To Temp or Not to Temp?
November 6, 2016 12:09 PM   Subscribe

I'm currently applying to grad school and working a couple part time jobs to make ends meet while taking the last set of pre-requisite classes for grad school. I'll be finishing up my classes by the end of this semester, leaving me with a 6-9 month chunk of time between finishing up class and potentially going. I'd like to be able to save a bit of money before starting grad school if that happens. Do I look for a temp job to fill that time or something else?

I'm currently doing part-time IT support (no, there's not a chance of this becoming a full-time gig), doing a bit of freelance tutoring (8-10 hours a week), and captioning videos with Rev (earning around $100-$150/week, more if it's a week with lots of captioning jobs). All in all, I'm averaging around $1500-$1800 a month which is enough for me to live on but not enough to really save more than $100 each month.

Would temping be able to earn more than this just because I'd have more hours worked? I've never temped before nor have really crossed my mind that temping is something I'd do, so really I don't know how to go about it. Is it as simple as sending resumes to placement agencies that I find by Googling? Would a temp agency even want me? I have my BA, can type 120wpmish, worked abroad before, and generally fast at learning new things.

Do temp agencies even still place temp-to-hires, or have these become mythical rumors? I'm considering this because if I don't get into grad school, at least I'd still have a job as I figure out what to do next.

If anyone has had good experiences with agencies in Chicago, point me to them!
posted by astapasta24 to Work & Money (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What will you be studying in grad school? Is there any way to use this time to get started on your future career path rather than just making $$?

Depending on the field, it might be entirely normal to be able to get a paid internship ahead of time, or even to start working with somebody in the department before your program officially begins.
posted by Metasyntactic at 12:16 PM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm applying to programs in nutrition that do the registered dietitian training and internships rolled into one. Most people in these programs tend to come non-nutrition backgrounds.

I forgot to mention that I'm toying with the idea of trying to get a cooking job at a restaurant, but I think that idea is more unrealistic than temping because while I'm a good cook at home, I understand that won't translate at all to working in a real kitchen.
posted by astapasta24 at 12:20 PM on November 6, 2016

The last time I was temping, which was 15 years ago, it was as simple as signing up with the agency, turning up where they sent you on the Monday, doing a good enough job not to be sent home, getting your timesheet signed on the Friday and faxing it in to get paid the following week...I imagine the technology has changed but don't overthink this.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:00 PM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Check your MeMail!
posted by jrobin276 at 1:21 PM on November 6, 2016

You might consider a job at a sport's nutrition or health food store, or look for companies that work with people with special dietary needs, like diabetics, the obese, celiac disease sufferers, etc. Think of what else is involved with food as well, and see if anything sparks your interest; food safety and inspection, marketing, public health, agriculture, etc.

Another thing you might do is do an outerview with some nutritionists, perhaps contact some of the bloggers CAND, the Chicago Association of Nutrition and Dietetics and see what suggestions they may have for pregrad school work that would be helpful. People love to feel that their work is interesting and meaningful and they feel good about helping others, so you'd be surprised, if you reach out to a few people, how many may have a suggestion to help you, or recommend someone who may be able to.

I'd have temp work be your backup, but would seek out companies that employ dieticians and nutritionists, companies that use their work, and industry or trade groups, as well as well funded non profits. If you know schools you want to go to, reach out to the associate professors or lecturers, tell them you are looking to save up to attend grad school, and ask them if they have suggestions. As well, even if your bachelors was in another field, if your former school offered anything related to nutrition, reach out to the professors there, or check alumni organizations.

So much of getting a job is about networking and reaching out . I found working for a Temp agency kinda soul crushing and stressful, but YMMV.
posted by gryftir at 2:42 PM on November 6, 2016

I've been hired on at two temp jobs, the last one about five years ago. Neither of them started out temp-to-perm, they just liked me and figured out how to hire me on. Based on emails from recruiters, the going rate here is $12-15 an hour for entry-level receptionist type stuff. If there's a particular place you'd like to work, you can find out what staffing agency they use and try to get placed with them.

I would also recommend trying to get work related to your degree, but the work I had when I was temping didn't keep me busy the whole time I was there. You'll probably have downtime at work you could use to write grants / blog / read / etc. if that would be helpful.
posted by momus_window at 6:05 PM on November 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've never temped, but it's often recommended here on the green, recently by phunniemee who always seems to have good advice.
posted by radioamy at 8:41 PM on November 6, 2016

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