’ll get very little exposure to decent work while temping. These are simply not true.

How does a person start temping?

The best way to start temp work is to register with a reputable temporary consultancy. Kate returned from NY where she was working and wanted to save up funds to return to the States. Keen to get work (and money) that would be based around her life as an actress, she was first referred to Brightwater by a friend.

“I really wanted to be able to subsidise my income as an actor and a friend in film production recommended temping as a great way to doing that” Kate says.

Why choose a temporary role over a permanent position?

For many, the security of a permanent position is everything. But for a few, the flexibility and benefits of temping far outweigh the attraction of a permanent role. Whether you are working towards a specific goal and just need some extra funds, or you’re a student with time to spare, or someone with childcare issues, temping does provide a great career path. For Kate, it was the flexibility of temping that attracted her first.

“As an actor, jobs and auditions come up at anytime and it’s very difficult to work in another role when you need time off” she explains, “temping gives me the flexibility and the opportunity to manage my time in a way that suits my life and ultimate goal of acting full-time”.

What is temping with Brightwater like?

Temping with any recruitment consultancy does mean signing up with them and advising them of your availability to work as well as your experience. For Kate, it was a thoroughly friendly,efficient and professional process. “I emailed Brightwater with my CV, not sure of what role I could apply for”, she says, “I got a call within a day or so to invite me in for a casual interview with my consultant who was incredible, really friendly and understood my reasons for wanting to temp as well my restrictions on time”

Brightwater’s normal process is that any candidate registering for temporary work comes in to meet with our temporary and contracts team in order to gauge their level of experience and cultural fit. Many of our temp roles are repeat business with clients who need temps for the following reasons:
· Maternity Cover
· Holiday Cover
· Sick Leave
· Help with workload / projects

Our Brightwater consultants must be sure of the cultural fit of the person within the team and whether they’ll be suitable for the company or not.

“I found my consultant to be really personable” Kate says, “she understood that I wasn’t looking for a role that lasted 4 months, I needed to be able to check in with her every week to tell her my availability that week due to my auditions or other work. After two weeks, I got a call, offering me my first temp job with Brightwater. She was really considerate in the work that she was offering me
(a) offering me roles close to the DART which was easy access for me
(b) really pushing for roles in the artistic sector which would offer me exposure to my chosen field as well as valuable network opportunities

I really appreciated this so much!“

How does temping work for you?

Temping works for people in different ways. Kate found it really worked to her advantage. “I came home unexpectedly from New York and wanted to go back but needed funds to do so. I honestly didn’t know you could work like this, eg. check in with someone every week and let them know when I can work whilst still pursuing acting. I’m very thankful for the opportunities it has afforded me”.

What are the benefits of temping?

Temping offers many benefits such as the following:
· Flexibility in duration and location of work
· Good guaranteed salary for duration of role
· Flexibility in times of work – eg during term time for working parents.

Kate hadn’t previously thought about the benefits of temping rather than working in part-time work but she found it worked for her for various reasons. “It sustained my lifestyle in Dublin” she explains, “but it still allowed me to build up savings and supported me during the time it’s taking me to get a visa to return to the States. It also allows me to build a nest egg for when I do set up in New York again. It’s been hugely beneficial to me”

What advice would you give to someone considering temping?

Speaking from experience, Kate has some great advice for people considering temping. · Have a clear realistic idea of what you want from it – funds / lifestyle / exposure to different industries / roles
· Be prepared to work with your consultant – they check in with you but you also have to check in with them. Advise your consultant when you’re available but be flexible
· Explain what companies you’d ideally like to work for and why – this will allow your consultant to really sell you to those firms or similar.

“Some places I worked were incredible” Kate says, “but I wouldn’t have ever thought I could have worked there if it wasn’t for temping with Brightwater”.

What types of companies can temporary staff work for?

The real beauty of working in temporary roles is that you can gain exposure to all sorts of companies in various sectors from small indigenous companies to large multinationals as well as create some valuable networking opportunities for yourself. You can also become a valuable temp commodity for some companies as if you’re reliable and work hard, they’ll remember you when other opportunities come up again in the future. Kate gained some great experience in various different roles.

“Over my time temping, I have worked in about 10 companies” she explains. “Most of the roles were in data input, general administration, front of house roles like reception etc. The companies were varied, I worked in a school, in an animation company which was very social and a large insurer. I would never have thought that I would worked in a hugely corporate environment like insurance but I spent quite a few stints there as they would ask my Brightwater consultant for me first if temporary roles came up. It meant I was familiar with them and the roles / environment which wasn’t as daunting. I’m still in contact with a few people that I worked with from that company”

What kind of networking opportunities does temping offer?

Temping provides a window into that particular company or sector. It can also offer some valuable contacts if you take full advantage of the opportunity to gain insights and networking opportunities. Kate found one temp role to be of huge value to her. “thanks to my Brightwater consultant who really pushed for me to work with artistic companies, I was offered temp work with an animation company” she says, “this definitely created opportunities for me as I was in an industry that wasn’t dissimilar to my acting career. I worked on reception for three weeks and got some amazing advice and leads from one of the directors about voice-over work. That sort of work just gives you some great exposure”.

Why does temping work so well for people?

