Two questions, one answer. The first reader writes:
I have been temping for a while and a few months ago landed a temp-to-perm gig at a financial services firm. I love the job and my coworkers and couldn’t be happier. The pay is ok – tough for living in New York, but I scrape by.
The problem is, I’ve been living with a health problem and the whole not having insurance thing is a large issue. My parents are on the verge of filing for bankruptcy so there’s no chance of finding help there. I have no siblings, and am not close with other members of my family (who have any money to spare, that is). I need insurance – preferably through a job, and soon.
I am certain my company wants to hire me – my managers have assured me so, and if I even briefly mention “going to Oklahoma” the head guy on the floor thinks I mean that I’m moving there (it was just a comment about visiting) and freaks out. But I can’t wait forever, and it’s really important to me that I get this health issue dealt with. I would love to stay at this company, as it’s a wonderful fit for me, and I’ve already had the head admin on the floor push for me a couple times now. How would you suggest I broach the subject of being hired on, or at least of getting a target date? I’d prefer not to get strung along for a year or more only to find out they have no intention of hiring me, no matter how much they like me.
And the second reader writes:
I’ve been working for a company in a temporary position for 7 months. I was initially hired for an entry-level position, then after 2 1/2 months was promoted, with a pay raise, to a different position working for a department VP. I have much more responsibility, lots of projects, I’ve been given a lot of freedom to set my own schedule and even do a lot of work from home.
I really do love this job and I think I bring a lot of good qualities to the company. I’m cross-trained for a few different functions and have been providing quick results on the assigned projects.
My question is this: How can I ask if they ever intend to hire me directly? The terms of the staffing agency stated that the company couldn’t hire me directly without penalty for 180 days after the assignment began. I’m now past that. I keep trying to find different ways to make myself indispensable, but being a temp makes me jumpy. Is there anything I can do besides express my interest and enthusiasm?
You guys both need to sit down and have candid conversations with your managers. Be direct. You want to say something like this: “I really love working here, and I’d really like to move into a regular staff position. But at the same time, if that’s not likely to happen any time soon, I’d rather know that. Can you give me a candid assessment of how likely that is to happen so that my expectations are realistic?”
If you get vague platitudes about how they’d like to do it at some point, just hang in there, etc., then get more direct: “What needs to happen for me to move into a regular position? What is the timeline for that, and what are the next steps we could take?”
And, if you’re willing to attach consequences to this, you can also add: “I want to reiterate that I love working here and staying here would be my first choice. But I need to look at other options if we don’t have a path or a timeline for that, so I’m hoping to get a clear answer from you — if not today, then very soon.” But obviously, by throwing that out there, you risk them telling you to go ahead and look at other options … but that’s also an answer that will be useful to hear. (Letter-writer #1, this part applies more to you; letter-writer #2 seems more willing to stay a temp for now, whereas you have a pressing need to either go perm or move on.)
Also, letter-writer #1, it might be worth explicitly tell them that the issue is about insurance. It’s possible that they’re unwilling to make your position permanent right now, but that they’d be willing to give you health insurance if that would keep you. It’s worth raising.