Sometimes careers can take an unexpected turn, but it's how you handle it that can determine whether it's a turn that is beneficial, or one that leads you into a career dark hole.
Let's say you get laid off unexpectedly. Or, you have recently graduated and you cannot get a job in your desired field. Perhaps you had a health issue, and took a leave of absence and now you can't get your old job back.
Your first thought may be to join the gig economy and slap an Uber or Lyft sticker on your car or start ferrying food for GrubHub.
But stop for a minute and consider that those kinds of jobs may help you pay the bills in the short run, but don't really do anything to help you get your career back on track.
One option that could prove beneficial while you're trying to get your career back on the right road is temping.
The American Staffing Association reports that staffing companies in this country hire 17 million temp and contract workers every year. Most of them (76%) work fulltime, while 49% of temps say it's a way to get a permanent job. Nine out of 10 report that staffing work made them more employable.
Here are some other things to consider about temp jobs:
- You can learn new skills. If you're an introvert, for example, maybe you find it difficult to talk to people. But taking a job in retail or customer service is a great way to hone those skills that can be an asset in any job. Or, if you're a bit hesitant to use technology, you may be exposed to computers or other technology with a temp job that will boost your confidence and help you learn tech skills that will pay off when applying for other jobs.
- You will grow your network. It's been said for about 70 million years (even the dinosaurs knew it) that it's not what you know, but who you know. Lots of jobs are gained through contacts, or someone putting in a good word about you -- or seeing you do a great job while as a temp. It's going to be much easier to find work you want to do permanently when you're out in the world learning and meeting new people rather than watching "The Price is Right" on the sofa at home and eating Cheetos.
- You may have "aha" moments. Maybe you always thought you wanted to go into a certain line of work, but discovered through temping that it's no longer true. Perhaps you've found a new passion or something you're really good at. Or, maybe you confirm what you definitely do not want to do, and the temping job inspires you to try even harder and explore some new options.
When you're out of work, you may get frustrated and feel like you're never going to get another job. A temp position may be just the ticket to giving you time to think of a Plan B or learn new things that will pay off in the long run.