Five Reasons Why Taking a Temp Job Kick-Started My Career
Sometimes, taking an unexpected opportunity can lead you exactly where you need to be. Read this if you need some inspiration to step outside your comfort zone!
It was mid-November; about a solid six months into my post-graduate unemployment spree, and I was beginning to grow restless. After mourning the loss of the social, academic, and professional circles whose presences became almost second-nature to me, I felt as though I was at a crossroads. My familiar college routine was finally starting to dissipate, and I was ready to forge into new territory in a bigger city.
After lots of interviews, networking meetings, and full-time opportunities that were so close to coming into fruition (but ultimately ended with no job offer), I received an unexpected email from one of the temp agencies I was working with. They asked if they could submit my resume to a startup company that needed to fill a customer service position, and, without over-contemplating the decision, I told them to go for it. The days that followed included a very positive phone interview, almost instantaneously leading to a formal offer for me to start two days later.
After spending half of a year devoting my energy to finding the “perfect” opportunity — and nothing less — I found myself unsure of whether or not I should accept this offer. I knew I wanted to start my career in a writing-related field, so this was completely out of my area of study. However, this job would be a way for me to get started in New York City and create a new routine for myself as a working professional, so I ultimately made the Hail Mary decision to take the position.
Now that my six weeks at the job have concluded, I can genuinely say I’ve learned some valuable life lessons that have bettered me as a person. I can also say that, while working at my temp job, I was offered a full-time position in my field with another company that I admire immensely, and I feel even more grateful for it because of my temping experience.
Now that my time at my temp job has come to an end, I’d like to share some findings I’ve gathered while at this role, and hopefully inspire others to consider the benefits of temping, too. Some of the best things in life come about when we take a step back from tedious planning and do something out of our own comfort zone, and with that, here are Five Reasons Why Taking a Temp Job Kick-Started My Career:
1. I got a trial run in experiencing a specific company’s culture
In college, I learned a lot about company culture and how it contributes to the overall success of the organization. However, it was hard for me to completely understand what this entailed, because my experiences in the corporate world were very limited — the extent of my exposure being short-term internships with little time spent in the office.
By spontaneously being thrusted into a professional setting by way of my temp job, I was able to observe how a specific company operated, and take stock of what I liked and didn’t like about its unique culture. I was also lucky enough to get experience at a startup company, which is typically a very different work experience than that of a larger corporation. If you have the opportunity to take a temp job in a field or area that is completely different from what you’re used to, then I would recommend doing it, because the only way to truly know what your preferences are is to be exposed to them firsthand.
2. It verified the fact that I actually love working in New York City
Immediately post-graduation, I found myself unsure of — quite literally — my next move. I had always imagined myself moving out West, but was unsure of the suitable timing for me to take that leap. Because I grew up in a New Jersey suburb, I had my preconceived ideas about New York City, as any tourist would. However, once I got into the groove of working in the city almost every single day, I realized how much I truly loved its energy, and how it made me feel like anything was possible (we won’t discuss the ever so distinct subway odors for right now, but that is just part of NYC’s charm).
Finding my footing in NYC was much easier when I knew that my job was only temporary. It was a low-commitment way for me to ease my way into a new place and see if I truly fit in there, and, within a few weeks time, I knew that I really did. If you’re unsure of what city you see yourself in, temping is a great way to get a glimpse of what your life could be like in a specific place. If you don’t like it, there’s no loss, but if you do like it, then you may find yourself a new place to call home!
3. I’ve gained new friends in my incredibly passionate and welcoming co-workers
Co-workers in any work setting share a special bond; when you really think about it, seeing someone eight hours per day for five days a week is more than some people see their actual family members! However, I found temping to be an extremely heightened experience in this sense. Unlike a traditional full-time job, temporary work always comes with a finite end date, and it typically attracts people that are in between different projects, jobs, or even phases in their lives.
Before starting my job, I would have never expected to meet such passionate, inspiring, and friendly co-workers who each had their own story to tell. Knowing that behind these faces typing on the computer and answering phone calls were actors with goals to make it big in Hollywood or on Broadway, producers who hoped to one day see their movies on the big screen, and creatives that wanted to positively change the world with their art was incredibly inspiring to me. Meeting such wonderful and goal-oriented people made me want to come to work every day and be better myself; and for that reason alone, I will always cherish my temping experience.
4. It pulled me out of a rut and forced me to acclimate myself to a new lifestyle
As I mentioned earlier, I thought that I had to find the “perfect” job opportunity to step into right after college, and was extremely hard on myself when that inevitably didn’t happen. Instead, I was faced with months of monotonously applying for jobs alone, without truly living my life. It wasn’t until I accepted my temp job on a whim that I started to come back into myself again and find a new sense of purpose.
Although we choose to steer away from mentioning the realities of this situation, life immediately after college can be TOUGH. The entire identity that you crafted for yourself over the course of four years feels like it got pulled out from under you, and starting anew can be incredibly daunting. I always thought a “dream job” would be the thing to pull me out of my rut and put me back on my feet again, but, truthfully, what I needed was a community of people who understood what I was going through. Getting into a routine of working made me feel so much more confident in myself, and gaining new friends in the process helped me imagine what my life will look like in the months to come — and it’s actually looking pretty great.
5. It greatly humbled me by teaching me to work hard despite knowing the outcome
The culture of academia makes us believe that we are unsuccessful if we are not working towards something tangible: a grade at the end of the semester, a promotion, or some sort of accolade. While all of those are great benchmarks, I’ve quickly realized that life post-college is a lot less structured. There are a lot less people that are actively checking in with you to make sure you’re putting the work in, and, instead, you have to take on that role for yourself.
I took my temp job at a time when I was at a complete standstill in my life: I had gotten rejected from a number of jobs, went through a confusing period in my life, and was yearning to put the skills I learned in college to use. Little did I know that this spur-of-the-moment decision would bring me purpose, joy, friendship, hope, and — exactly what I was searching for the whole time — a full-time job offer at a wonderful company. Despite all of this, I realized that the job offer itself wasn’t what made me feel whole — it was all due to the fact that I decided to put myself out there again and try something outside of my comfort zone. Once I stopped searching for the opportunity, it found me.
I hope this article reassures anyone — not even just those that have recently graduated college — that the times of standstill in our lives are what breed the most rewarding outcomes. If taking a temp job or pursuing an experience different from what you thought you wanted is what it takes to pull you out of a rut, then by all means, take the opportunity! You never know what you’ll find — or who you’ll find — on the other side of it all.
Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com. For more articles like this, please feel free to check out my personal blog, RawReveries.com