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What Is A Temp?

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Summary: What the position of ‘temp’ requires and common questions asked about the temporary work field.

What is a temp and is the position right for me?

Job Description:
  • Someone who enters a work situation for a specific period of time—a week, a month, or whatever the arrangement is
  • Someone who maintains the workload until a permanent employee returns
  • Someone who steps in until a suitable replacement can be found for a particular position
  • Someone who lends an extra hand to a project
  • Someone who moves on to help another company when the assignment is completed

“Temp,” is short for temporary workers. The jobs that these workers get involved in are just that, temporary. Therefore, it is an extremely fast-paced, versatile work environment. Jobs and assignments can fall under categories of ‘short-term’ and ‘long-term’ depending on the role the temp is fulfilling.

Most individuals can agree that their basic requirements for their job include: an honest livelihood, job satisfaction, rapport with co-workers, respect from co-workers, feelings of purpose and productivity, and opportunities for personal and professional growth. Other than the defined time factor involved in temporary work, there is little to distinguish a temp from a permanent employee.

Permanent workers receive these basics from a single job, while temps draw from many. But temping goes beyond adding an extra hand. It's also about helping people and being present and applying whatever skills and time necessary to each given assignment.

Common Questions:

Can you feel fulfilled and contribute purpose through these temporary roles?

Yes. Of course this is up to each individual, however, because you are exposed to a variety of situations in a short amount of time, change is constant and creativity and a self-starter attitude is key. Temp work gives you more freedom to create your own success than a permanent job, however, if you do not put in the work, it is far easier to fail as well. 
Aren’t temporary jobs typically random, tedious, for those who don’t have proper qualifications, etc.?

Yes, temporary jobs can be random and tedious and no, they are not for the “under-qualified.” Like previously discussed, there is a significant amount of freedom being a temp worker, but in turn, more responsibility. Therefore, you are accountable for figuring out what your skills are, how much you want to charge for your services, and accept the positions according to the criteria you create. Permanent jobs also have exciting and lackluster tasks, meaning permanent or temporary, this will always be a factor in any position.
Aren’t there less benefits?

Yes and no. There is a lack of paid benefits standard to permanent positions such as vacations, health insurance, and retirement plans. Temporary agencies provide options for some of these benefits, but it is not guaranteed. However, temp work provides emotional benefits because the two key features of this work are flexibility and variety, both of which are rare to non-existent in typical 9-5 positions.

It requires a different way of viewing employment. To most of us, the idea of change is frightening. Instead of allowing it to be an avenue for growth, we see it as an obstacle on our familiar path-especially when applied to something as vital as work. But if we stop to examine even our "permanent" jobs, we realize that many changes and unknowns exist there as well. New policies are established. New products are developed. People come and go. We move from one position to another, from one job to another. By taking this perspective, we realize that we constantly succeed at the change that we are so afraid of!

Temping requires an open-minded approach to employment—temp work offers less stability and routine and more opportunities for growth. This field is not for everyone, but is ideal for those with creative minds and an entrepreneurial spirit.
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