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TempTalk with Tanvir Shaikh

Books stacked behind a laptop representing balancing work and school

After arriving in this country as a teenage new immigrant from India, Tanvir couldn’t have found a more fittingly named place for her very first job. But, unfortunately, Canada’s Wonderland held little wonder for someone so in love with numbers that she dreamed of a career in finance. And while she did try to secure a co-op with a bank, being a minor at the time made it a nonstarter. That’s when one of her teachers recommended that she sign up with Adecco.

“He said it was going to be an office experience,” recalls Tanvir. And what an office experience it was. Now, more than three years after her co-op with Adecco began, and in the midst of completing her finance degree, Tanvir is practically a veteran of the staffing industry. “During my co-op, which started with me doing basic reception, including filing and taking phone calls, I learned a lot, including what recruiters and everyone else in the office does,” she says. “Then, when I was finishing my co-op, my manager hired me because she thought I was good. Now I’m doing recruitment and pre-screening candidates myself.”

The eager beaver is the achiever

It’s a turn of events she never would have expected when she went for her interview with Laura De Marchi, Adecco’s Director of Strategic Partnership Accounts, who manages some of Adecco Canada’s largest and most complex client relationships. “I was very, very nervous when I first met Laura,” says Tanvir, “because it was my first time going for an office interview. Even though it was a co-op interview, I was still so scared because there were two other students there who were also interviewing.” But once the interview began, Laura put Tanvir at ease – and there’s no doubt Tanvir’s eagerness made an impression. “Laura just basically asked me about myself and what I do in school,” she recalls. “I told her that I’m motivated and a new immigrant and that I wanted to do something that would help me gain experience and learn everything that I can learn.”

And Tanvir definitely made good on her word by living up to the reputation of her new country’s mascot, the hardworking eager beaver. “I always asked my manager if there was something new that I could learn. I would often sit with the recruiters and people in other roles too. We have people who are in all kinds of different jobs, and I always told my manager that I want to learn new things. I don’t like doing just one thing; doing just my job got kind of boring. So, I would frequently go up to her and ask if there was anything else that I could do, because if there was, I would love to do it.”

From coworkers to kin

Of course, taking on so much at work – and doing it well – isn’t easy when you’re still in school, let alone when you’re studying a field as complex as finance. “It’s very hard,” admits Tanvir. Still, she’s getting good marks and managing her time wisely. In fact, as her courses have gotten more intense, she’s lightened her load by taking just a few courses during the year and working part-time.

But, it’s not that working for Adecco has obstructed her academic pursuits. According to Tanvir, it’s quite the contrary. “During my experience here at Adecco,” she says, “if I ever need help with my studies, there’s always been someone here who can help me. That’s one of the things I really like about Adecco. One time I had an HR course and needed help understanding a new law that had recently passed. My manager called corporate HR and someone on their team sent me an article that really helped me with my studies.” Also, knowing how much Tanvir loves working with numbers, her manager made sure she could try her hand at tasks related to finance. “When I first came here, I told Laura that I had an interest in numbers, so she allowed me to take care of payroll. She’s also going to connect me with a finance person in Adecco’s Toronto corporate head office so that I can get an idea of what my future will be like.”

Tanvir says that kind of support happens every day at Adecco. “We’re a small office here, so it feels like a family. Everyone’s so close to each other. If I’m doing an essay and need help with editing, there’s always someone here who will read it over.”

Temporary job, permanent change

Tanvir also proclaims that working for Adecco has opened her eyes to opportunities outside of finance. In fact, she says that being exposed to so many facets of a company is one of the best aspects of temp work. “I came to Adecco thinking that I just wanted to work with numbers. But when I started doing recruitment, it made me feel that I should probably explore HR in school too. After all, I can always minor in recruitment/HR even though I’m majoring in finance. That way, I have a backup.”

Not surprisingly, Tanvir has become a huge proponent of temp work and has some advice for those considering registering with a temp agency. “For sure, I would tell them yes,” she says, stressing that there are a lot of opportunities to be had – for both herself and others. “I’m currently recruiting for four different Adecco branches. Before, I was just recruiting for general labour, but now I’m recruiting for IT jobs too. It gives me the opportunity to learn about all of the different types of jobs that Adecco fills, and also helps me choose which Adecco branch to go to in order to start my full-time career.”

For those going for their first interview with a temp agency, Tanvir suggests keeping an open mind. “Always be open to all of the jobs available to you so that you can learn new and different things. Even if something turns out not to be for you, it’s good to make that connection. Remember that I originally signed up for reception work, and now I’m a recruiter.” She also says it’s important to talk about your interests. “As long as you speak to your manager about your skills, they’ll work to find positions that are available to you in that field.”

Being a student, of course, Tanvir’s also has tips on how other students can successfully balance work and school. “It’s all about time management,” she says. “I frequently speak to my manager about my schedule. I also check to see what classes I can take time-wise so that I can work and go to school at the same time. And I have my weekends off, which I always spend studying,” she says with a chuckle.

Overall, Tanvir says working with Adecco has been a turning point for her. “When I first came to Adecco, I was nothing compared to what I am now. It’s a very big thing for me. And as new immigrants, my family is very proud of me. Adecco is something that changed my life. At first, I was just a teenager who didn’t really know anything, especially about how to communicate in an office environment. I feel I’m more mature now.”

About TempTalk

At Adecco, we take great pride in the accomplishments of the talented individuals we place on temporary assignments each day throughout Canada. And so, to acknowledge their great work and share their success stories, we are pleased to profile them in TempTalk – a series of interviews profiling Adecco’s brightest stars.

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