So, you just graduated!
You have celebrated with friends and family, you have written out thank yous for the gifts, and only now are you coming down from the high and the end of school—at least seventeen years of formalized education later. Phew! And yet now, you are given a difficult, if not the most daunting task in life, landing your first job.
This is how I felt the hour after graduation. Although I interviewed for a few companies and did my best to make use of the career center in college following commencement, I still found myself constantly searching for a job—one that would steer my passions in the right direction.
After submitting many applications leading into summer, I found a job as a temporary employee at a non-profit organization. One year later, it turned out to be a great way to gain insight on work environments and it allowed me the time needed to reevaluate career goals. Now, since talking to another temporary employee friend, I have compared and gathered the following pros and cons, if you one day find yourself faced with a similar situation.
1. More time to finish up those grad school applications, while remaining active and continuing to build your resume.
2. Adding to your skill set, by experiencing new things about your field, trying different tools relating to software, practicing time management, as well as learning about a company’s environment.
3. Time to continue searching for jobs that fall more in line with your career desires, while building your resume.
4. Internships, part-time jobs, or even full-time temporary jobs can lead to full time continued employment!
1. Although temporary, seasonal, contractual, interim work—whatever you want to call it—can be great for building skills and knowledge, there is a high turnover rate.
2. These employees may not receive health benefits.
3. Depending on the company’s resources, temporary employees may or may not be included in staff meetings, team building events, or company networking seminars.
4. And the sad one…continued full-time employment is NOT a guarantee.
If you are still searching for the perfect job or you are starting graduate school applications, then use the extra time temp work can allow to job search and fill out applications. Although a temp job likely was not your ideal destination, quite honestly, temp work can give you a more flexible schedule, which in most cases, is perfect for applying! Now when you go on to get your graduate degree, you will have developed useful skills to make you a more valuable employee than before.
Although you cannot expect the offer of a full-time job after temporary work concludes, it does happen. My manager was offered a full time position at the end of her internship, and has since moved up within the company. So it can definitely happen, but you must realize there is also risks if you are looking to be hired long term. If you are persistent during interviews, ask if there is room for growth at the company and keep an eye out for internal job postings once you are hired. Make yourself useful and add to the company environment at every opportunity that presents itself, showing your coworkers what an asset you are and why they should want you to stay.
For instance, during my recent temp position as a campaign assistant, I would do my work in the most complete and efficient way, ask for other tasks to lighten the load of my manager, and when all of that was done, I would even offer to help out with small tasks in other departments. Of course, coming to work on time and simply being friendly is another great way to show your interest in the business.
To touch on an earlier point, being a temp employee can shed light on a new work environment. For one friend of mine, she was hired as a temporary human resources employee for a growing tech company. The company had enough backing that allowed them to include all employees in staff meetings, corporate team building at baseball games, museum visits, and lunches, as well as other off-site events. From the start, she felt an immediate bond with other employees in the office, and many of our friends did not realize her impermanence at the company because of her constant inclusion in company events.
In this case, the company had the resources and the team atmosphere needed to create a welcoming environment (This, by the way, is not necessarily what you should expect from a company when you join as a temp worker. For example, the non-profit I worked for did not have the resources to do such events for its employees, since most of our funds went to a supported cause). At the end of her first year with the company, my friend was told they would have to discontinue her contract, leaving her a month to find a new job. Despite the friendly environment and the constant inclusion to staff events, temp work is not a guarantee for full-time work. As much as a company may like you or want you to be part of their team, they may not have the expenses or resources to keep you. It’s always best to look to the future and be prepared for your next move.
In the end, being a temp worker has both advantages and disadvantages. Soak it all up and I hope this helps you make a decision when you are faced with the opportunity to apply for, accept, or deny a temporary position. Good luck and remember—it’s not your last job, so make the most of it!