In 2014, Harvard Business Review referred to work/life balance as “at best an elusive ideal and at worst a complete myth” but there is one group in the workforce that has found balance in perhaps an unexpected source: temp work.
Some may think of temp work strictly as a wayside on the road to permanent employment, something to do in between “real” jobs, unpredictable or unstable. But a large number of workers today are actively seeking out temp jobs instead of full-time jobs because of the flexibility they offer. You may be on your own for benefits, but before you dismiss temp work as a viable option, consider these ways temp work can help maximize your work/life balance.
Pick your schedule
Most full-time jobs come with standard office hours. Even companies with flexible work arrangements or telecommuting options usually expect you to be available during core working hours. That can make juggling family or personal commitments difficult.
With temp work, you decide which assignments you’ll take on, choosing only those that work with your schedule. Do you need your afternoons free for school pickups or want to have the gym to yourself after the nine-to-fivers head to the office? Temp work allows you to do that.
Unlimited vacation time
With temp work, you choose when you need a break. You can take summers off even if you’re not a teacher. You can take more time off during the holidays or spend a month backpacking across Europe when the mood strikes. You’ll never have to worry about running out of vacation days because you choose how much – or how little – you work.
Overtime on your timeline
When you want to earn extra money for a vacation or big purchase, you can decide to work more to make extra money. Salary caps and overtime restrictions don’t affect you. Pick up extra hours if and when you like.
Temp jobs rarely require overtime, but if you are asked to stay late, getting paid hourly means you’ll be paid extra for it.
You can “switch off”
Anyone with a stressful or demanding job has experienced the feeling of not being able to “switch off” job stress once they get home. That job stress often has a detrimental effect on personal relationships, sleep, and general health and wellness.
Temp jobs rarely come with that level of stress. The work may occasionally be mundane, but you can do your job well and go home. Your career and sense of personal worth aren’t tied up in one career, one employer, or one boss.
You won’t lose out on career continuity
Working parents who attempt to reenter the workforce after taking a few years off to raise children often find themselves victims of the “motherhood penalty.” Just one to two years out of the workforce can result in a 14% decrease in pay. At three years, that penalty could be as high as 46%.
Temp work allows working parents to stay in the workforce, stay up to date on new technology and industry developments, and continue expanding professional networks. The best part? If you choose to look for full-time work down the road, temp work can help you get your foot in the door with a great employer.
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