The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that the number of people employed in the “temporary help services industry” has increased nearly 30 percent from January 2009 to December 2012—and that’s with seasonal adjustments, too! Although temp work has provided excellent short-term employment opportunities for Americans across the country, this professional path comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Whether you’re currently temping or just considering it, stay informed with the following pros and cons of being a temp.
PRO: Develop a Broad Experience Base
Even though employers respect candidates who have years of training and experience in one specific field, they also appreciate a diverse professional background. Being a temp gives you the opportunity to test out multiple career paths before settling. With experience in several fields, you can gain a better understanding of the complexity of your profession while incorporating the knowledge from different environments to bring a creative edge to a new workplace.
CON: Spend Time Finding an Agency
The process of applying at an agency isn’t always easy, and it can be time-consuming for those trying to balance this endeavor with their current responsibilities. First, you’ll have to research temp agencies and choose a few you’re interested in. Then you’ll have to spruce up your resumé and spend a few hours at each agency registering and filling out paperwork. After getting through the logistics, you’ll need to take a few tests and then keep calling until a position opens up. Waiting around can be nerve-wracking at first, but once you get started, you’ll likely enjoy the breaks.
PRO: Avoid a Rut
Having a steady job can give you a sense of security, but this can quickly slip into boredom. Even at a job you love, doing the same thing every day can get a little monotonous, and it’s easy to feel like you’re not being challenged or appreciated enough when you do the same thing over and over. With temp jobs, you’re always adjusting to a new environment and a new list of responsibilities, so you never get sick of your job. Although this definitely keeps everything exciting, it can be stressful for those who have trouble adapting quickly.
CON: Difficult to Achieve a Sense of Belonging
When you work somewhere long enough, you start to feel like part of a big, professional family. You develop life-long friendships with co-workers and clients that can make your job more substantive and meaningful overall. As a temporary employee, you’ll likely make some friends along the way, but it’s difficult to really bond and build relationships when you’re always moving from place to place.
Since many temp jobs won’t offer benefits and you might have long periods between jobs, you’ll want to keep yourself covered with a short term medical insurance policy. Even though you might be experiencing tough economic times, having this insurance prevents you from being saddled with a major medical bill if something unexpected were to happen. Moreover, remember to live frugally while you’re working as a temp. You never know how long you’ll have to wait before another position opens up, so make sure you have plenty of funds to support yourself during the interim.