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A temporary solution

A temporary solution

Suffering from middlescence or mid-career restlessness?  Go in for a trial job run before mid-career change.

Ten years ago you were a different person. Even after putting in 50-plus hours a week at work, you wanted more. There was never enough work for you. Thirsting for more, you asked for increased responsibilities.

But 10 years is a long time. Though you still put in as many hours, there is something missing. The urge to hit the keyboards has somehow diminished. A possible reason for these changes could be the altered nature of your job. It could be that now you are saddled with more managerial responsibilities. Perhaps it is a case of burn out. Perhaps you have the skills and knowledge that can be put to better use in another field. Whatever may be the reason, but if a decade or so after start of your career you are going through an "excitement crisis" you could be a case of middlescence, also known as mid-career restlessness.

In the world of work a lot has changed in the past few years. Globalisation, technology and competition have changed the way we react to our office environs. Though this has made our professional life more complex, it has also thrown up new challenges and opportunities. In a scenario such as this, it is imperative that we regularly assess what actions we need to take to improve our career net worth. And this could even involve a career change. Understanding why you are thinking about changing career is a crucial first step in any career change process.

Identify the profession: You not only need to know what you want to do in life—but you must also know how you’re going to do it, and how realistic those plans are. Once you have identified the profession, you will need to create an inventory of the skills you already have and a list of additional skills you need, and how you will get them. A number of career changers often end being unhappy because they had unrealistic expectations about what their new career would involve. A career switch from marketing to copywriting to satisfy your creativity may involve erratic work hours, creating further confusion about the career switch. Each profession has its drawbacks, being aware of them before taking it up is a must.

Find the answers to the following questions before taking on the new challenge:

• What is a typical workday like?
• How will this job affect your personal life?
• Is there an option of working from home?
• What are the growth possibilities?
• Is learning on the job possible?

The option of temping: Getting a first hand experience on what you are in for is even better. As you go about getting additional skill sets, you can also start scouting around for part-time, entry-level or temporary work that will help you move towards your goal. A career change is a gradual and sometimes longterm process. For those in the transitional phase (yet to take the plunge but thinking about it), the option of taking up a temporary assignment works best.

Temporary job may not include all the perks a permanent job option provides (like job security) but they are a great opening for those looking for learning opportunities, flexischedules and a decent pay packet. The options could range from a one-month tenure to a one-year contract. While temp options at entry-level job openings are many, they are no less for middle-level career changers. It also fulfils specific needs of persons seeking mid-career change — for further education, exploring post VRS options, attending to family commitments, or checking out a new profession.

According to Rajesh AR, vicepresident, TeamLease Services, a staffing solution provider: "Of the total temp employee requirements, around 24% is at middle-levels. For the junior levels the opportunities are much higher at 71%."

A person doing temping at the middle level can demand better pay on the basis of his/her work experience . In the IT sector specifically, technical professionals prefer to be on contract or temp basis as they can exercise greater flexibility with their careers and get better pay as they move from one project to another (gathering more work experience).

"In the non-technical sectors, prospective employees are yet to catch on to this mind set with the preference still tilting towards a permanent employment option," says Sonal Chandole, Director National Sales, Kelly Services.

Remuneration matters: Though temp jobs are not yet giving permanent jobs a run for their money, at times, temps can earn more than permanent employees. In the case of specific time-bound projects, temps get about 20% higher salary than regular employees. While the average salary in middle level is Rs 35,000, at senior levels, it can go up to Rs 4.5 lakh per month.

The salary level, however, is largely a determinant of skills, attitude and knowledge, and less of the option of employment selected. In fact there is a more entrepreneurial approach to compensation — salary according to performance. "For certain skills such as technical or programming skills, we find that temp jobs command a better compensation as the employees gather more experience through project based assignments," says Chandole.

At the mid-level there is a 10-15 per cent salary difference between a temp and permanent job. "A permanent job enjoys a premium over a corresponding temp job. However, for niche and high-end positions, there is no difference," says Ramesh Hande, Director Staffing Solutions, Adecco.

Think before you turn temp: One needs to take a temporary job as a stepping stone for a full time regular career. The temp job should enhance your skill-sets or employability quotient for a full-fledged career of your choice.

However, it’s also critical for mid-career job seekers to be serious on their temp career moves. It is important to be aware of the fact that since you are on the rolls of the staffing company, their rules and regulations will apply on the temp.