What’s the working life of a temporary employee or contractor really like? Does it offer an ideal work-life balance and higher earnings or is it isolating and full of constant new challenges?
According to recruiting experts Hays, it can be a combination of all four. So for the 69 per cent of job seekers who are willing to consider a temporary assignment, as well as the 14 per cent already working as a temporary or contractor, Hays provide the following insights on what it’s like working as a ‘temp’:
You’ll never stop marketing yourself: Even once you are in an assignment, you need to start thinking about your next role, starting with the organisation at which you are currently temping. Ask if there are any other areas or departments where your skills might be needed. Let your face be seen. If you can see opportunities but don't feel comfortable investigating, let your recruiter know and we will make enquiries for you.
You’ll constantly upskill: Constant upskilling is another reality in the working life of a temp. I’m sure you’ve heard examples of people who’ve earned significantly more money as a contractor than in a similar permanent job. However to do this long-term you need to invest in your own learning and development. Employers will only pay the highest rates to those who are at the top of their profession with relevant industry-specific experience and a handle on the very latest technology and industry trends.
Your working life will never be uniform: That’s why temps are always ready for, and cope well with, change. Most temporary assignments have a finish date, but it can be extended. Equally, it may be cut short. Sometimes plans change, on both sides, and successful temps understand this and act accordingly.
You must be the epitome of professional: You must respect the policies, procedures and culture of the organisations you enter, prepare thoroughly, hit the ground running, never get involved in office politics or gossip and, if required, learn quickly.
You have distinct personal and professional lives: A temp’s personal life never crosses over into their working life in the way that it can for permanent employees. For instance, your mobile stays in your bag on silent and the organisation’s telephone or email is never used for personal communications. Similarly, you don’t use your work time to get to know your new work colleagues; you can connect with them on LinkedIn later.
Others have high expectations of you: A temp’s working life is also one in which expectations of your abilities and results are higher than those of your full-time counterparts. While most temps thrive on this, some find it daunting. After all, there’s nowhere to hide in a temp assignment and you’ll never become too comfortable.
You’ll thrive meeting new objectives: Life is filled with endless new responsibilities too. To be successful, you need to be the sort of person who thrives on constantly meeting new objectives. You’ll walk in the door on day one of a new assignment and after a short induction you’ll immediately start work on your new brief. No two are ever the same, just as no two organisations are ever the same.
You’ll have few work friendships: A temp’s working life is also one where work friendships are few and far between. Again, this doesn’t bother most temps, who instead build their network of contacts thanks to the number of professionals their assignments bring them into contact with.
The choice is yours: Finally, a temp’s working life can provide the ultimate freedom - they can take time off between assignments when they choose to and they enjoy meeting new people and working in a broad range of organisations.
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