In my younger years, I really did not have a clear idea of what career I would find myself in.
I liked the newspaper business a lot. I also liked publishing and media. But I was young and still years from really having that much control over my own career mobility, let alone properly landing a career.
So to pay the bills, as they say, I temped. A lot.
I had all sorts of temporary jobs. Data entry clerk for a book publisher. Data entry clerk for an electric company. Filing clerk in an insurance company. Dispatcher in the traffic department in a dairy company. A/P clerk for a mousetrap factory. Machine operator in a water bottle factory. Cycle counter at a warehouse. Subscription sales for a newspaper. Receptionist for a multi-national company. Photo shoot organizer. All of these assignments lasted less than 8 weeks.
I have often thought about how these experiences prepared me for being an HR consultant. In temping, there’s an assignment. It has an end. You gain experiences you can apply elsewhere. Sometimes you have to work hard with little reward or recognition. Sometimes you get training. Sometimes you get independence. Sometimes you get to work in silence. In all the jobs, there are the dregs. You can see how work is done elsewhere and bring ideas. You make many acquaintances.
I got to see what I liked and did not like to do. I learned that accomplishment is important to me. I learned that I liked to try things without an expectation of a big time commitment. I learned that I really did like and want to work.
More important, I learned that some HR applicable skills are hard to gain without varied work experience. Understanding the pecking order in different circumstances. Learning how to write descriptions and evaluate jobs. Learning how the business operates. Understanding the market for different types of jobs.
If you are struggling to find your way in HR, think about temping first.