Should I temp?
September 1, 2004 6:55 AM   Subscribe

My job stinks. Although I once felt an affinity for the said industry, I'm at the conclusion that I need a complete change in direction. Is there any answer other than temping in order to get me the income I so very badly need and possibly put me in a space where I can be active and less office-bound? (note: I have a background in Fine Arts). If temping is the only way, what can I expect?
posted by Quixoticlife to Work & Money (8 answers total)
I would suggest law school.
posted by four panels at 7:17 AM on September 1, 2004

I once felt an affinity for the said industry

What's the industry? Spill it. Your quest for meaning begins with being open about the truth of your situation right now. Your username says, to me, that this is, or has been, an issue for you for a long time.

Sorry to get all psychoanalytical, but there's a lot in the wording of your question that's interesting. You say you "have a background in Fine Arts". Are you an artist, or just fascinated by the art world? In other words, do you want to paint/act/whatever, or do you want to curate a museum/manage a theatre?

Why does temping seem like an option to you? All temping happens in offices. Temping won't change the work environment you clearly are not comfortable in, but it can give you an opportunity to take time off between jobs. It will not, generally, allow you a "I only work M-W-F" kind of schedule.

What do you need the flexibility to pursue? How committed to it are you? Do you want to do it because it's your passion, or because it's something you've been exposed to and understand that's not office work?

So yeah, I realize I've answered your question with a ton more, but the context is this- my girlfriend is an actor who has temped, worked in a law firm, and now works retail. Aside from those jobs inherently being soul-sucking, she has a fundamental belief that nothing other than acting will make her truly happy. Why? She's committed.

Unless you already know people in your field that can open doors for you (or you're drop-dead gorgeous), you're in for a lot of being poor and working jobs that are just as crappy as whatever you're doing now. Your commitment to your art needs to be very real to offset that.

If you're simply disenchanted with your industry, have you thought about pursuing things like non-profit (fundraising, art space management)? Yeah, again, the pay's not great, but it'll keep your soul filled with good karma.

Or go to law school. Either way. :)
posted by mkultra at 7:41 AM on September 1, 2004

I've considered MFA programs, but the here and now is income needed. Work now, pay the (new) mortgage, confident juggling act later.
posted by Quixoticlife at 7:42 AM on September 1, 2004

That's deep. I have a facination with the art world, but I've always felt unsure when it comes to pursuing a concentration. For the past five years, I've been involved in metalwork in some way/shape/form, yet the money issue pushed me into a high-pressure industry. Right now, I'm in fine designer jewelry, and I find atmostphere relentlessly repugnant (in a very neo-nazi way). It has me wondering whether I need to take a "breather" and do something soul-liberating for a few months until I can actually formulate a complete thought about who I want to be when I "grow up".
posted by Quixoticlife at 8:03 AM on September 1, 2004

I agree that temping won't make you less office bound, and in my experience it certainly won't make your life a haven of joy while you're doing it.

The problem is that if you capitalise on the freedom it gives you by dipping in and out of work you also find that you're constantly the new person in the office that gets ignored and given all the crap jobs noone else wants to do.

Having said that, it will probably pay the mortgage if you have good typing speeds etc. and as long as you're motivated to carry on following your bliss while you're not at work, it probably would give you a bit of breathing space to decide on what to do next. Just don't get stuck with it as your only source of activity and let it sap your will to move on.

To make it more bearable in the meantime, try looking for temping agencies that specialise in areas you're interested in - I got much more interesting work after I switched to non-profit agencies.
posted by penguin pie at 9:13 AM on September 1, 2004

Find a nice custom frame shop to work in. Pay your dues on the sales floor and worm your way into framing.
posted by studentbaker at 9:44 AM on September 1, 2004

how old are you? go become a nurse. active, and you'll be well employed for life. might even be able to find a hospital to pay for your schooling.
posted by taumeson at 10:37 AM on September 1, 2004

Are you in your mid-20's? You seem to have a lot of generalized "what am I going to do with my life?" anxiety, which is a normal thing at that point in your life. Your comment that "I've always felt unsure when it comes to pursuing a concentration" feeds into it, as does your very harsh-yet-generalized criticism of your job.

IMHO, you're in a malleable point in your life, and are wanting some experience that is going to force some sort of direction upon you. Whether or not you really need a new job, what you need is a mentor.

Are there online communities for your craft? If you sell jewelry (I can't tell whether you sell it or you make it en masse for someone), get in touch with one of your suppliers. Go to a crafts fair and talk to the people who have booths there- my hunch is that most of those folks don't support themselves solely on their crafts, so find out how they do it and keep their lives in balance.
posted by mkultra at 12:19 PM on September 1, 2004

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