THE ART OF THE POSSIBLE
A lot of people we talk to are finding it hard to get their careers back on track after experiencing redundancy in the current downturn. Good jobs are thin on the ground and, when they do come onto the market, they attract large numbers of applicants. And whilst it is possible to learn how to engage and overcome competition, no one is pretending life out there at the moment is anything other than difficult.
What is worth noting though is, even in times like these, there is a relative abundance of jobs in what we once used to call the complementary or flexible workforce i.e. temporary, short-term or assignment-based jobs of various descriptions, some of them poorly-paid, some self-employed and some working for agencies. At first sight someone who has just been displaced from, say, a management post might see such jobs as beneath them. But before writing off the complementary sector perhaps they should pause to reflect particularly when the alternative is sticking out for a job like the one they’ve just lost and finding it’s harder than they thought. Particularly when their funds are running low and the bills keep coming in.
Though on the face of it temp jobs don’t seem to have much going for them they can offer a way into organisations by the back door. Typically you get sent along by an agency because there is a short-term need for someone and you happen to fit the bill. As long as you can do the job there are usually not too many questions and you certainly won’t be up against hundreds of other applicants all jostling for the same position.
But once through the door you have an opportunity to attack the organisation from the inside and, take it from us, you will find this far easier than presenting yourself as an external applicant i.e. a complete unknown and when there will be other faces in the frame (not just yours).
Take the case of Simon, a Logistics Manager, who lost his job and found temporary work as an HGV driver Simon made a point of impressing everyone with his work ethic then, with his reputation as the star temp driver established, he succeeded in making a case for giving him a chance to prove himself in a management role. We used Simon to illustrate the art of the possible which, in the context of career management, is the art of using what’s there (in Simon’s case temp jobs) and making it work for you.
Okay, perhaps Simon struck lucky but, even if he hadn’t, he still had money coming in which helped him with some of his outgoings. So the message is, if you’re out of work and finding it tough, don’t turn your back on the temp market. It can be a way of getting your foot in a door which would otherwise remain closed. Working as a temp can also provide you with some interesting insights which may surprise you. You won’t know till you try it.