SI Review: March/April 2014

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The Other Side: Growing Up

Temporary work opens doors for high school grad

By Devin Macias

I didn’t choose the traditional path after graduating from high school. My goal is to work in the music industry. With the way the music industry has evolved in the past decade, it is very difficult to find a self-sustaining job even with a four-year degree. Nowadays, it is all about who you know. So, despite having a respectable 3.6 GPA, I decided not to go to college.

My parents didn’t have an issue with my choice. In fact, they were very supportive. But what they didn’t want was me living at home for free. Their mandate: find a job within six months or move out. So, I started looking for a job quickly! And here’s where my staffing firm has been a godsend.

The Search

My parents helped by reaching out to their own connections asking about any openings. And I talked to friends and reached out to staffing firms, which turned out to be the best thing for me. Three months after graduation, I accepted a temporary data-entry job through a staffing firm. I was able to make my car payment and start to pay my parents rent. I wasn’t about to turn down any job. At 18 years old, I was just happy to have an income.

I really enjoyed the position, the people were nice and the café in the office building was a great place to eat. I admit I was hoping the company would decide to take me on as full-time employee, but its budget didn’t allow them to keep me on past the holidays that first year. I was disappointed, but before I knew it, I had another (temp) position lined up.

I approached this next assignment with a more open mind, knowing that it could end at any time. This turned out to be a one-year assignment. And when I completed it, it was on to a new job and new people.

Ups and Downs

I’ve come to appreciate working with temp agencies. It doesn’t take long before the next assignment is waiting for you. The firm I’ve been working through looks for positions that accommodate my schedule and needs. I can get full-time work if I ask or just part-time. I know my recruiters will always try to find the best job for me based on that and my qualifications.

It does have its downside. It can be tough to work at one company for a long time and then have to say goodbye to friends and colleagues when the assignment comes to an end. Sometimes the work may not be exciting or particularly challenging, and some days it can start to feel a little monotonous.

But there are great perks, too. The most obvious is that I’m building a body of experience. Experience and résumé notwithstanding, there have been unexpected benefits as well. My staffing firm offers medical benefits and vacation time. So for right now, for me, being “the temp” is a good thing. And the assignment I’m on has been great so far. The main reason I decided to go with temporary work is because of my passion for music. And that can be an untraditional career path. Temp work provides a great way to build a portfolio and develop a decent list of contacts (that you can hopefully tap) while simultaneously being able to support oneself. What’s not to like? And maybe in this process, I will not just support myself but come upon someone who can give me a leg up in my chosen career — the music industry.

Devin Macias can be reached at kiedislovak@yahoo.com

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