What Are Temporary Employment Agencies? How Being “a Temp” Changed My Finances (& My Life)

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On the night of my 20th birthday, I started a new summer job. I worked the third shift five nights a week helping to remodel a superstore. That summer, I learned a lot about the ways businesses are run and the different work styles people have. Thanks to this work, opening my wallet at the gas station wasn’t as big of a pain as it could’ve been, either. But I was also left desiring more in a few ways.

Soon after starting, I also learned that a “temp” was a person, “temping” was a verb and the company employing me was called a “temp agency.” Temporary employment agencies, I knew from then onward, are a unique type of staffing organization.

Today, the United States is struggling with a labor shortage and an unemployment crisis at the same time — while also attempting to move forward during a global pandemic. Higher wages and signing bonuses are becoming more common as companies struggle to find and retain employees. At the same time, the employment market can be so confusing to navigate that having someone to find jobs for you sounds almost too good to be true. But, that’s what temporary employment agencies offer. The agents find work for you — so long as you’re willing to play by their rules.

Temporary employment agencies can vary depending on what type of work you’re looking for, your individual needs and where you live. If you sampled a group of adults, their opinions of temp agencies might come up mixed. My experience with temp agencies across 10 years wasn’t negative, but I can see where they’re coming from on all sides.

Temp agencies can help in a financial crunch. A temporary staffing agency can offer flexibility, valuable job experience and help securing a better financial future. But, temp staffing agencies seem to be more of a quick fix and help perpetuate a system that doesn’t work for everyone. Read on to see what we mean.