Temping offers exposure and experience in different industries. If you’re not sure about your career path just yet, it does provide a valuable insight into different sectors and /or roles. For Kate, it is still a means to an end but for other people, it’s a way to test career paths and whether or not you would be a good fit for the company or if the company/sector are a good fit for you. “I have friends that have temped and have got permanent roles out of it” Kate admits, “It’s just a great way of exploring your options but still be in paid employment”

Temping – a way to bring in money without the stress

For Kate, it was the fact that temping was a way to sustain her acting career and that the workloads were manageable without causing any undue stress. “I’ve worked in the arts for years and I always had to supplement my income with other jobs”, she says. “With acting, I always have to be in top form, it does take up a huge amount of energy in planning and preparing for auditions as well as researching for my next role. Temping wasn’t stressful at all. I found it so much easier than working as a waitress or in any other role in the hospitality industry as I could work around my own schedule and never had to find others to cover my shifts if I had an audition. It also meant I always had a salary coming in without having a crazy workload. The people in the companies I temped in were lovely and the workloads were absolutely doable”.

What are the pros of temping?

Kate is fulsome in her praise about the pros of temping. “In my experience, temping worked for me. I didn’t have to fight to get jobs, I was put forward for them by my consultant and the flexibility of the whole process was great. My consultant was always really considerate about my schedule and worked jobs around me. Once I was able to tell them that I had a full month free and would be available to work for that duration. I had no problem in getting work for that time. My consultant would always check in with me to see if it was okay to put me forward for a job and it meant that I had money coming in that would sustain my acting career”.

Temping also offers good money to sustain other interests whilst being flexible about location and duration of contracts. It also may resonate fully for those in the artistic industry for times when job opportunities in their chosen field are quiet. For Kate, it meant she was able to save money for her eventual return to the States as well as fund all the necessary items she needed for her acting. “I was able to pay for what I needed to further my ultimate goals in my career” she explains. “Temping gave me the financial wherewithal to fund acting masterclasses, pay for headshots and additional coaching”.

Are there any cons when it comes to temping?

As with anything, there are pros and cons of temping. If you’re planning for the future, like saving for a wedding, or a mortgage or just want to have a nest egg for the various paths of life, temping may not offer you the security you’re looking for that a permanent role would. It also sometimes means that there are no jobs available for the time or location you’re looking for. Kate found very little flaws in it for her however. “Temping worked for me” she says, “I found it really enjoyable getting new experiences, meeting new people and the change was nice. I was very lucky with Brightwater and my consultant though, they really worked for me in that they always put my personal circumstances first. I have friends who worked as temps for other places and their experiences meant that they were travelling long distances for their temp roles that incurred additional expense. My consultant always considered the location of the role, my own interests and how they would mesh with the company and the role as well as my ability to do the role”.

Do you need to have specific experience to do a temporary role?

As always, certain roles would require a specific level of experience. If it was accountancy for instance, you would need to have a certain level of qualification especially if you’re expected to hit the ground running. The same would go for temp/contract roles in IT. However in business support / general administration roles, skills needed would generally be transferable skills such as the following:
· Computer skills
· Common sense
· Ability to communicate well
· Ability to get on with people particularly if you’re in a front of house role like reception.

In Kate’s case, she had a varied background that included experience in music and the arts, a BA in Psychology as well as a partially completed Masters in Psychotherapy. She had worked in a women’s centre where as part of her job in facilitation, she wrote reports and gained basic administration skills. She’s also computer literate and was able to help with social media management. These are all skills that graduates of any discipline have in abundance.

How does the payment process work when you are a temp?

The normal process would be that your recruitment consultancy would pay you and that the client (the company that you work in) would pay them. For Kate, it was a simple process. “I had to fill in a timesheet every week with my hours” she explains, “it’s then signed or verified by the employer and I then send it to Brightwater”. Submitting timesheets can also be done on line so it’s not an onerous process. “All of the companies I worked for had worked with temp staff before” Kate points out, “so they were well accustomed to the process. It was fairly seamless and I always was paid on time with no hassle or delay. It did help that I could ring Brightwater’s payroll at any time if I had a query with anything”.

Holiday Pay for Temps

Not everyone is aware that if you work in a temporary role, that you’re entitled to holidays. For Kate, it was a pleasant surprise. “I used to waitress and never got holiday pay” she admits, “my consultant sorted it all out for me and it was really a great surprise when I got it the first time”. At Brightwater, holiday pay is discussed at the beginning of each assignment and put through your payroll at the end of your contract.

How do you get paid when temping?

As a temp worker, you usually get paid weekly through payroll. “I am usually paid the following Thursday” Kate says, “that depended on where you worked but usually once you have your timesheet in on time, you were paid the following week on a specific day”.

Would you recommend Brightwater to other people looking for temp work?

Kate would highly recommend Brightwater to other people searching for temporary work. “My experience with Brightwater has been hugely positive” she says. “It has allowed me to be an actor in the way I need to be as well as enabling me to meet new people, have a great experience and earn good money. It also afforded me the opportunity to make valuable connections and contacts in my field”.

If you’re interested in working in temporary or contract roles, contact Brightwater on [email protected] or call 01 662 1000 for more information.