Seasonal With Possibly Full-Time

Asking the Workplace Doctors about speaking with coworkers about a full-time position:

Currently, I am working a seasonal position that may lead to a full-time position if the employer deems a worker to be a good fit. I have accepted this position because it provides a decent salary while I try to decide on a career that will work best for me in the future; a career that I will enjoy. Luckily, during the interview process, I was candid with the manager and he knows why I was interested in this seasonal job, but I’m not sure how to communicate this notion with my colleagues. This job doesn’t require a high level of education and some workers talk about these jobs very highly. A lot of the workers feel lucky to have this kind of job. So, I’m not sure how to best handle conversations or questions about my future with the company. Thanks!

Signed Uncertain

Dear Uncertain:

Congratulations. You see a possible full-time future within the organization that has hired you seasonally. And you were upfront with the manager about this. Many are not so fortunate–to have a decent salary while learning what might become a career-fit. You say, “ I’m not sure how to communicate this notion with my colleagues.” What you share with coworkers will likely come naturally, but I will suggest some guidelines.

  1. Don’t talk much about your career interests and if you will be offered full-time. Focus on doing good work and being the kind of coworker you like to work with. That’s the golden rule for every new employee.
  2. Listen and reflect on what makes you feel good while working.
  3. Seek advice from many sources, especially from those who are happy in their lives. I expect you know that getting to where you want to be usually is a process of residues–eliminating those in which your don’t fit or like by working a variety of pick up jobs with not enough pay and finding it difficult to land a job which you feel is purposeful for yourself and your little circle of the world. Today, I got an email from a student I taught about 6-7 years ago, who is still searching for a career after working for a large company for three years and then working abroad for two. He’s back with his parents trying to decide what comes next. He sent a note about discussing this with his dad and I’m sharing that with you because it contains advice from his dad he values: “I asked my dad whether it would be better to live well-off but not enjoy my work or to live with a lot less and be excited by my work and he answered by saying ‘the latter.’ It’s very rare for him to give this kind of advice. I think he’s right.”
  4. Be friendly in greetings and generally pleasant. Remember you are not the one to approve or disapprove of others work nor are coworkers who should give approval of yours.
  5. Bite your tongue if tempted to comment on non-work topics with and about coworkers and boss. Avoid comments even compliments about others appearance–their hair, body, clothing, health and mood. Such comments sometimes are taken as being nosey and overly personal, perhaps as being interested in them sexually or as insulting. Avoid discussion of controversial issues about race, religion, sex, politics, and values. All interpersonal conversation is important in developing friendship and deciding if you want to be friends, but employers are paying you to attend to assignments, not on building friendships.
  6. Learn by observation. Don’t depend on coworkers for answers on job related matters. Coworker generally answer occasional questions about what and how to do assignments, but they can feel used if you ask too frequently.
  7. Your manager is the person who should inform you about what to do and how well you are meeting expectations. So after a time you can ask him/her how you are doing and what you might do more effectively. Keep aware of what’s the mission and purpose of your workplace. Read about it. Possibly join an association to which those within the organization belong. That will help you know if work in this organization is one you want for a career.
  8. Don’t expect too much. Work is work. It often is not work you really like until you get good at it.
  9. Don’t criticize and complain. Rather set your mind on how to cut waste, wasted time, wasted supplies, wasted money.
  10. Sign a declaration of interdependence–working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.

Please let me know if any of these thoughts answer your question.–William Gorden