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An Ode to Pat – Probably the Best Temporary Worker in the World

If I was to ask you how old my most reliable, most requested temporary worker is, what would your answer be? Would you be surprised if I said it was a lady who had reached retirement age many years ago, and instead of giving up work, she made her career fit around her. Pat has been a professional legal secretary for well over 50 years. When she reached retirement age, she didn’t want to stop working, but she did decide it needed to fit around her, picking and choosing the days and hours to suit her. Pat asked us to find her work in the Legal field. Within weeks, Pat and Headway Recruitment had started a working relationship that is coming up on 18 years. Such is the relationship we have means we are on first name terms with Pat’s family members, and she sends us postcards when she’s on holiday. Pat is currently working hard for one of my clients in her specialism as a Family Law Legal Secretary. They regularly call to sing Pat’s praises and enquire how long they can hang on to her. “Terrific phone manner, exceptional typing speeds, excellent administration” “Unrivaled knowledge of Case Management System” “All round great person, reliable and friendly.” These are just some of the comments I regularly receive about Pat. Age is what triggered Pat’s desire to take control of her working life, and she has a great work life balance because of it. I regularly receive calls from people looking for work, and while hours and salary are high on their list of wants, full time and permanent are at the top. Full time, permanent jobs give people that feeling of security; the ultimate dream. So what if you’ve got to fit the school run and after school clubs around work. Work out collections and drop offs with your other half. You may not even enjoy your job, or be challenged in your role. It’s permanent, it’s full time so It’s safe. Pat represents flexibility. By specifically working temporary contracts, Pat is able to pick and choose her hours to suit her. She is also able to take time away from working if that is what she wishes. And go back to working at a moment’s notice as she has built up an excellent reputation with our clients. This is absolute stability and can be argued is more stable than that of a permanent position as there is no obligation to work at any point that you do not want to. In addition, as with all temporary workers, holidays are earned and paid so if Pat wants to take some time off, she is eligible to take the time off as paid holiday, just like anyone else. Also, Pat represents hope. If anyone loses a job, is made redundant or finds themselves out of work somehow, it is a terrible thing. However, it is worse if that person is over a certain age. Even though direct discrimination dictates that you cannot discriminate on the basis of a person’s age and that everyone has equal chance in any position, people over the age of 50 find it the hardest after losing a job. Not only is Pat continuing her career long after retirement, but she is continuously requested back. Pat is a true beacon and an inspiration for older workers. My last conversation with Pat is that she is in no hurry to give up just yet. She misses the work during the quiet periods and due to this she says that her “retirement” isn’t ready to become too permanent just yet.
Mark Gill

By Mark Gill

Recruitment Director with a proven record of providing world class hires at all levels of office and management positions within the Leeds Bradford region. We use our unique Headway Recruitment Platform incorporating psychometric testing to find the top candidates. If you want access to the full local talent pool get in contact with the team at Headway. We help companies achieve growth through our unique approach. This ensures the candidates we place are the perfect fit. Companies are then best placed to get the best from each individual as they understand their motivating traits. Proud to be recognised as preferred supplier for several businesses in the Sunday Times top 100 firms to work for.
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