I often chuckle when reading articles in the business press, or for that matter occasionally in our own publications, that refer to 'temporary jobs' versus 'permanent jobs.' Just where exactly did the term 'permanent job' come from and how long will it take for it to die? Sure, back when a job with IBM meant a job for life, the concept of a 'permanent job' might have had some meaning. Though if you think about it, for most people lifetime employment never was a realistic expectation. Not to mention that lifetime employment still isn't quite 'permanent' either. At least for us mortals.
In the staffing industry, the idea of a permanent job still lingers on, with the concept of 'temp to perm' conversions as well as 'permanent placements.' And in the general corporate world, despite the best efforts of some legal and HR types, 'permanent' still creeps into discussion about jobs.
I invite you to join me in a campaign to eliminate the use of the term 'permanent jobs.' It's a small thing, but a gesture that I think can help realign everyone's thinking about the nature of work and the real difference between typical employment relationships and contingent/temporary work. As a substitute I offer the phrase 'traditional jobs' or depending on my mood, 'inflexible jobs' to connote the stuffiness of the old world of work.
I'm sure a few of you have even better ideas for re-branding the 'permanent job.' If so, send them my way at email@example.com. No job is permanent no matter how much we might wish it to be so. It's time for our language to catch up with reality.