Friday, March 25, 2005

Working 9 To 5

Back in December I quit my regular job, when my distaste for it finally overcame my native inertia, and since then I've been doing short-term contract (or 'temping') work. I have done this sort of work on and off, between regular jobs, over the past 10 years and discovered that it's kind of fun. I enjoy the change each assignment brings and the new skills I pick up, and the old skills I get to flex again. A couple of times temp assignments have even led to me getting a regular permanent job.

The only downside is occasional financial insecurity. Lots of short-term assignments can mean that sometimes a week or two can go by between jobs without any work, and most importantly no income. Financial stress is the one sort of stress that I don't deal with all that well.

So my current assignment in accounts at a marine construction company is due to finish on the 1st of April. To complicate matters I'm going away on an 8 day meditation retreat between 16th and 24th April, meaning that I had to try and either swing a two week assignment to fill the gap, or find a long term assignment that wouldn't be bent out of shape by me taking a week's leave just after starting.

Well call it luck, fate or good karma but I received a call from my agency offering me a 1-3 week assignment to start as soon as this one finishes. The client is so desperate for someone who is talented on the bookkeeping software I use (and used to be a trainer for) that they are waiting for me to finish my current assignment. Of course I jumped at the chance, after checking with the Financial Controller that I was still due to finish on the 1st.

Today two of the three Directors of the construction company came in and gave me a glowing review of the job I have done. I mean, glowing. It was almost embarassing. So, despite the fact that the woman whose job I have been doing is returning to work on the 4th (after major surgery) they asked me to stay on for three months. They are even willing to let me go off and do this other assignment I have already agreed to, go on my retreat, and then come back.

The only concern is that they basically laid it all out that I have done a much better job than the woman who normally does it. It worries me that she is going to come back from having a serious illness only to find her 'replacement' still hanging around. I have met her and she is a lovely lady, and she already told me that it has gotten back to her what a wonderful job I have been doing. She was also pretty keen to return to work, and I could sense that she wanted to make sure she would still have a job to come back to. However, I think she has underestimated how much she will be affected by the chemotherapy she starts in a few weeks time, and I think the plan is in part to have me around as a back-up.

I need to work out some of the details with the Financial Controller, who is on leave until the 1st and knows nothing of the three month offer, talk to my agency and think about how to keep the assignment. Without making life any more difficult for this lovely lady, who is already going through a very tough life experience. Interesting times.

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