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As the job market tightens, the options for those on the outside looking in continues to narrow. By and large, the path back to full-time employment increasingly runs through a gauntlet of temporary or contract positions that offer no guarantees—only opportunities—at least, that’s the way you’ve got to look at them. And yet, just as an object at rest tends to stay at rest, the same holds true for your career.

Sometimes, a little push is what it takes.

From an intellectual standpoint, it stands to reason that if you’re taking consistent action to appraise and improve what you do and how you do it, there should be little concern in taking the next step. Problem is, the emotions kick-in when that next step seems like a bridge too far from where you’re standingparticularly if it’s from a reluctant spot in a part-time role.

Still, there’s a quite a crowd that now shares that space. A recent McKinsey Global Institute jobs survey suggests 58% of employers expect to hire more part-time, temporary or contract workers in the near future.

Given those circumstances, it’s become commonplace for even far-above-average wage earners to see their take home pay dip to uncharacteristically low levels. Perhaps the key to getting through it to follow the advice of Admiral James Stockdale, who spoke of the perseverance he needed to survive confinement as a former prisoner of war:

“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they may be.”

Here are four guidelines for turning present realities into future probabilities:

  • Get your mind right and the body will follow. Maintaining a positive attitude is absolutely critical if you want to survive, much less thrive in a new place of employment. In that regard, when you do more than what’s expected, soon you’ll be expected to do more—which, in this case, is a very good thing. It shows professionalism and conveys that you’ve been in the end zone before. 
  • Be punctual and present in everything you do. If arriving on-time matters, getting there ten minutes ahead of time is imperative, especially for new employees. For starters, it shows dedication that often goes noticeably missing from certain salaried personnel who seldom remain nameless. Also keep in mind the simple wisdom that “the person who isn’t in the room is the one who gets talked about first.”
  • Make the next thing you do better than the last thing you did. Keep a mental inventory of the work you submit and take care to compare. That great job you did on the project from last week doesn’t carry water for very long in light of what’s happening now. There’s a positive work habit that comes from holding yourself to higher standard. In time, it becomes reflexive and easily reproduced even under pressure.
  • State your case, but let your actions on the job do the talking. Be clear about what you want by being straightforward in what you do. A post from The Job Network advises that people who take on temp assignments should attempt to make the company envision them as hires who can build in value beyond their immediate job descriptions. In any estimation, that shows growth potential and underscores the upside of any candidate.

Of course, it goes without saying that being friendly and even-tempered are indispensable qualities for anyone hoping to move on from temp-to-perm status. In truth, your next stop depends on where you start.

TempExperts can help you get there from here.

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