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Is a Temporary Job ("Temping") for You in Mid-Life?

By Dr. Jan Cannon

If you're unemployed and haven't had an experience as a temporary employee, maybe you should start now.

Mid-career is a good time to examine the work you're doing, and see if it is really what you want.

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Maybe your needs have changed since you were employed. Or you're ready for something different, closer to home, less travel, etc.

This could be the time to make a change, and an easy way to start is by becoming a temporary employee.

It's likely that companies will hire new employees using temps as the economy recovers. Why? It's easier to add to the workforce using temps because, if the need lessens, it's easy to cut temp workers from the workforce.

On the plus side, they can meet potential future employees and "test" them, leading to potential hiring.

So what should you do now?

  • If you have a specialty, join a temp agency that specializes in placements in that area or in companies you're interested in.
  • If you're looking to change career direction, enroll with an agency in the new field you're considering. It's a way to "test the waters" without making a commitment. It's a way to be paid while you're learning about a new field. And it's easier for you to quit if you find you don't like the work.

The pay may not be comparable to what you'd earn in a full-time job, but it can help cover basic living costs if not fund your retirement account. And having social contact can be beneficial to your mental health.

Of course, just like looking for any job, do your research. Find out all you can about the temporary agencies and their clients. Like any business, some are good and some merely OK.  Employers will see you as they see the agency. Make the best choice for yourself.

Bottom Line

Don't forget that you're still seeking a full time job even while you're working for a temp agency. Use your contacts at the agency and the employers to enhance your networking efforts. The more people in your network who can direct you to jobs, the better. Networking is still the best method for finding a new job.

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About the author...

Dr. Jan Cannon, Job-Hunt's Mid-Life Career Expert, is author of Now What Do I Do? The Woman's Guide to a New Career, Find a Job: 7 Steps to Success, Finding a Job in a Slow Economy, co-author of Exceptional Accomplishment, and a career professional for 20 years. Visit her website, JobSearchDoctor.com, and circle Jan on Google+ for more career advice and help.