When I moved to New York City in January 2016, I worked for two nonprofits during the day, a temp agency in the evenings, and a breastfeeding resource center on the weekends (in hindsight, I was wildly unqualified for one of these).
For those who aren’t familiar, temp agencies are recruitment agencies who work with other companies and fill their open roles (some long-term gigs, some one-time events) with people (like me). When I first moved to New York City, I used the temp agency to fill my evening hours and some weekends. These jobs included things like working coat check at a museum for an after-hours event or working registration at a charity crawfish boil (both real things I did). They were always different but always exciting. I genuinely love the temp circuit. I met great people and experienced industries I would otherwise never work in.
When I got back to New York City in September 2018, after the #SmileProjectRoadTrip, I used the temp agency to find full-time work. These jobs often took me to week-long contracts at companies where I would work on a data entry project or be a fill-in receptionist. Not as excited as a crawfish boil, but it pays the rent. Sometimes, these temp jobs turn into longer or more permanent things. Sometimes, they’re simply a good way to make money while you figure out your next move.
For over a month now, I’ve been working at the same company, Monday through Friday, 9 – 5. I do basic data entry work and, I joke to my roommates that, “I sit in a cubicle and don’t talk to anyone.” A couple weeks ago, I realized that I fit the mopey black and white caricature of someone who goes into work and grabs a stack of paper from the “needs done” pile and works until it’s in the “done” pile at which point it is replaced by another stack from the “needs done” pile. It’s almost never-ending and could appear to be quite drab and boring.
In truth, I genuinely love my boring temp job. The work is straight forward. I can file and organize and work during the entire morning, thinking of my creative endeavors that begin the second the clock hits 5:01. I take a 30-minute lunch break at my desk where I eat my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and read whatever book I’m currently on. I leave at 5 p.m. with zero stress and a whole lot of creative energy that I pour into my side projects when I get home.
There’s nothing overly glamorous or exciting about this temp job but it has been really good to me for these past weeks and I am grateful that things like this exist.
No matter where you are in life, remember that it’s your perspective that matters most. I could choose to see this as a tedious and dreadful necessary means to an end. Instead, I see it as a reliable way to pay rent, a quiet lunch time routine, an outlet for creative energy. I choose to see it as something good.
Everything is a stepping stone – even if you can’t see the full path.