While still in the midst of hunting for full time employment, I have been working with a recruiter who has provided me with a few temporary jobs to preoccupy my time, and to make a little cash on the side. For the most part, it has been fairly nice. Still have free time, and can gain a few bucks here and there. However, with some pros, there are always a few cons. I have developed a list of some perks and some not so great aspects about temp jobs.
I like to end things on a good note, so I will start with the Cons.
1. Stability. While there is a possibility, there is no guarantee that it’ll last. Sometimes companies only need someone to cover for the day. I worked a job that was originally planned for a week, but then I ended up there for almost 2 months. I was very pleased to continue, however it was difficult to plan ahead when they ask you back on a week by week basis. I had to wait until mid to late week to find out if I could make alternative plans for not only the next month, but the following week as well.
2. Lower pay and no benefits. They typically won’t pay as much as one who is actually hired. Even if you are performing similar tasks, it’s just not in their budget. And why would they if there is a market of unemployed workers willing to take almost anything at anytime. Especially us young-ins trying to fit into the real world.
3. May not learn much. Working on an assignment for a few days probably won’t be enough time to develop a concrete skill. Sure, it’ll help to practice and gain potential, but you’ll have to continue to build somewhere else. This goes hand in hand with credibility. So you learned to be a receptionist/admin assistant for a couple days, sweet. Too bad employers prefer a couple years of experience.
4. Probably won’t be a part of a long term project. If so, might not be able to see the end result. Whether a goal of the company or one of a third party, you’re likely not a huge player and/or won’t be present to acknowledge the impact. Not saying that being there is meaningless, I’m sure it’s all greatly appreciated, but it would be nice to do more and fully be a team player. Sorry, I feel like this sounds kind of terrible, but it’s only human to want a sense of belonging, right?
5. Not necessarily enough time to develop relationships with co-workers. If you do end up bonding, you wonder how long they’ll last after your time in the office.
Now for the positives.
1. Flexible Schedule. Since you are not contracted to a set time frame, you have the liberty of choosing your hours. I am also an evening nanny, and I was able to come into the office earlier in order to leave earlier. I would also take afternoons off in order to schedule other interviews. In some cases, you decide when you want to start and when you’re done. When I worked in the city, getting to BART before the 5pm crowd was a fantastic decision.
2. Experience different companies, different industries and different office cultures. You can get a feel of which type of management styles you prefer as well as office layouts.
3. Similar to the previous, different positions. Even as a temp, you are able to take upon a few tasks that you may encounter in a career you’ve considered. In addition, observe someone else that holds a position you may be wanting to work towards. It’s great to get some first hand experience with something that holds your potential interest.
4. Network. You never know who you’re going to meet, and how they can impact your future. If you’re polite, it may not hurt to slip a bit about yourself here and there. Funny story/example. My last temp job I was meeting and chatting with a lady in the break room. We didn’t converse much, just describing that I’m the temp and what I have been up to and what not. The next day I found out that lady was not just another employee, but the Executive Director! I really hope I made an alright impression…although that job did come to a close, so I guess who knows. Either way, be on your toes and stay professional.
5. Short pay periods. I am on payroll with my recruiter agency, and since I may work a week or less, I get paid weekly. You don’t have to wait 2 weeks or so for a check. I can get quick easy direct deposits with in a week of working. Definitely comes in handy when you need it.
6. Lastly, a temp job could turn into a full time hire. I am still waiting for that to happen of course, but it is possible. Do your work efficiently and maintain working relationships, and you might just trick them into letting you stay.
Overall, I have liked it for the time being. Yet, I do want/need a more stable situation and source of income. As a pro and con, it is just temporary. It may not be exactly what you expected, but hey it’ll end soon! In turn, it could go very well, and you can grow from it or even apply to an opening in the future. I do enjoy the spontaneity about it. Keeps things fresh and exciting.