When I Grow Up, I Want To Be a Temp



A temp and a prison guard walk into a bar and order drinks. What do they have in common other than a bad day at the ‘office?’ Well, to put it bluntly, they both work in industries where most, if not all, of the people they deal with on a day to day basis don’t REALLY want to be where they are! Let’s face it, although a comparison with prison is admittedly extreme, who really spends their teenage years dreaming of the day when they can finally move out of their parent’s house, go to college, and find a job working as a… temp?

I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb when I say the answer is – nobody! While there are certainly people such as KISS’s Gene Simmons, whose pre-rockstar career included a stint as a Kelly Services temporary, who eventually come to realize there are valuable benefits to their time spent in temporary and contract employment, this probably isn’t something ANY of us dreamed of while wearing a badge or a fireman hat at elementary school career

Nonetheless, there are many benefits to be gained in one’s career, especially at its onset, by spending some time working on a
non-‘permanent’ basis. Here are just a few.

1.) A bridge to permanent employment – According to Staffing Success Magazine, “Virtually all respondents to the 2014 ASA Staffing Employee Survey said that securing a permanent job was important to them, with half (49%) stating that was their primary reason for choosing temporary or contract work. Among those who cited a permanent job as their top priority, 99%
achieved their objective.”

Notwithstanding the fact that nothing in life, especially employment, is ‘permanent,’ the point of the survey remains – the vast majority of people who accept temporary employment with the motive of someday becoming full-time WILL achieve that goal. That is an astounding testament to the fact that, just like the proverbial future CEO who got his break by sweeping stockroom floors for free, there is something to be said for accepting and diligently performing a temporary or contract job (that may be less than you’re qualified for) to show a company just how much they need someone who works as hard and skillfully as you on their full-time payroll.

A fancy, snazzy, well-constructed resume that encapsulates everything an employer would want to know about you – valuable.

Three months of exceptional on-the-job performance demonstrating a high capacity for teamwork, quick learning and problem-solving
– priceless!

 2.) Try before you ‘buy’ – Universally considered a tremendous staffing industry selling point to hiring managers in
need of quality employees, the ‘try before you buy’ concept certainly applies to employees as well. Life is simply too short to work a job we hate. It’s easy to become complacent and stay at a company or line of work simply because changing is outside our comfort zones. Instead of making a long-term commitment to an industry or company you know very little about, why not work there as a temp for a few weeks and see if you like it? If not, give a notice (please, give a notice!) and try something else.

3.) Gain valuable skills – According to the ASA survey mentioned above, “Nearly 90% of staffing employees say temporary or contract work made them more employable.” 62% say they developed new or improved work skills, and 59% say their experience working temporary or contract jobs helped strengthen their resume.

If offered the choice between a very basic ‘permanent’ job or a ‘temp’ job that offers a chance to learn and utilize the skills and abilities that could transition into long-term success, the choice should be an easy one indeed.

4.) Flexibility – This certainly isn’t for everyone, but if someone is looking to work seasonally or off-and-on for certain periods of time, working on a temporary or contract basis can provide just the antidote to the resume-busting appearance of a job-hopper.

Most of us don’t want to be temporaries forever, but the time spent as a temporary can often directly lead to a long and productive ‘permanent’ career.


This article first appeared on Staffing Talk