The Truth About Temping

As a graduate, I’ve found it hard to land a job. Unfortunately, the job market isn’t what it used to be. If you have a degree, they reject you for not having enough work experience and if you have the latter but not the former, you’re equally doomed. Obviously, from this blog, I would like to go into journalism but it’s a tough industry to enter. I have a degree in Italian and Spanish but finding steady translating jobs is hard and I don’t have enough savings to up sticks and move abroad.

So approximately a month and a half ago, I walked into my local temping agency on the high street. It was incredible. It was like the answer to all my questions. I was greeted with smiles and reassurance that they would find me a job. I was assigned my own ‘job mentor’, if you like, a wonderful lady with whom I have an excellent rapport. In fact, in any other walk of life, she would probably be a friend of mine.

Unfortunately, things didn’t start off well. There was a gig in a local small town but I had to have DBS clearance, which took about a month to come through. I was beginning to get disheartened. In a whole month, I had only worked two days.

Herein lies the problem with temping. You have to be the best candidate for the role otherwise you won’t be put forward by the agency. You have to have all your references, CV and any certificates and qualifications up to date. You may get a phone call in the middle of the day asking if you could make it to the office within an hour or two to cover a shortage. You pretty much have to be available on the off chance that you’ll get a call to start work.

Despite all of the above, I love temping. It’s frustrating when you don’t have work because you never know when or where your next gig is going to happen. It’s not a reliable, steady income. But it is a hell of a lot of fun. You do earn more than the person who you’re replacing because temps generally get paid more than permanent, regular staff. Sometimes you’ll only work for a day at an office and other times, you could be working for three months in the same place. I’m kind of in love with the charm of never knowing what’s going to happen next. I think the thing I love the most about temping is the sheer amount of experience you get. You do work in similar sectors in every job but in completely different environments with people from all walks of life. You never know who you may meet! It’s the changing dynamics of every job that I really enjoy. Being thrown into different roles at different companies is really quite thrilling and there’s never a dull moment.  Usually, if there’s not a lot happening when you’re at work, you’re left to your own devices…so basically, I get paid for being on the internet, doing what I’d do at home, except I’m not in my pyjamas and I have to take the odd phone call here and there.

Temping has given me a wealth of experience already and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for me. In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t get on to a grad scheme immediately after graduating. I know that when do get on to a scheme, I’ll have a plethora of skills and experience to help me in any situation thanks to temping!

West London Victim Blaming

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‘Women urged to avoid walking alone following series of sexual assaults in west London’. That was the headline released on 2nd December by more than one news source (this one is from London Evening Standard, read the article here). When I read the headline, I instantly felt sick to my stomach. Why? The headline, used by more than one news source, is a clear example of victim blaming.

In fact, throughout all the pieces, the emphasis is on women not to walk alone because then technically, they’re to blame if they become victim of sexual assault. There is no onus on shaming the attacker or condemning his actions as despicable. There is no warning for potential assailants not to attack potential victims. The blame lies solely with the potential victims.

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I’m sure many will agree when I say that it is beyond disgusting that in this day and age, women are being told to not walk alone at any point in the day because they may be attacked. We shouldn’t have to walk around constantly frightened and we shouldn’t be locked up at home because we’re women and we may get attacked. The slant of the reports actually suggest that if you’re a woman in west London and, now you’ve read what has happened to these women who were assaulted, you then become victim to a horrific crime, it’s your fault because you were forewarned. So as women, are we supposed to stop living our lives, going to work, socialising with friends and such because there is an attacker on the loose? Are we supposed to stay in the confines of our homes, imprisoned for a crime we’re not perpetuating? How about blaming the assailant for the horrific atrocities he has committed against these women instead, catching him and using him as an example to any future attackers that it is entirely their fault if they violate anyone?

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Victim blaming achieves nothing. Actually, that’s a lie. It does achieve something. It achieves oppression. Oppression of the vulnerable, when what they need is protection. The police, who should be protecting those who may come into danger are instead blaming them rather than tracking down those responsible for these sexual crimes. So long as the culture of victim blaming exists, sexual violence will continue to rise because of the reinforced sense of entitlement that society and the media give these attackers and rapists. Society, by perpetuating victim blaming, is excusing and encouraging those committing the crimes. It’s 2014, almost 2015. It makes me wonder what it will take to stop victim blaming, considering that in the 21st century, it is occurring as frequently as ever.