UN­DER­COVER TEMP

WHAT IS IT RE­ALLY LIKE to be a temp in a prop­erty man­age­ment de­part­ment? Easy, you might think; you just come in, do your job, leave at the end of the con­tract and get paid well. But if you do think that, you are greatly mis­taken, as Lau­ren Kropp, Directo

Elite Property Manager - - Contents - LAU­REN KROPP is a di­rec­tor and con­sul­tant at Real Strate­gix, who of­fer a wide va­ri­ety of prop­erty man­age­ment con­sult­ing ser­vices. For more in­for­ma­tion visit re­al­strate­gix.com.au.

Lau­ren Kropp

WE'VE ALL SEEN the show Un­der­cover Boss, but there have been two in­stances over the past year that I have placed my­self in the temp world as an ‘un­der­cover temp’.

When I first put the feel­ers out about en­ter­ing Real Strate­gix into the re­cruit­ment/temp­ing world, I thought, ‘There is no way I can make my new busi­ness ven­ture work un­less I live it my­self.’

It was hard for me to take my con­sul­tant hat off and put my temp hat on. What that meant was, ‘Just do the job the best way you know how, but don’t tell them there’s a bet­ter way as a con­sul­tant would.’

The first of­fice did not know my back­ground and had just heard through the grapevine that I might be in­ter­ested in temp work – per­fect tim­ing.

My job was do­ing the lease re­newals for three large port­fo­lios, which was a full­time four-week po­si­tion. Dur­ing that time, I was seated in an of­fice off to the side where no one re­ally checked on me. I was ba­si­cally for­got­ten about. It was by no means wel­com­ing. I would hear from re­cep­tion, ‘Who is Lau­ren? Does any­one know a Lau­ren?’ to which the of­fice would fill with yells: ‘Nope. Sorry!’

The re­cep­tion­ist would re­ply, ‘Sorry, Mr Smith, we don’t have a Lau­ren work­ing here.’

It was about now I had to go and in­tro­duce my­self to re­cep­tion.

Who hired me? Who was pay­ing me? Where was my in­duc­tion? I didn’t even know where the toilets were, the

I WOULD HEAR FROM RE­CEP­TION, ‘WHO IS LAU­REN? DOES ANY­ONE KNOW A LAU­REN?’ TO WHICH THE OF­FICE WOULD FILL WITH YELLS: ‘NOPE. SORRY!’

emer­gency ex­its or who I was re­port­ing to.

Did I have a pass­word? Was I a reg­is­tered user of the trust ac­count­ing soft­ware so my ‘temp’ role and notes could be tracked? Did I have a time sheet or could I just leave at the end of the day?

Who were the peo­ple whose names were on the port­fo­lio that I was do­ing lease re­newals for? Is there a sys­tem in place which they want me to fol­low? Or do I just send the lease with a no­tice to leave? Do I al­ways do a CMA? Oh... do they use RP Data for this?

Who is this aw­ful woman eye­balling me from across the room? Oh, that’s the prop­erty man­ager whom I have had to tell the prin­ci­pal about; she hasn’t ac­tioned lease re­newals for the past four months and has 130 prop­er­ties on pe­ri­odic leases.

This par­tic­u­lar role was not stress­ful apart from the abuse from the own­ers, won­der­ing why their ten­ants had not been on a lease for 12 months.

Luck­ily, in this in­stance I was able to se­cretly put my con­sult­ing hat on and take on a very un­happy owner. Within four days his new lease was re­turned with a sub­stan­tial rent in­crease and he be­came my best friend.

Dur­ing my time in this of­fice two peo­ple out of 30 in­tro­duced them­selves to me. Af­ter three weeks I was still hid­den away, although by this stage ev­ery­one knew who I was as I had in­tro­duced my­self and my role.

This is the hard­est job of a temp. They are brought into an un­fa­mil­iar of­fice for some­times as short as a week or two as the prop­erty man­ager has just walked out. And if that par­tic­u­lar prop­erty man­ager didn’t leave notes, all they have to go on is email searches, which are some­times like read­ing Nancy Drew nov­els.

We all know there are good PMs. I loathe the term ‘bad’ PMs; in­stead, I re­fer to those as ‘PMs who strug­gle with the work­load’. But you must re­alise how dif­fi­cult it is to have a temp come into your of­fice and pick up the pieces. I call them Temp Pri­vate In­ves­ti­ga­tors.

Don’t get me wrong; we have gone to many of­fices that are what I call WGT (‘We Got This’). Th­ese are the ones that have the com­puter pass­words set up, the in­tro­duc­tions sorted, a list of things to do and the friendly ‘Thank you, Mrs Temp, for com­ing in and help­ing us out’ at­ti­tude.

Please be nice to temps. I know you have to show them around and an­swer ques­tions about pro­ce­dures and sys­tems, but they are there to help make your life that lit­tle bit eas­ier. And try­ing to get you to stop at just one glass of wine in­stead of a bot­tle a night. Un­der­cover temp, over and out.

WHO IS THIS AW­FUL WOMAN EYE­BALLING ME FROM ACROSS THE ROOM? OH, THAT’S THE PROP­ERTY MAN­AGER WHO HASN’T AC­TIONED LEASE RE­NEWALS FOR THE PAST FOUR MONTHS.

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