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I’m a big advocate of temp work. Doing temp work for a period of time changed my career direction and ultimately changed my life. It was the best decision I could have made at that time – not that I knew that then.
Let me take you back to 2006.
I was at a career crossroads. I had no idea what I wanted to do. I didn’t understand what I was good at; what types of tasks and responsibilities played to my strengths. I’d spent the last six years working in real estate, which I absolutely loved and was given plenty of opportunity to grow and develop but I needed a change. What else was out there in this big wide world of work? I’d quit my job without another job to go to – not the smartest thing I hear you say. Not everyone can just quit their job and see what happens, I understand that. We all have different commitments and motivations. For me at that time in my life it was a calculated risk. I had minimal financial commitments, I had out grown my real estate job and it wasn’t satisfying me anymore, so instead of staying there until something else came along; becoming frustrated and demotivated, I took the plunge.
When I had finished VCE I had no idea what I wanted to do with my career. I didn’t even know what Recruitment or Human Resources was. I didn’t even know what it was until 2006 when I started looking for my next permanent job. After having searched through The Courier (that’s how you primarily looked for work back then in Ballarat) each Saturday for many weeks, applying for various jobs I found out about recruitment agencies and off I went to register for work opportunities.
Talking to recruitment agencies was a big learning experience. Within a couple of days of registering I was back working. I was working as a temp; not in a permanent position like I had been searching for. Until visiting agencies, I didn’t even know the world of temp work existed. For many months I completed various temp roles. I was happy to give anything and everything a go. I didn’t love or even like all of my temp jobs, some were much better than others but I stuck them all out and this is how temp work changed my life. Temp work changed my life by helping me realise what I did and didn’t like doing. What I was good at and what I wasn’t good at. The interesting thing was that most of the jobs that I thought I’d love were ones that I realised wouldn’t keep my satisfied and motivated long term.
If some of these temp roles had of been advertised as permanent positions I would have of applied for them. And if I had of been successful, I would have realised within a few weeks that I’d made a big mistake. Temp work let me try all different types of positions without committing for the long term to an employer.
Then the best temp assignment of all was offered to me. This temp role was an admin role with the agency, Marshmans HR Services, as it was known at that time. They wanted me to come in and temp for them to help them get through a busy period. It was only four days per week and they didn’t know how long it would go for – they could give me no commitment. What to do!?
I really wanted full time hours and there were other temp assignments on offer that were full time hours and were for longer periods like 3 months plus. However there was something about this temp role that was appealing to me. I took the punt and accepted the temp role with Marshamans HR Services. This was when temp work really changed my life. Within two weeks I was working full time hours and after 3 months I was offered a permanent ongoing position. I was over the moon and that was the start of my career in Recruitment and HR. Who would have ever thought that this is where that 4 day per week short term temp role would lead me.
If I hadn’t of tried temp work who knows where I would be in my career now. I think I would have job hopped through permanent jobs trying to find my niche in the world of work if I hadn’t fallen in to temp work. Temp work definitely taught me a lot about myself. Had I come across a job advert for recruitment or human resources in the paper I probably would have scrolled right past it as at that point I wouldn’t haven known what it was or that I had the potential for that kind of career path.
I was fortunate that the recruiters that I dealt with at the time were able to educate, inform and coach me along the way with different opportunities. They helped me understand the pros and cons of each opportunity, they were honest about the longevity of each assignment, why an organisation had a need for a temp and they educated me on temp pay rates. They helped me make informed decisions. This is what any good recruiter will help you do.
Temp work has a lot to offer and depending on where you are at in your career it may be well worth considering it as an employment option for the short term or long term. Yes, there can be risks with temping (lack of stability and security the primary one) but for me the positives far out weighed the risks. Temping changed my life; it taught me what I was good at and what type of work I liked to do, it gave me experience in a range of small, medium and large organisations, it taught me lots of new skills, it gave me flexibility and best of all it got me a foot in the door to start my career in the recruitment and HR industry.
Could temp work change your life?
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Angela Connor is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource and career coaching companies. She understands the significance of having the right team of people in a business and is passionate about helping business to attract, recruit and engage the right people so those people can inject their talents into the business; creating an environment where they can do great work and love what they do. Find more useful information and advice at www.inspirehq.com.au or by following Angela on LinkedIn.