Issue 128, January - February 2005
Freedom and flexibility are cited as the main reasons people choose temporary instead of full-time employment. As a temporary employee, you choose your own hours, days, weeks—even your own assignments; you can work as little or as much as you choose. This situation is ideal for the parent who doesn’t want the pressures or inflexibility of a full-time position.
Some mothers wish they could stay home with small children for at least the first few years, but financial obligations won’t allow it. As a temporary employee, you can work a few months, take a few months off, then start up again whenever you need extra money. Also, because temps are contract workers, they are paid much more than permanent employees with similar positions. With temping, there is no personnel department telling you how you can make plans based on how many vacation days you have left. You deal only with an account associate, whose sole purpose is to get and book assignments based on your schedule.
Becoming a temporary employee is simple. First, you need to register with a temporary agency—but not just any one. The skills you have and the type of company you would like to temp for will, in most cases, determine which agency you register with. For example, if your skills fall under accounting, bookkeeping, record keeping, and finance, agencies such as Pro Staff, Accountemps, and Accountants Inc. are ideal. If your skills fall in the legal field—legal assistant, paralegal, legal secretary, etc.—you should register with agencies that employ temps at law firms and attorney’s offices, such as Special Counsel, the largest legal recruiting agency of its kind. Temporary workers can register with as many agencies as they like and should register with more than one agency. If one agency doesn’t have an assignment for you at the time, or one that fits your needs, you simply call up another agency you are registered with. That gives you more control and flexibility.
Many temporary employees are members of the nonclerical temporary workforce and are employed in the technical, professional, marketing, and medical arenas. They are auditors, sales and marketing professionals, hosts, even nurses. If you like to travel or think you might relocate in a year or two, register with a large agency with offices nationwide, such as Olsten Staffing Group, Griffin Services, and Adecco Staffing. Then, when you move, you can find work without having to reregister. Your old agency has only to fax your application and other paperwork over to your new agency. When you relocate, check your new phone book—many other agencies you might be registered with will have offices in the state you have moved to—or ask your account associate at your current agency if it has an office in the state you’re moving to.
Photo by Laurent Guerin.