It’s the feeling of been part of something but knowing you are not exactly a part of this family. The adopted child feeling but sometimes it’s not necessarily so. A couple of people close to me have had to go through this and I thought, it might just help to share some of their lessons learnt and what their views were. But first, why do companies hire temp staff anyways?
- Temporary filling of a role- in case the current staff who does the job has to take a leave of absence, maybe for illness, study leave or maternity.
- A short term project that requires a particular skill set that is rarely needed in the organization- So maybe your niche is very specialized and needed for a project but not particularly a skill set that correlates with the industry.
- The hardest and realest reason is that it saves cost for the company to recruit a temp staff.
- Sometimes, organizations are a bit very particular about whom they hire and their brand so they can offer a fixed term position in other to get the right fit, I personally believe that startup firms should do this. It helps them build the culture of their business and find out what works the best – kind of like dating or courting before marriage.
As much as no one likes to feel like the adopted child, the truth is that these things happen and you might just want to deal with it if it’s your reality. For whatever reasons, if you are considering a contract or fixed term position as people call it; do take note of these seeming disadvantages:
- Depending on the organization you might not get your pension contributions /gratuity or taxes done for you as you would be considered as a contractor – more like a consultant /service provider – and I believe every professional should see themselves as such.
- You may not be offered such ordinary entitlements as vacation pay, benefits and bonuses, training allowances, health insurance and a couple of other work place perks.
However, taking up a contract job or fixed term contract has its perks for you as a mid-level professional too:
- It might be an opportunity to get the much needed experience you so want to add to your expertise in that new career path you are considering.
- It’s a great way to break into a large company, while this is possible, a little warning: It can also be heart breaking when you don’t get in. As much as you desire to – no need getting resentful because a contract is a contract right, the organization didn’t promise you a permanent position remember? So put up a positive attitude!
- You get a chance to increase your professional network. Now, you work with a lot of different teams as “colleagues” and that’s way better than an acquaintance. This is great for your professional brand.
- You can dictate your terms especially if you have been able to package your professional brand and have mastered how to confidently It as a product.
So how do you deal with the experience and still feel fulfilled, happy and content in this reality?
- Speak up about your being available for an open position and don’t just assume they should know you are interested in becoming a permanent staff. This happened to my friend, she worked with a firm where her skill set as a Software consultant was open, and she almost missed it because the organization merely assumed she was satisfied with her role as a consultant.
- Get yourself a health insurance: in Nigeria, most people only have health insurance –popularly called HMO because their work place has this in place for them. I did this for a couple of years too, it was cost effective to do a health insurance for myself and it was not that bad either. There are loads of options that allow you have this as an individual.
- If you are interested in such an investment as pension, do one for yourself; do direct deposits from your salary account. Speak to an investment portfolio person for advice. Invest for the dry days in case they come.
- Be deliberate in your networking- When you leave a temp position, keep the contacts warm. Don’t burn the bridges. Make use of such relationships as your brand evangelists!
- Do an absolutely freaking great job. It’s tempting to want to get disgruntled with the organization especially when you are seeing the perks flying around. End of year can be especially heart breaking – Gifts, bonuses, 13th month salary and other perks can get even the toughest and most matured professional depressed but keep your chin up!
- Waiting to have your contract renewed can get you into anxiety pangs.
Be prepared always! Be on the look for opportunities that you might be interested in outside of the organization. Don’t get carried away with the friendships and the seemingly comfort cocoon you are currently in. A contract is a contract and no one is obliged to renew it. It’s totally the organizations decision. Bitter but hard truth!
- Start to consider the role of a consultant long term; if you are sure you are ready to take on working for yourself, start to brand yourself differently from an employee to a service provider who is willing to help organization solve particular pain problems. Start practicing free-lance in your spear time or collaborate with other consultants to run your own start up.
Whether, you are a temp staff by choice or by commission, or even if you are a permanent staff, decide today that you would happen to your career and have a fulfilling one at it. Hope this helps someone make an informed decision on their career.