In today’s evolving job market, you may see people you know taking alternate career paths. Some may even be abandoning the typical full-time job altogether! From freelance creatives to per diem nurses, many professionals are taking advantage of this “gig economy,” and these opportunities are only growing in popularity. In fact, a new study from Princeton found that professionals employed in alternative work arrangements now account for 16% of the American labor force—up from 10% in 2005.
With temporary, consulting, freelance, and contract jobs on the rise, you may be considering whether or not this is the right career path for you. While temporary work is not for everyone, its benefits can suit a variety of lifestyles and goals. Here are some of the main advantages that attract people to temporary work:
You have the control
When you take on temporary assignments, you have more control over the companies you work for. Because of this, you can make a change if your assignment isn’t right for you, and you can find opportunities that allow you to diversify your experience, expose yourself to different management styles, and gain new skills. The ability to continuously change pace and challenge yourself with different temporary positions can be very liberating. Additionally, a great temporary experience has the potential to transition into a full-time position—giving you the opportunity to evaluate the fit before making a long-term commitment.
You’ll have time to pursue your goals
A major reason why many professionals choose temporary work is because it allows them the time to pursue their passion projects—i.e. writing a book or launching a new business. In many cases, these ventures don’t make enough money at the start, and those involved need to supplement their income to make ends meet. As a result, people turn to temporary work as a way to finance their dreams and find the time to work toward their goal.
You can have a flexible schedule
If you need a more flexible working schedule outside of the traditional 9 to 5, temporary work can give you the flexibility you need to maintain a balanced life and a reasonable schedule. For example, those with a demanding side project or family responsibilities are just a couple of types of professionals who can benefit from the ability to choose a role that fits their lifestyle. When you have the ability to work remotely, telecommute, or reduce your hours with a part-time schedule, you can work at the time and place that satisfies your needs.
Your network will grow exponentially
One often overlooked benefit to temporary work is the ability to build a quality professional network. For each new assignment, you have the chance to work with supervisors and peers within your industry who know the quality of your work—plus, they all know other employers who could benefit from your expertise. As you cultivate this network, you’ll have more and more advocates who will contact you for work when they feel you’re a good fit. As a result, these allies can help you ensure you have a new opportunity in line when your assignment ends.