Temp Work: Pros and Cons

Article originally appeared in: Cassidy Education by Ashley Andrews

This article nails it. I started off as a temp worker for Brent International School in Subic when I was a fresh grad (or shall we say, fresh out of med school), and that’s the time I decided when I can actually work as a teacher. That environment was enabling and nice that I actually fell in love with teaching. However, getting a job in that workplace is tough because it takes care of its employees very well that the teachers don’t want to leave. I knew I wanted to be in, and so I worked as a temp as it provided me one step inside the house! Obviously that door led me to other places but I know for sure that if it had not be for temping, I know I won’t be in this place now!

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So, you have just finished your university degree!  You have celebrated with friends and family, it is only now you are realising you’ve spent the last seventeen years or more in a formal educational setting.  Now, you are given the most daunting task in your young life – getting your first job!

Many feel the pressure within a few hours of graduating. I know I did, so I went ahead and interviewed for a few companies, made use of the career centre on campus, but all my efforts were essentially fruitless in my search for the ‘dream job’ — one that would satisfy my passions and set me on the right path.

After several applications and interviews I finally found a job as a temporary employee. One year later, it turned out to be a great way to gain an insight on work environments and it allowed me the time needed to reevaluate career goals. I look back on those times with fondness and no regrets.

In case you find yourself in a similar situation, we at Cassidy Education have put together a list of some of the advantages and disadvantages in taking temporary work.

Advantages

Gain Experience

Temping is a great opportunity to see experience different company cultures and discover what you prefer as an employee. It may be that you work best in a fast-paced environment, hate sitting at a desk or like working with children.Temping is a fantastic way to discover the things you are good at and what you really enjoy doing. You are often exposed to career fields you might otherwise never have known, allowing you to make more informed career choices going forward.

Exposure

Temping can help you gain visibility in a crowded and uncertain job market. Plus, if you are just entering the job market, a temporary job could be one of the best ways to get your foot in the door to a permanent position.

As a temp worker, you’ll be represented and will benefit from our vast contact list and our inside knowledge on who’s hiring and what they’re really looking for.

Permanent Employment Potential

If a permanent role is what you ultimately want, the best thing you can do is be a pleasure to work with.  Once you’re on the job as a temp, the employer gets a chance to see you shine. Don’t be surprised if what started out as a week’s assignment turns into a permanent job offer. When that time comes, you’ll know if this is a company that you want to stay with long-term. You don’t have to accept the offer but if you do, be sure to let your recruitment consultant/agency know.

Take Advantage of the Flexibility

Many temp jobs will be 40 hours a week until your assignment is over, when the assignment ends you have the flexibility and can take some time-off if you want. You can also use this flexibility to continue searching for jobs that fall more in line with your career desires, while building on your experiences, skill sets and of course your all important CV.

Make sure to maintain some contact with your consultant and take the occasional placement to ensure they will want to continue working with and representing you.

Be Qualified

Make sure your job knowledge and technical skills are current and up to date. Now that you are entering the job market, agencies and employers are looking for people with first-rate skills.  You must stay sharp to find employment, including temping, make your best efforts at all times.

Seek ways to increase your knowledge and become a ‘mini-expert’ in your field you’ll want to present yourself as uniquely well-informed. Obtain certifications when available.

A combination of classwork and on-the-job experience is the ideal way to prepare yourself for a new line of work. If you can prove that you have some basic skills, it may be that we place you in jobs where you can work under supervision and further enhance your skill set.

Disadvantages

There’s always a downside:

  • You may feel isolated
  • There is a lack of certainty about income
  • You may not have health insurance, a pension plan, or paid vacations
  • There aren’t many disadvantages to temping – but if you like the security of a regular job and being around a consistent circle of peers, you may find temping unfulfilling.
  • Although temping can be great for building skills and knowledge, there is a  high turnover rate.
  • Full-time employment is NOT a guarantee.

In the end, being a temp worker has both advantages and disadvantages. Soak it all up and we hope this helps you make a decision when you are faced with the opportunity to apply for, accept, or deny a temporary position. Good luck and make the most out of temping and all the advantages it offers!

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Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants?

This article originally appeared in The Guardian

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In the lexicon of human migration there are still hierarchical words, created with the purpose of putting white people above everyone else. One of those remnants is the word “expat”.

