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How many times do you keep bending over to get screwed?!

The trials and tribulations of being a temporary worker….

I’ve been a temporary contract worker for 5 years and I’m struggling to get a permanent job. I’m sick to the back teeth of hearing people like recruitment consultants, friends, fellow employees & newsreaders tell me that there “are plenty of jobs out there” or that “the market is buoyant”. Sorry to break it to you people but that is bullshit! The market is buoyant with contract positions but how many of the permanent jobs advertised actually exist?

Agencies seem to only care about the big fat commission they get. Unfortunately they are a necessary evil in that if you don’t use them you can’t get a job. So many consultants place you in a temp job & tell you that it’s a six month contract with ‘a view to perm’ but they can’t guarantee that — after the six months their client fills the role internally anyway!

In an article published in the Irish Times by Colin Gleeson on Mar 18, 2016 he states the following: “The rise of the “contingent worker” is an international phenomenon. The US government estimates 40 per cent of its workforce is now made up of these employees, who are effectively anyone without a permanent position, including freelancers, contract workers and consultants.”

Well there you go — two years later, nothing has changed. It’s still an employers market!

Temporary workers are not respected or taken seriously (I know I’m NOT the only one who feels this way!) I’ve worked as a Personal Assistant for 20 years & in so many cases I’ve felt like a ‘stop gap’ to fill in while the company finds the person they really want in the role (usually internal).

Each time you add a temp job to your resume, it makes it twice as hard for you to get a permanent job because prospective employers assume that you won’t stay. They really don’t care that this isn’t your fault and they fail to see that it’s just the way the market currently is. The competition for permanent jobs is fierce!

I’m currently working at the Health Service Executive in Dublin having been placed there by an agency. I accepted a six month contract with ‘a view to perm’ but after just 4 weeks into the role, I’ve been given 2 weeks notice by my boss! A PA from another office within the organization will be transferring into this role. They don’t even need to go through an interview process because it’s just a skills match.

Understandably I was completely shocked & devastated at hearing this news. The HSE get away with this because as a temporary worker, they only need to give me a week’s notice! The agency did not offer me a contract to sign which was very convenient for the HSE.

When I spoke to the agency about what happened they were as shocked and angry as I was! They never had this experience before with this client and when they contacted them looking for answers, all they got were abrupt replies. The bottom line is that my boss just wanted to suit herself and get someone permanent into the role before she took off on her 2 week holiday. This internal recruitment process was going on in the background and the agency wasn’t even aware of it!

Of course it makes it easier for her if she doesn’t have to go through the time consuming and expensive recruitment process in a few months time. I’m just left to go out into the big bad world and search for another job!

The Irish Government needs to take serious action to put pressure on employers to offer more permanent jobs to jobseekers. The recession is over and there is NO excuse.

Agencies need to offer more protection to temporary workers to prevent their clients from screwing people over like this because this isn’t acceptable at all! It certainly isn’t a deliberate career choice to take a temporary contract, it’s the only option when you aren’t offered a permanent position.

No one wants be stuck in a vicious circle of temporary contracts and be unable to escape. It might be ok while you are in your twenties and gaining experience. In your thirties and forties it’s a different story altogether. You can’t plan for your future on a six month contract and you aren’t eligible to apply for a mortgage either. It’s a never-ending vortex that you struggle to climb out of. Temporary work becomes a permanent way of life for many people.

However the only solution is to keep the chin up as they say, struggle on and hope for the best. Everything happens for a reason and I believe a fantastic permanent job is out there waiting for me, I just have to find it!

Writer, artist, fashion & travel blogger, former cabin crew. Dublin, Ireland. Creator & editor of:

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