Thursday, 18 August 2011

'Holiday' Blues

Temp: Hello, I know this is really last minute but I only found out last thing last night... I have to go to a funeral on Tuesday - is there any way I can book it as holiday (4.5hrs)? Also whilst I'm here could I book the bank holiday off on 29th August (4.5hrs)? Sorry it's not 4 weeks in advance.

Agency: Apologies but we will be unable to process this request as we are up to maximum hours for the next four weeks. Should you require any holiday after this duration please let us know.

I've been temping for this agency for one and a half years and that whole time I have stayed at the first company they put me with; my hours have fluctuated due to the company's demands but I currently work about 29 hours a week (though I've made it clear to both parties that I need more full time hours which seems to fall on deaf ears). I get £6 an hour and know that for each £6 I get my agency gets at least £3. I don't get sick pay, I don't get automatic bank holiday pay and in May I was told that I now have to give four weeks notice of holiday rather than two. I sent an email today asking for just a few hours holiday on Tuesday but apparently compassionate leave, even when I'm asking to take it as holiday, isn't something they do either. 

Around this day nine years ago, when I went to pick up my A Level results, the Head of Sixth Form took me aside and tried to convince me to go to Brunel University instead of Buckinghamshire Chilterns because it had better prospects. I wonder had I taken his advice would I be where I am today?

My agency doesn't seem to think I'm capable of doing an admin job that I asked to apply for yet most of my time on reception is spent doing admin. And I do my job well - I've been told by the people I work with I'm the best receptionist they've ever had and whenever I go for interviews they tell me they hope I don't get the job because they don't want to lose me. I was 3% off a First in my degree, got good grades from school and have worked in television in extremely high pressure environments but, apart from giving me something to brag about, what does that actually mean?

Maybe I should have got that First rather than a 2:1. Maybe I should have continued to work at QVC, despite the bitchy atmosphere and the bullying I witnessed, because I actually saw what it was like to be paid more than £12k - something that's not happened since.

Oh, the Should 'a', Could 'a', Would 'a's are such easy songs to sing. I am crossing my fingers that the Operations Manager at ITV who gave me glowing feedback about my interview a few weeks ago can find a job for me (the girl who already works there got the job I'd applied for). I can tell you now that I won't let it go in a hurry.

What Happened Next:

My manager had arranged for cover but I had to call her to say not to worry about it and that I'd to have to come in around the funeral just to get a couple of hours pay because the agency wouldn't give me holiday. She said OK but was shocked they wouldn't give me the time off for it. A few minutes after hanging up she called me back and said because of what the company has put me through recently (changing my hours all over the place and back to split shifts) that she would pay for me to go to the funeral. That was really nice of her but what a bloody palava. 

Lesson: NEVER EVER GET WORK (if they can get you any) THROUGH AN AGENCY!

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