The CN Tower, the tallest building in Canada, has 1,776 steps.
Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, has 2,909 steps.
Niesen Mountain, which boasts the longest staircase on Earth, has 11,674 steps.
But the stairway to your dream career can have many more steps than any of these.
Today, many people look to temporary work as a placeholder; something to keep them afloat until they find a more permanent role. It’s been especially appealing since the pandemic began, as hiring managers create new incentives like increased pay for seasonal, part-time, and temporary positions.
But when you stop seeing it as a place to sit around and wait for your career to start, and instead see it as one of the many important steps you’ll take to get where you’re going, you’ll be surprised how quickly opportunities for advancement can present themselves.
So if you’re a temporary worker, or are considering temporary employment, take these three things into consideration. They will help you make permanent professional improvements, even in a temporary job!
1) Find the right culture fit
It’s easy to overlook your own comfort when you’re only thinking short term.
It’s a lot like stretching and exercising; we’re willing to do something that might make us uncomfortable for a short amount of time, when we know we’ll get to relax afterwards.
But unlike exercise, putting yourself in an uncomfortable position at work won’t make you (and your career) stronger. It will only dilute the well of opportunities available to you.
Even when hiring for temporary jobs, recruiters are looking for candidates that are the right fit for their company’s culture. Things like values, behaviour, and overarching goals need to be in parallel between the company and its employees, or else it’s to the detriment of everyone involved. It’s like rowing a boat — everyone needs to be working in unison.
So when you want to treat a temporary job as a place to start building momentum towards your future career, then choose people who share your vision and will support you every step of the way.
2) Treat it like any other job
Even if you aren’t seriously considering staying at this job long term, you should treat the work and your coworkers as seriously as you would if it was your dream job.
We all know the trope of someone who has mentally checked out of their job. Maybe they just put in their 2 weeks notice, and don’t feel the need to try any more. Maybe they really hate their job, so they act out by doing it as poorly as possible.
Some people have that same assumption when it comes to temporary workers. They wonder “how could they take it seriously if they already know it’s going to end?”
But that’s life. The best people don’t do their best today because of what’s going to happen tomorrow. They do their best today because that’s how you get a better tomorrow.
So prove those naysayers wrong. Show up to your temporary job and turn up others’ expectations about you.
You also never know when someone might remember your positive attitude later on. 30-45% of people get their jobs through employee referrals. And if you have people who will vouch for you, you’re 4 times more likely to find a job thanks to leaving a positive impression.
3) Keep learning
What does an entry-level cashier have in common with a Fortune 500 investment funds senior portfolio manager?
They’re both good with money.
Or what about a seasonal roofer and a neurosurgeon? What do they have in common?
They’re both good with their hands.
What about someone who’s working the type of temporary job you have now, versus someone who has the type of job you dream about?
If you can answer this question, then you’ll start to appreciate everything you can learn from your current job.
Building the skills you need to succeed in your dream job isn’t something that you’ll do once you have the job. It’s something you should start doing today so you can turn that dream into a reality.
So even when you have a temporary job, you should focus on the aspects of your role that are helping you to prepare for future opportunities.
Don’t just make the best of it, make the best of yourself.