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Temp worker worried about job

Q. I work as a temporary office contractor and recently, while copying, viewed a co-workers (permanent employee) less than positive performance review. Since the review, that employee has spent much more time in the office (rather than teleworking); however, last Friday she came in much later than usual and appeared to be in a great rush. She requested documents out of my office, took them, and then insinuated there was something wrong with some copies which I had made. She then proceeded to do some copying that I usually do as part of my job, and also requested that I copy for her right away. She also wanted to do the mailing out of the job, which has been my job. The job did end up missing a critical mailing deadline.

I am concerned that her bad performance review might create a problem for me, as well as for her. She and some other employees are not my supervisors, but they sometimes act as such, even though some advice/directions they give do not seem entirely accurate.

I am concerned because as a contractor I do not have job security. The job market/economy seems quite bad, so I do not feel it is safe to quit this job, but the sometimes critical atmosphere and my contractor status do not make me feel that it is safe to stay, even though I have received no negative reviews from management. (Yes, I know my work is not perfect.)

A. You can only control what you can control and that is your own performance.

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Be sure you arrive on time, listen carefully when you are being given assignments, take notes if you think that would be helpful, ask the boss to prioritize if you are given several assignments at the same time, don’t abuse break time, and complete assignments in a timely way. Be sure you do not leave confidential materials that you are copying for others to find. Be friendly to everyone but always remain professional.

This is the best chance that you have of keeping your job. You are right. You are a temp worker with no guarantees of employment. So what you need to do in this very competitive environment is to do everything you can to hang on to this job. That means top notch performance from you. You cannot worry about or control anyone else’s behavior - just your own.

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