Great Expectations

I was fired from a temporary assignment, even though I was doing a good job. Since terminating a temp is done easily and without notice, few people consider financial and emotional hardships on the temp. One day I had a livelihood; the next minute I didn’t. I feel like I had been used as a convenience for the managers, who leisurely perused and cherry-picked my replacement while keeping me in the dark about their plans. Because of the covert manner of this recent and other past terminations, I find it hard to trust managers and to bond with my co-workers. I’ve been trying to get out of the temporary job market, but I haven’t found anything to my liking. Do you have any advice?
–A. Leach, Long Beach, California

You want: (1) satisfactory job performance to lead to job security, (2) to bond with coworkers, and (3) to be alerted by your employers of their intention to seek out a permanent hire for your position. In other words, even though you are a temp, you want all of the benefits of holding a permanent position.

The upside of temping includes flexibility, independence, and the chance to gain valuable skills. The drawbacks include a lack of job security and an inability to build long-term relationships on the job — the very things you find objectionable. While temping can be a bridge to permanent employment, the fact that you do good work only justifies employers hiring you. It does not obligate them to keep you.

You are right to try to get out of temping; it seems you are not emotionally cut out for it. However, until you find a permanent job, you need to adopt more realistic expectations.

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