A couple of years ago I was going to start a blog called The Tempest about my experiences of temping. I was just out of uni for the first time and had naively leaped arse over tit into the first job that had been offered to me.
In retrospect it was a good experience, and it also looks great on my CV. However, at the time I was learning just what it meant to have the label of being "the temp" in the office. I'm sure I am not the only one who has experienced the swift shock to the ego that going from a relatively smart and successful graduate to an underpaid and underappreciated office-worker provides. If the instability of the temporary contract isn't bad enough (including the nil that gets paid on holidays and sick days), then add the contradictory disdain that fellow colleagues bestow on you for being a smart-arse graduate and for being the lowest in the pay-roll pecking order. It's even more soul-destroying than the job hunt that precedes.
I'm trying to avoid a graceless return to temping, but there is a distinct possibility that I may have to, depending on how the next few months pan out. For now I am enjoying the refreshing experience of my volunteering stint. People respect me, people thank me for my efforts, and people want to take advantage of my skills, even if it is just my vague understanding of how best to display the politics textbooks! Gosh, what a joy it is to be appreciated and to be rewarded with respect.
And this is certainly assisting with the job hunt effort. When I was temping, I found it difficult to go home and feel excited about filling in job applications, or later when I was doing my MSc, to do the necessary reading. Now, after a day of wholesome book-sorting and customer-serving I go home and feel fired up for a bit of skills-matching and profile-writing. Definitely stirred, not shaken.