I am temping right now, and it sort of feels like workplace therapy. In my yoga class last night, the teacher was talking about the benefits of yoga, and that the practice is like physical therapy for the joints, muscles and bones. (I think that teacher is studying to be a physical therapist.) She went on to describe the slow restorative process of PT, and how it takes the body a while to return to its previous level of activity, but that teaching the body these movements would ultimately restore it to health and mobility, even after repeated stress and injury.
Temping is sort of like physical therapy for me, but in the work context. Not only does it help me to keep my skills up to date (oh, Outlook, how I have missed you!) but it helps me to keep a routine in place. I am stretching the muscle of getting to the office at 9am, and I am practicing my phone etiquette, typing, Outlook (!), Excel, all the basic skills that fly out the window when you aren’t using them every day. It’s a chance to practice different ways of managing and being managed, to see what I like and what works in terms of project-wrangling and information flow.
Another amazing benefit is that I am learning what a normal office feels like. All offices have cultures, and all offices have problems. We know this. I have experienced some serious dysfunction in my time, and my latest experience was so bad that I quit. I couldn’t tolerate it. It is so nice to work with nice people, and to receive feedback in a constructive, positive way. This too feels like therapy. I can establish a new benchmark for what an office environment should feel like, and bring this with me to my next arts organization.
It’s amazing how quickly one can adapt to unhealthy behaviors, even when you know they are unhealthy. But just as going to yoga helps me fight against the hunched over sadness of sitting in an office chair all day long, so will working in an office remind me about the important skills I need to sharpen or just keep fresh while I wait to find my next “real” job.