Monthly Archives: August 2013

The Advantages of Temping

I spotted this article on the the Sue Hill Recruitment blog (they often discuss some interesting topics!) about getting a foot in the door at an organisation by taking on a temporary role.

I wanted to add my thoughts; I know without a doubt that I wouldn’t be where I am now without taking a chance on a part-time temporary job.

My only previous experience in libraries was as a volunteer, in my school library as a Student Library Assistant and a couple of months in my local branch library after I finished University.

I was working in a shop in 2009 after being made redundant from my previous job, and I was employed on a nil-hours contract (which are being discussed a lot lately, but I had a good boss which made a big difference!) I don’t think I would have taken the chance otherwise; I certainly wouldn’t have left my previous full time permanent job for a part-time temporary one! (I actually did both jobs, between the two I had full time work).

As I neared the end of my temporary contract one of my full time colleagues left for greener pastures and I applied for her job, thinking it was worth a chance if only because there wasn’t additional hours available in the shop! I got it – and I was thrilled. I hadn’t decided at that point if Libraries were a long term plan for me, but I had a full time permanent job and with a lot more security than nil-hours contracts offer!

I loved my job and the more I invested in my CPD the more I knew I was on the right track for me, and I started working towards my ACLIP Certification, intending eventually to do my Chartership. Twelve months later a position came up at my NHS Trust’s other site as a Senior Library Assistant and again I thought it was worth a chance, after all I had an extra 12 months experience on my CV! I got that as well, and even better someone who was working on a part-time maternity leave contract got my full time permanent position, so it was a win-win for both of us!

I will never doubt the ability of temporary work, or voluntary work, to give you an advantage when applying for jobs, maybe you just want experience in a different library sector, or maybe you want a foot in the door at a particular library/organisation, it is very useful, and definitely worthwhile.


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Sharing Practice

Last week I posted on my Library’s blog about our Healthcare Assistants Training half-day, in order to advertise the last few spots available for the session we ran on Tuesday.  This was the third such session we’d run in about 12 months and we’ve always had positive feedback about the session and it’s content.

On Tuesday, shortly after the session finished I was surprised to see an automated email from the blog about a comment being made on my blog post – we have a good level of subscribers to the blog but, with the exception of the book club posts, very few comments are made. It wasn’t from an attendee, as I originally suspected, but a librarian in Hampshire who was considering running a similar session for their Healthcare Assistants, and who wanted to know more about what we did.

As her email was including in the comment header info (NB this is not publicly visible, we use WordPress for the library blog, the same as this site) I sent her an email with a brief overview of what we included and a copy of the session plan. We had a nice, if  brief, conversation by email. The information I’d sent her was what she’d had in mind for her own session, and she appreciated that not all HCA’s would be comfortable with computers which I had warned her about. She also said they were planning to target some training at nurses, so I’ve asked if she can send me some information about this when they finalise it, as we’ve been thinking the same thing.

I’m recounting this because it occurred to me that we make a point of sharing good practice – we tell the world about what has gone really well, and what we’ve won awards for – but we don’t always tell people about the stuff that’s gone wrong, which other people can learn from too – or even the stuff that’s in the middle. Yes, we’ve had good feedback for our Healthcare Assistants course, but it wasn’t too far from our ‘standard practice’ that we felt the need to shout about it – maybe we should be?

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