I got laid off from my job in February 2008 as a legal secretary. Since then, I have found it difficult to find a more “steady” and “permanent” job in this bad economy. You know it’s bad when even lawyers aren’t making money!
However, I found that employers are more willing to hire office employees on a temporary basis. The negative is that you are more vulnerable and can be let go at any time. Also, there are no benefits, e.g., health benefits, paid sick time off, or accrued vacation time. However, there are a few advantages as well. For one thing, if you are willing to work on a temporary basis, you usually can start immediately. Also, I find that I do not get dragged into the office politics. Since I am a temp, I’m usually out of a place before the office politics try to drag me down. For instance, I was at one firm where morale was down and some coworkers were complaining among themselves. Since I was not an employee of the firm, their poor attitudes did not affect me. I knew I was there for a few months just to do my job and I didn’t care to let them pull me down.
By doing temp work, I get the chance to be diversified. I have done lots of different functions in the past months, and it gives me the chance to brush up on my skills. Plus, it builds self-confidence, as I see that I am very adaptable to different office procedures, different cases, different types of law, and also different personality types (coworkers and attorneys). When I temp, it does help pay the bills and I do hope that in the long run, it will make me even more of a valuable employee to a firm when I do eventually get a more “permanent” job.