Two Types of Temporary Employees

Two Types of Temporary Employees

This is the second in a series of articles on temporary employees

Previous articles in this series

Don’t Undervalue Yourself as a Temporary Employee

Definition of Temporary Employee Types

Before we get too far into the discussion it’s important we clarify or define the term temporary employee.

As the name implies a temporary employee is someone who works a job for a temporary period. This period could be a day, a few days, weeks, months and for some even years. Temporary employees may be unskilled or very skilled. Many are even professionals: engineers, scientists, project managers and computer professionals.

Temporary Employees Come in Two Basic Flavors

When I say temporary employees come in two flavors what I mean is some temporary employees are problem solvers or troubleshooters. They see a problem, come in, fix the problem and then leave. They aren’t looking for a long-term assignment; they are looking for the challenge, the adrenalin rush. Once they fix they problem they are on the prowl for the next challenge and then the next. Very often they have a specialized skill set making them a very valuable asset to organizations.

The second flavor of the temporary employee is the one when they get on an assignment they want to fit in and stay. They aren’t looking for change or challenge. When they take a temporary assignment, many want assignments which offer the possibility of converting from a temporary employee to a permanent employee. Even if they do not convert from temp to perm; their goal is to stay on with an organization for as long as possible. They want to be a fixture in the organization. Frequently as they see an assignment ending they will contact the people they have met internally looking for another project to prolong their stay.

Which Type of Temporary Employee Are You or Do You Want To Be?

To be successful in either flavor you must understand your personality, motivators and desires. Are you looking for security and consistency? Then you will most likely have the greatest success in a more permanent temporary position. In many ways you will be the temporary agency’s favored employee because you make their job easy and keep their costs low.

If you are looking for new opportunities, the thrill of the next challenge; then you want the short assignments focused on accomplishment and then getting out and on to your next adventure. It’s important you understand what drives and motivates you for you to be happy and for you to excel as a temporary employee.

Being a temporary employee can be rewarding and a great opportunity to do what you want to do. Knowing the type of temporary employee you want to be; can make it even better!


Tom Staskiewicz writes on employment issues and has a special interest in temporary work. With over 15 years experience as a temporary employee working for multiple agencies and businesses he has a great perspective on what it takes to be successful as a temp. He has negotiated better starting pay and periodic raises for himself and others as temporary employees. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Like me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Check out the website Temporary Employees for more ideas and to sign up for his Temporary Employee Newsletter.

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