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How to treat your office temp

OPINION

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February 13, 2014|By Charne Graham, @88nae88 | For RedEye

It happens to the best of us. You spend a tremendous amount of money on a college education and when you finally walk across the stage, you're officially a part of the "real world."

If you're anything like me, you thought earning a bachelor's degree would mean a gateway to a job making big bucks right away. I couldn't have been more wrong, but thankfully I received a call from a temporary staffing agency.

It won't be too long before I do make that grand entrance to a permanent and full-time job, but until I join those ranks, I have a few tips for permanent employees who have temps in their offices.

1. Remember our names

No one wants to be called "Hey you" or "Excuse me," especially after being on assignment for a few months in a small office. It's a common courtesy, and the temp will feel less like a number if you take the time out to remember a name before you ask for assistance.

2. Never assume

Underestimating the abilities of someone in the workplace can be a downfall for the team. If you just assume that the temp is good only for stuffing envelopes or making coffee, then you'll never give that person an opportunity to flourish. The temp was booked to work with the company because he or she has an exceptional amount of skills and an impressive resume. Temps are not just paid interns or working for college credit. A temp could even teach you something on a software program or about the tricky fax machine that could help make your work life easier. It never hurts to ask.

3. Keep tidy

When you invite guests into your home, you want them to feel comfortable in your humble abode. There is always the unexpected quick cleanup job that needs to be done before bad first impressions are made. If you have a kitchen in your office, keep it neat. There is nothing worse than feeling like an outsider and then having to eat your lunch near a pile of dishes, a filthy microwave or a fridge that smells.

4. Have patience

Sometimes the workplace can get a bit chaotic with the piles of paperwork or perhaps that huge presentation that you are not even close to being prepared for. Yes, temps are hired for the sole purpose of helping to ease the workload. However, he or she may not fully adjust to the company's culture in just a few days. When things get rough, it's imperative to remember you have someone new on board who is willing to take on a challenge but is not omnipotent.

5. Don't feel threatened

Sometimes clients eventually hire temps as permanent employees. This does not mean this is a competition and full-time employees should be intimidated. Permanent employees may feel their jobs are on the line if a long-term temp comes into the office. Just chill—if you continue to excel at your job and do the work you love, there is nothing to worry about.

Charne Graham is a RedEye special contributor.

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