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Are you a temp? These tips will get you that job

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By JAMES KAHONGEH
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High cost of operations, cutthroat competition and declining profits have made running business riskier than ever before. As a result, most companies are finding it harder to keep permanent employees. Engaging freelancers, temporary workers and contractors is now considered cheaper as this cushions employers from paying salaries and other benefits that permanent employees enjoy.

Worth noting though, is that some professionals choose to work as temps because of the flexibility it offers. Others take up short-term jobs as they search for full-time engagements. Whether you are in between jobs or you simply prefer to work on short-term contracts, you can make your stint at your current employer count in your overall career goals.

Career expert Rachael Ahenda of Fuzu, a local recruitment platform that offers insights into jobs and careers, shares tips on how to hack your temporary job as you look forward to your next gig.

Use the opportunity to gain experience

In a country like Kenya where the rate of unemployment is relatively high and employers demand experience as a prerequisite for recruitment, a temporary gig comes in handy. This is besides the supplemental income that you earn. Temporary jobs offer an amazing opportunity for you to fine-tune your skills and explore new opportunities. It also gives you an insider’s peek into how different businesses and industries operate.

Ladder to a permanent role

The income may be little, but as a job seeker, never turn down any “small” role if it has the potential to boost your worth. Most employers assess the suitability of their prospective employees by first offering them temporary roles, after all, tangible work is the most accurate scale to measure your work ethic, discipline and other attributes such as teamwork. Impressing as a temp sets you on the path to full-time employment.

Think of it as your only job

This is your job for now. Do not look at it merely as a phase in your professional life. Instead, give it your A game. While the company may not retain you at the expiry of your contract, you will certainly spring to mind when an opportunity comes up in future. But this will depend on whether you took your work seriously as a temp. A strong performance always leaves behind an indelible imprint.

Continuously market yourself

New opportunities emerge within organisations all the time, and as a temp, naturally, you are constantly on the lookout for the next engagement. Find out what skills other departments are looking for and offer your input. If there is an opportunity that you think you can hack, go for it. Taking up new roles cements your employer’s confidence in you. The HR manager is more likely to consider you for a job opening since he/she already has a record of your key competencies.

Invest in your own growth and development

Some professionals earn more money working as temps and contractors than those on full-time employment in a similar job. To achieve this though, especially in the long-term, you must constantly upskill by honing your talents and acquiring new crafts. You never know what skill your next employer will need. Having a wide scope of skills stands you in good stead of landing many gigs. Besides, employers hire and pay the highest rates to professionals with the relevant-industry specific experience, those who are up-to date with the current trends and latest technology in their profession.

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Temporary contracts, unlike permanent jobs, are very fluid. You may be working today only to be out of work tomorrow. That said, it is important to remain open to the possibility of sudden job loss. Be able to adjust accordingly. With the fast changing dynamics in today’s professional world, notably retrenchment, working as a temp, therefore, prepares you for eventualities such as layoffs when you finally take up a more permanent role.

As a professional, any working opportunity allows you to meet and acquaint yourself with other people in your occupation. It does not matter whether your contract lasts a week, a month or a year. Use this time productively by establishing useful contacts with people who matter within and outside your organisation. Let them know your interests and combination of skills. They might just refer you to your next employer.

Whether to go into full-time employment or to invest in a business is a difficult choice for most. As you work as a temp, explore and experience both worlds and choose what suits your lifestyle and meets your career goals. After this, make up your mind on whether to pursue either the corporate scene where operations are organised in a particular way, or the more flexible start-up world that offers insights into what entrepreneurs go through to get their businesses up and running.

Maintain high standards of professionalism

Working as a temp is not an excuse to conduct yourself unprofessionally. Observe your employer’s policies and organisational procedures strictly. Discharge your duties well and meet your deadlines diligently. Respect your colleagues and seniors. Needless to say, no organisation will engage you at an advanced level if you behaved unethically, however outstanding your performance may have been.

As an “outsider”, your perspective is as fresh as it is untested. Do not shy away from sharing ideas and insights that could improve the organisation’s efficiency and balance sheet. While at it, do not be too hasty. Wait for the right moment to share your ideas and do so thoughtfully. You will always be reputed to any positive change to the organisation even after your departure. Mark you, a happy potential employer is worth more than a solid CV.

In my career, I have had the occasion to recruit and work with interns, some who I retained and others who I let go when their internship period expired. A company is more likely to hire its former interns than to recruit outsiders. As such, you must do exceptionally well and demonstrate why the organisation should put its money on you. Work as if you are here for the long haul. Businesses, including global conglomerates, love the security that comes with hiring the right people.

While you take up temporary gigs, do not drift too much from your own career path. If need be, only take up roles that enhance your profession. This will make it easier to retract to your speciality whenever an opportunity arises.



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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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