Simply stated, yes. Temporary employment can be your permanent career.
Whether or not it should be is another story–and that answer isn’t so easy because it all depends on you.
As military spouses, we have to be on our toes at all times, using innovative ideas and some age-old, forgotten techniques to create our careers. They won’t just fall into our laps–if they did, everyone would have one. Temp work can be a valuable resource in your career toolkit, but not enough spouses look to this type of employment as a viable option for meaningful work.
On a cautionary note, I typically don’t advise people to rely only on temp work as a full-time career. I have found it is much more effectively used as one strategy in a series of job searching techniques, and also in specific situations, which I address below.
When To Consider Temp Work as a Military Spouse
So, when should you consider temp work?
1. When you are having a hard time getting or finding employment
During a recent flight, I sat between two high level executives in the fashion industry. We got to talking about red flags they see on job applications, and one of the big ones was gaps in employment. Military Spouses might just know a few things about that.
By applying for work at a temp agency, you are tackling the job search from a new approach, increasing your odds of finding employment sooner. You can continue to search for jobs on your own, but you will also have the temp agency working for you (and don’t forget they have established relationships with companies already)! Of course, you have to be available to actually work when they find you a position!
2. When you want to explore a new career field, industry or profession
I hear a lot of military spouses say they are going back to school because they can’t find a job. While this is a great way to fill gaps in employment, it can be a waste of time and money if you aren’t really sure you want to work in the field you are studying.
Many of the same military spouses going to school tell me that they choose a certain program of study because it’s portable–not because they enjoyed it or new they’d like it. I would advise spouses to try the field out with temp work prior to committing to a degree or certificate that you may never use.
New career exploration tip: Think about exploring a new career field, industry, or profession in terms of what you tell your kids when they don’t want to try a new food–how can you know you will like it (or not like it in this case) if you don’t try it first?
3. When you have more employers than years of work on your resume
Remember those execs I mentioned earlier? Well, the biggest “no-no” they mentioned was job hopping (another hand to forehead moment for Military Spouses). This got me thinking even more about the value of temp work. When employed by the temp agency, even if you “work” at 10 different locations, you have just one employer.
While you want to demonstrate the skills you developed at each job on the resume, you have consistency because you are employed by just one company. Another tip is to find an employment agency with nationwide locations to increase the odds that you can stay with that agency if you PCS in the midst of work–then you can continue to be employed by the temp agency, even in spite of the move.
5. When You Know You’ll Only Be Stationed Somewhere for a Year …or Less
My husband and I are currently stationed at a post where the typical length of assignments is 1 year or less. As a result, most of the military spouses here struggle with whether or not to seek employment.
In an age when it can take 6 months or more to find a job, it may seem pointless to spend the time searching for employment. In such instances, temporary and contract work provide the perfect way to remain employed, but not have to worry about leaving a job in a short time. You determine the duration of your assignments, whether you take an opportunity or not, and if you want to work part- or full-time.
Are you considering temp work? Check out our 9 resources to get you connected with legit temporary and freelance opportunities!