The aim of our five-part series about office support temping in London was so you could hear from someone doing temporary jobs in London who perhaps has a similar background or motivation to you. Missing from our series thus far is what we call the ‘career temp’. The career temp is someone who has actively decided to make a career of temping in London, and only seeks out temporary roles.
It’s important to remember, if you are considering career temping that roles can last up to two years. It’s also vital to understand how temping in London can boost your career and bring benefits which are distinct to permanent positions.
The Career Temp
Charlotte has done an enormous variety of office support jobs in London over a 12 year career. We asked her about her career temping in London.
Why did you start temping?
I initially started as a temporary receptionist when I was in my early twenties. At that time I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I also loved travelling so couldn’t commit to an employer. I guess I wanted a more flexible lifestyle than working 9-5 with only four weeks of holiday a year for the rest of my working life.
What types of roles have you done since then?
All sorts! I stick to office support jobs in London as that’s where I live and what I’m good at. However, within that I’ve done everything from being a PA to an events coordinator as well as an accounts clerk and a customer service agent. The variety is actually one of the things I love about being a career temp.
How long is your average placement?
I usually take placements between 3 months and 9 months in length. I’ve done a single 1 year placement too. Any less than 3 months and I find it too disruptive and I don’t feel I settle in to a routine. More than 9 months to a year and I start getting itchy feet to travel again!
Have you had offers of permanent work?
Yes, I’ve had about five offers of permanent work I think. I’ve been tempted a couple of times but then I start dreaming about my next travel adventure and that always wins out! I also don’t know if I want my skills to become more limited in a permanent role now that I’m very familiar with regularly doing something new and challenging.
Do you think you are better or worse off by doing career temping?
This is a tough question as I’ve never worked in a permanent role to know what I’m missing out on! However, I think that financially this is ideal for me. By doing office support jobs I’m getting a really good wage which enables me to save for travelling. I don’t think it’d work if I was just doing bar work or something like that. I’ve been able to progress and take more challenging (and better paid) work over time as my experience has built. Also, you tend to get more for the same role being a temp than a permanent member of staff. You also still get things like holiday pay, as long as you stick with the same agency. To me, the benefits of flexibility far outweigh anything that a permanent role could give me.
What advice would you give to other career temps?
Choose your recruitment agency wisely as they will effectively be your advocate and your employer. Also, don’t be afraid to stick with temping. If someone had said to me 12 years ago that I could build a career this way, I wouldn’t have believed them, but I’ve done just that and I love it!
Register as a temporary candidate with us and we’ll talk to you about how you can make a worthwhile career out of temping. You lose nothing but have a great deal to gain. What’s more, now is a great time for temping in London.
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