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Is Taking Temporary Employment Worthwhile?

Many companies hire additional temporary cashiers during peak seasons.
Taking a variety of temporary assignments may reduce the risk of boredom and job burnout.
Caterers may hire additional food service workers to cover large events.
Laid-off workers may benefit emotionally and financially from temporary employment.
People might take on a temporary employment to earn money doing something they love.
Temporary employment could show a willingness to work on job applications.
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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2014
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At first glance, the answer to this question may appear obvious. Any form of gainful employment, even temporary employment, is widely considered preferable to prolonged unemployment. In certain real world circumstances, however, the benefits of temporary employment may not outweigh the negatives. Many people find temporary work to be very beneficial, since both employee and employer understand the temporary nature of the job and there is far less concern over a unexpected lay-off or firing. Others may find it to be little more than a stop-gap exercise, only temporarily staving off the effects of unemployment.

Temporary employment is still considered employment, which means an unemployed worker's benefits may be affected by the additional income. Under certain circumstances, unemployment benefits may be calculated according to the last work performed, not necessarily the last permanent employer. This means if a laid-off factory worker accepts a temporary job that pays minimum wage and then becomes unemployed again, his or her unemployment benefits may only be based on the lower wages of the temporary position, not the higher wages of the factory job. Some workers may find it more beneficial to remain on unemployment rather than work a temporary job for less money.

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There are those who do benefit from temporary employment, however. Some people become very frustrated while performing the same job duties over and over again. Working for a temping agency often means taking on a number of different work assignments for short periods of time, therefore reducing the chances of boredom or job burnout. For those just entering or re-entering the job market, this type of employment can help entry-level workers become familiar with an office or factory work environment before seeking more permanent employment. Demonstrating a strong work ethic or exceptional aptitude while temporarily employed can help a person stand out if the company decides to hire a permanent employee.

Some laid-off workers may benefit mentally and emotionally by seeking temporary employment rather than rely on unemployment benefits. When permanent jobs become scarce, some people become completely discouraged and can spiral downwards into depression. Working a temporary job, no matter how menial the task or how overqualified the worker might be, can help some people stave off feelings of worthlessness or unemployability they may experience following a firing or lay-off.

For those on a dedicated job quest, the question of accepting temporary employment can be complicated. Time spent working on a temporary assignment is generally time not spent looking for more suitable employment. Scheduling a job interview or traveling out of town on a wider job search may prove difficult while working at a temporary job. Fortunately, many modern job seekers can take advantage of online job application websites and electronic resumes to continue a permanent job hunt while still working temporarily.

Some people find that temporary employment in their field is a good way to learn new skills, which would be very beneficial during an interview for a permanent position. Employers generally consider any effort to stay active in the field to be a plus. Again, this benefit should be weighed against any potential loss of benefits.

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anon280708
Post 8

I'm currently being cheated by the DOL (NY) because I worked a temporary job. I stopped claiming benefits while I worked (as directed by DOL). When the assignment ended (six weeks), I once again filed for benefits (still had a valid claim).

Instead of getting the money, I was told I had to wait to receive, complete and return a questionnaire. Three weeks later, I'm still waiting. I took the job hoping it would turn into something permanent and get off the unemployment roles.

I don't understand why I'm being penalized. The job paid little more than unemployment, but I really wanted to "do the right thing." I went down to DOL office for assistance/answers(the ones who told me to take the job) and got absolutely no help. I called the phone number (many times -- very difficult to reach a human), and was told I have to wait. I am hoping to receive something before my rent is due.

anon250500
Post 7

I recently held a permanent position, but the job was not at all what I wanted to do and the company was a small company with few benefits and no organization in place. They paid me next to nothing to do everything that no one wanted to do and had neglected to do since they started the business.

Because I have temped a lot, I knew how to do so many things to help this company in a short amount of time. After I had been there for a while and had spoken to those who had worked extremely hard and were not rewarded for their work and longevity financially, I realized that the hourly pay would be what it was as long as I was there, no matter how hard I tried and that there was no financial growth for me, but increasing responsibilities and considerable stress. Also, with little or no communication throughout the company, there were financial problems on a small scale (which may eventually lead to ones on a bigger scale). I could not save this company from itself. It was a mess and I would not "settle" for this and become a part of the "disorganization". I would rather work through the agencies any day, where I get paid every week, can work with a large, organized, respected company in a clean environment, and be considered for permanent employment within that organization, which usually means a 401k, better health insurance and other benefits if I need them.