What is an expat? And who is an expat? According to Wikipedia, “an expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (‘out of’) and patria (‘country, fatherland’)”.

Defined that way, you should expect that any person going to work outside of his or her country for a period of time would be an expat, regardless of his skin colour or country. But that is not the case in reality; expat is a term reserved exclusively for western white people going to work abroad.

Africans are immigrants. Arabs are immigrants. Asians are immigrants. However, Europeans are expats because they can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. They are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for ‘inferior races’.

Don’t take my word for it. The Wall Street Journal, the leading financial information magazine in the world, has a blog dedicated to the life of expats and recently they featured a story ‘Who is an expat, anyway?’. Here are the main conclusions: “Some arrivals are described as expats; others as immigrants; and some simply as migrants. It depends on social class, country of origin and economic status. It’s strange to hear some people in Hong Kong described as expats, but not others. Anyone with roots in a western country is considered an expat … Filipino domestic helpers are just guests, even if they’ve been here for decades. Mandarin-speaking mainland Chinese are rarely regarded as expats … It’s a double standard woven into official policy.”

The reality is the same in Africa and Europe. Top African professionals going to work in Europe are not considered expats. They are immigrants. Period. “I work for multinational organisations both in the private and public sectors. And being black or coloured doesn’t gain me the term “expat”. I’m a highly qualified immigrant, as they call me, to be politically correct,” says an African migrant worker.

Most white people deny that they enjoy the privileges of a racist system. And why not? But our responsibility is to point out and to deny them these privileges, directly related to an outdated supremacist ideology. If you see those “expats” in Africa, call them immigrants like everyone else. If that hurts their white superiority, they can jump in the air and stay there. The political deconstruction of this outdated worldview must continue.

Mawuna Remarque Koutonin is the editor of SiliconAfrica.com, where this blog was first published. Follow @siliconafrica on Twitter.

Join our community of development professionals and humanitarians. Follow@GuardianGDP on Twitter.

Job Hunting: How To Make Your CV Stand Out

Job hunting is a tedious task, especially if you are tailoring each application for very specific positions. Whilst you have to present your best in a matter of a single (or two) pieces of paper, there are some things that you have to remember when you submit your CV.

They say it only takes 20 seconds for an employer to decide whether your CV is for the bin or not. Unfortunately, that is true. My mother has been an HR Department Head for an international organization for long time in her career, and she confirmed this.

Lucky for me, I got her to teach me how to stand out from the pile of applicants. Here are some things that mama knows, and trust me, even if some of these points seem to be common sense, you will be surprised on the quality of CVs she received.

Use a single, standard photo

Choose a photo that would be your default one, no matter how you’re tailoring your job hunt is. You don’t need to stand in front of a black board if you’re applying for a teacher, or behind a shop counter if you wanted to participate in sales. Choose an ID picture quality photograph because that’s what it is – identification. Boring white background for the picture? You bet. It’s the first thing that the employer sees so you better make the right impression.

Use a professional-sounding email

If your email is cottontail55@yahoo.com, well, employers will think that you don’t make an effort to be professional, or at least, change from personal to work email, which is worse. You’re definitely not making a good impression here.

Research on the company you’re working for

At this point, you’ll show dedication and resourcefulness to your future employer then. Tailoring your cover letter is a serious task so do some research on the company, on your head of office. Figure out how you can link your skills and experiences so that you know you’re a perfect fit. Be personal and use the name of the person you’re addressing to rather than stick to the usual “Dear Sir/Madam”. It all helps.

Practice brevity

Keep it short and sweet, as employers don’t have time for bullshit – they don’t need to know you’ve won Spelling Bee 2003 in Barangay Santa Cruz. Make sure the information you put in is relevant and job-related. Make it easier for the employer to have a one page CV and letter. My mom says CV is like a trailer of the movie – the interview is the more important part to decide if you’re a perfect fit.

Attach files

And also, name it correctly. I am guilty of this. After spending A LOT OF TIME tailoring my cover letters, I sometimes forget to attach my CV. I am so lucky that gmail has that command to remind you if you forgot to attach something. Helps a lot!

That’s it. Short and sweet so as not to take your time if you’re looking for a job. Good luck!