Friday, 4 July 2008

Succeed as a contract labourer - PART 7

(Return to – PART 1, PART 2, PART 3, PART 4, PART 5, PART 6)

You’ll find a notepad and pen essential. Write down instructions and repeat them back to your supervisor before starting a job. Do this every time you receive instructions involving numbers or if you have several different jobs to complete. Major discrepancies in what you’ve been asked to do and what actually needs to be done should be double checked. While the boss would rather you just get on with it, they appreciate your question if it saves them from a headache later on. Don’t take on any additional work if you don’t have instructions. This does not include housekeeping. Nobody gets in trouble for cleaning up when there’s nothing else to do.

Record your start and finish times daily. You’ll have a time sheet supplied by the Labour Hire Company. Keep your duplicate copy. If your employer wants their own timesheets used, still record your times independently. This is very important. Payslips can be several weeks behind and you’ll have trouble remembering what happened two Tuesdays ago. Avoid being ripped off by getting your supervisor to sign your own timesheet every week even if they use their own records to pay you. Any inconsistency with hours claimed and hours paid can be dealt with straight away. There’s nothing worse than chasing money from weeks ago when the payroll has been done and archived. Payroll staff soon lose interest in what happened last week when they have this week’s payroll to worry about. Stay on top of your entitlements. Allowances are known to go missing. If you don’t speak up, you’ll get nothing.

The following might sound ridiculous, but it’s worth mentioning. Don’t wear brand new clothes to a new job. You’re immediately downgraded to a 16 year old no matter what your true age is. New clothes encourage the perception that you’ve never worked before in your life and you are a useless mummy’s boy. Old faded clothes give the impression you’ve been around for a while, and maybe you know what you’re doing.

Your clothes will have to adhere to some Australian Standard, and will be in a range of disgusting fluoro colours with Hi-Vis stripes. You probably won’t have a lot of choice in what you are given, but try to wear the same colours as the workers at your new job. It’s all about fitting in. If you look different, you’ll be treated different. Keep your new clothes for later on. Once you’ve been on site for a while you can complain about being issued with new Hi-Vis gear as yours were too faded. Endure the mild taunts and it will soon be forgotten. Everyone else has had to go through the ‘new clothes syndrome’ every now and then.

(Like it? See – PART 8)

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