Temporary or Permanent? Evaluating Employment Options

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When the job market tightens, career options can begin to narrow. Even for those individuals intent on a permanent career, there may be a season or so where circumstances work against you. When people become unemployed, the path back to permanent employment increasingly runs through a gauntlet of temporary or contract positions that offer no guarantees—only opportunities. At least, that’s the way we recommend you look at them. The question becomes – how do you evaluate when it is best to pursue a full-time opportunity or the temporary one?

Following the science maxim that an object at rest tends to stay at rest, the same holds true for your career. Decisions about the type of employment you choose to undertake propels your career forward. But the direction your career moves is based upon those very same choices. When choosing between full-time and temporary employment, it’s essential to consider the conditions driving your short-term personal circumstances and weigh that against your longer-term career goals. Each option presents its own advantages and challenges, so understanding the implications of both can help you make a more well-rounded, fully informed decision.

Consider your personal circumstances, such as family commitments, education, or personal projects. A good start to making an effective career decision is by asking yourself important questions about your personal situation. What type of arrangements do you have to make to go into work each day? How reliable is your transportation to make a daily commute of “x” miles? Is a temporary but well-paying remote work position better for you than a lower paying position where you have to travel each day into the office?

If you have dependents or require a steady income to support your personal lifestyle, full-time employment might be a wise choice. However, if you’re a student, freelance worker, or are pursuing a personal passion project, temporary employment might provide the flexibility you need to manage your other commitments effectively.

Remember, what matters most is finding a professional path that aligns with your values, helps you achieve your short and long-term goals, and brings you fulfillment and satisfaction. By carefully considering the pros and cons of full-time work versus temporary employment, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision and set yourself on a rewarding career trajectory.

Consider your long-term career aspirations. If you’re seeking stability, growth opportunities, and a structured career path, full-time employment might be a great choice. Permanent positions often offer benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off, which can contribute to a sense of security and professional development.

On the other hand, if you value flexibility, variety, and the chance to gain experience in different industries or roles, temporary employment could be a good fit. Temporary positions allow you to explore different career paths, acquire new skills, and build a diverse professional network.

Evaluate your financial situation and obligations carefully. Permanent employment generally offers a predictable paycheck, which can be essential if you have significant financial responsibilities, such as rent, loans, or supporting a family. Additionally, full-time jobs often provide benefits like health insurance and retirement plans, contributing to your overall financial well-being.

Temporary employment can be a viable option if you’re looking for short-term financial stability, extra income, or have flexibility to accommodate fluctuations in income. However, keep in mind that temporary positions typically do not include the same level of benefits or job security as full-time roles.

Consider your preferred work-life balance. Permanent employment generally requires a set schedule and a higher level of commitment. While this can provide structure and routine, it may also limit your flexibility and personal time. If maintaining a healthy work-life balance is a priority for you, temporary employment might offer more flexibility in terms of scheduling and time off between assignments.

Think about your desire for skill development and professional growth. Permanent employment often provides opportunities for training, mentorship, and career advancement within a specific organization. This can be beneficial if you aim to specialize in a particular field or industry.
Temporary employment, on the other hand, offers the chance to gain exposure to different industries, work environments, and skill sets. It can be an excellent option for building a diverse skillset, expanding your network, and discovering new career paths.

Sometimes, a little push is what it takes to properly evaluate your options. It stands to reason that if you’re taking consistent action to appraise and improve what you do and how you do it, you can take the next steps with more confidence.

The problem is that emotions kick in when the next step seems like a bridge too far from where you’re standing—particularly if it’s from a reluctant spot in the opposite type of role you desire to be in. The ability to break down a big decision into smaller manageable components will not only make the decision- making process itself less formidable, it will provide you with peace of mind as you decide what will be best for you.

Ultimately, the decision between permanent and temporary employment depends on your unique circumstances, career goals, and personal preferences. It’s essential to evaluate each option carefully, considering factors such as personal circumstances, financial considerations, appetite for stability, work-life balance, and skill development potential. Keep in mind that your decision doesn’t have to be permanent; you can always transition between the two based on your evolving needs and goals.

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