The agencies can get you a "foot in the door" for the bigger companies (who often have their acts together a bit more) that only hire from the inside. It's worth the hassle to apply and they look for you and promote you for jobs, where your resume alone might not.

Since job stability in this economy is a thing of the past for so many, why not temp and get weekly pay and learn new skills? It's been the way I've paid my bills for years and I don't regret it. I would suggest to anyone to try it, especially if they are a college grad who cannot find a job in their field of study.

anon160433
Post 6

The most obvious argument for temping is not put here. The one where it is actively sought by choice. The permanent job offers a fixed skills base and predetermined promotional prospects. The temp can pick up skills from various sources with a different emphasis.

The contract job can be a godsend to someone within an industry area (like acting/creative arts) where the opportunities are few and far between and the rent needs to be paid. It can and does provide the necessary whilst the desirable is sought.

anon159242
Post 5

It is always difficult to get an appropriate job for one's qualifications straightaway. So people can apply for any job in a particular specialty may be as a temporary or to cover temporarily for absent individuals due to sickness or to cover maternity or paternity leave, which is very well worth doing over being unemployed. It may also give the chance to impress one's skills to the employer albeit temporarily.

This sort of situation is common in every field of employment and should not be neglected.

comfyshoes
Post 4

Crispety-I think that even a temporary job is worthwhile because it also keeps yours skills current and shows your willingness to work.

When someone is unemployed for a long time, it really makes them undesirable candidates for future employment because employers start to wonder why the person has not found a job in such a long time.

Employers can look upon temporary work even favorably. Something is better than nothing.

Crispety
Post 3

GreenWeaver-I understand that sometimes a temporary job might reduce future unemployment benefits, but it could also yield you a full time job or a valuable contact in the future.

Sometimes taking the chance is worthwhile because it will open up your world to additional possibilities.

You might even befriend someone who at a later date knows someone that is hiring. The key to becoming gainfully employed is to seek out other people.

Joining professional organizations and online networking sites like LinkedIn make a world of difference when you are looking for work. Social networking sites like Facebook can also help people from your past find you and get reconnected.

If you let these people know that you are looking for a job, you have yet another opportunity. In the meantime, you should consider temporary contract employment and work with a temporary employment staffing company.

GreenWeaver
Post 2

Cafe41-I know that many people see a temporary job employment as limited, but many people that held temporary positions were actually hired by the client because they demonstrated a superior work ethic.

This is known as Temp to Hire. Sometimes that even happens on the contract side where the client is interested in hiring the contractor permanently. However, the temporary job contract outlines the relationship between the client, the contractor and the staffing company.

On all contracts the staffing company has to negotiate the arrangement for the client company to hire the contract worker. The contractor can never solicit full time employment from the client; otherwise if would put many temporary employment companies out of business.

For example, if you went to Adecco temporary employment staffing company and the client would want to hire you, there will be verbiage on your contract as to what the client pays if this is a temp or hire.

If is a project based assignment then it is negotiated because usually project contractors go on to another project when they finish and traditionally do not seek permanent employment.

cafe41
Post 1

Temporary services employment has come a long way since the days of finding a Girl Friday for clerical assignments.

Many temporary employment contract companies offer professional assignments for their clients. Often these assignments are on an ongoing and renewable contract.

For example, Robert Half International does have a temporary staffing division in the clerical field called Office Team, but it predominately concentrates on professional opportunities.

For example, its Management Resources division offers project, temporary and full time positions in the areas of finance and accounting. Sometimes these project positions are long term positions that last years.

They also have a legal division that offers project, temporary and permanent staffing of lawyers, legal secretaries and paralegals.

They also have a technology division that offers jobs from a PC technician to a high level programmer or project manager or MIS Director.

Many of these positions are project based and the contractors prefer it because they make more money on contract and the staffing company offers them health benefits along with educational opportunities.

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