Choose to temp

Are you considering a career change and not sure how to make the move to a new field?  Or, are you a parent who took time off and now needs a reintroduction into the workplace? In both scenarios temporary work, or temping, may be the answer. Take time to structure your temping experience so that it helps you achieve your career development plans.

Cheaper by the hour : temporary lawyers and the deprofessionalization of the law
Robert A. Brooks.
Philadelphia : Temple University Press, c2011.
Recent law school graduates often work as temporary attorneys, but law firm layoffs and downsizing have strengthened the temporary attorney industry. Cheaper by the Hour is the first book-length account of these workers. Drawing from participant observation and interviews, Robert A. Brooks provides a richly detailed ethnographic account of freelance attorneys in Washington, DC. He places their document review work in the larger context of the de-professionalization of skilled labour and considers how professionals relegated to temporary jobs feel diminished, degraded, or demeaned by work that is often tedious, repetitive, and well beneath their abilities.Brooks documents how firms break a lawyer's work into discreet components that require less skill to realize maximum profits. Moreover, he argues that information technology and efficiency demands
How to be a permanent temp : winning strategies for surviving in today's workplace
by Joan Damico.
Franklin Lake, NJ : Career Press, c2002.
With an easy-to-follow action plan, professionals learn how to minimize risk, maximize earnings, and enhance job satisfaction while adding to their professional experience portfolio. It is a guide to earning a living while obtaining job satisfaction and diversity as a permanent temporary professional. How to Be a Permanent Temp includes useful information on the pros and cons of the temporary lifestyle, how to seek temporary employment, how the hiring process works, what type of compensation to expect, what healthcare or retirement benefits will or will not be provided and common pitfalls to avoid. It also provides helpful hints on locating agencies that suit your talent using both online and offline methods. For those who want to be more self sufficient this book gives you options on how to find temp work on your own.
VGM's guide to temporary employment : a practical handbook for the best jobs
Lewis Baratz.
Lincolnwood, Ill. : VGM Career Horizons, c1995.
Includes bibliographical references.

Work with a reputable temporary agency or online service.

  • Browse agency websites
  • Choose one that specializes in the field you want to explore
  • Check agency's credentials including time in business and number of recent placements
  • Ask about benefits and training opportunities
  • Build a positive rapport with your placement officer

Pros--variety, new skills, flexibility

Cons--lack of benefits, time between assignments, lack of guidance  

(Pros & cons from Quintessential Careers)

Make your temporary assignment lead to more.

  • Do the position you were hired to do--understand your responsibilities. Be willing to volunteer, but only after your assigned tasks are completed
  • Approach each assignment with a professional attitude
  • Consider the position one long interview
  • Network with staff
  • If this assignment shows you the field is not what you expected, move on--other fields are waiting

Taking a temporary position can be a smart decision for the person who is looking to gain experience or move their career forward--maybe even jump to the front of the hiring line.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff