Working as a Temp

One of the best decisions I made as a college student was signing up with Office Team, a temp agency. I only had a couple months of experience in an office, so all of my applications were ignored, but I desperately needed a job that paid more than minimum wage otherwise I wouldn’t be able to afford to pay for Emerson that year. I had just come back from a poorly budgeted (but amazing) semester abroad and I was completely broke. I did a paid internship, but as the end of the summer neared I had barely any savings and an expensive school bill.

I went in for an interview with a recruiter, who, despite my lack of experience, assured me he would begin finding me a job. The interview was almost a month before I needed a job, but he started calling me with temp opportunities within a week. Waiting worked out much better for me though, because I got a stable job at TCI America that not only gave me a lot of experience in administrative work, but also exposed me to sales and marketing.

Temp agencies sometimes get a bad rap, because you often get paid less than you would as a regular employee and there isn’t often job security. I know that I got really lucky with my placement at TCI America, but I think there are lots of benefits to working for a temp agency, especially a college student or recent graduate.

The average entry level position often requires more experience than possible for someone who just graduated college, so finding a job can take months. During that time, a lot of those job seekers can’t afford to be out of work, so they get by on minimum wage jobs. Working for an agency until you find a job is a great idea, because you would most likely be making more than minimum wage and since it’s not often a long-term job, it’s easy to leave when you find the job you’re looking for.

There is a chance that a position will end before you’re ready, which is one of the main risks of temporary work. However, the agencies always have lots of listings, because businesses like to hire through temp agencies. Temporary employees are much easier to hire, because the agency deals with interviewing, background checks, reference checks, payroll and more. I interviewed for my position at TCI America, but I don’t think that’s common in most temporary placements. If you do lose your job before you’re ready, the agency will work hard to find you another job, because they only make money from you if you have a job.

I’ve worked in a couple different stores, and while working in a store or restaurant makes you great at dealing with people and handing multiple projects at once, office experience gives you an edge in the professional world, especially if you’re missing some of the other experience the job you want requires. Overall, I had a great time at TCI America. Even though the position was a lot of hours, I got great experience and made enough money to get through my school year.

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