Temp workers have it tough. If you define "temp" as not having a regular pay check or benefits, then I've been temping since the late 1980s. Corporate America went on a downsizing spree and that was that for climbing the ladder.
What I have been doing since is pushing for more and better assignments. And I have had a number of astute job coaches to thank for teaching me the ropes. During The Great Recession they nudged me out of low-paying dead-end niches like journalism and glutted ones like social media. When they were through with me I was back in executive communications.
TIME has a wrenching article about the majority of today's temps. For many there's little assurance they will get work.
I have found out that the shut-out includes unemployed lawyers. That shouldn't be. That won't be if they learn to master and excel at the temp game. Those with experience in business can step forward and volunteer about five hours a week to pitch in with the how they can get their act together.
In business we call what they gotta learn to do is "create value." That is, they must do more than the job requires and have the powers that be aware of what's being added. For example, the temp stocking shelves in the big box might suggest to management a more efficient way. The lawyer doing document review offers to stay all night for the emergency. The personal care assistant develops a caring relationship with the elderly woman's family. The security guard agrees to just-in-time scheduling.
That gets them noticed. The agency requests them. They develop sterling references for other assignments.
Not all the ways to create value are pretty. When I was down and out in 2004 and doing loss prevention in Home Depot, one temp got a full-time job by being a snitch. I couldn't blame him. That's an option open, of course.
Any organization whose mission helps temp workers can contact me for five hours of volunteer work (Jane at firstname.lastname@example.org).