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  • Diana Schneidman

Fool’s gold in the job market

Years ago when I was between jobs I was rather desperate for health insurance. So I accepted temp assignments billed as “temp to perm,” hoping they would lead to full-time status and good health insurance.

Surprisingly (?) they never panned out.

Each “temp to perm” job I accepted turned out to have no possibility of becoming perm. The first time around, I accepted a general administrative position, but after I started work, I learned from the client, not the temp placement firm, that plans called for eventually hiring an accountant or bookkeeper for the slot.

The second time, they were already interviewing candidates for the position I filled in on and I wasn’t even under consideration. Then I was moved to another position as a writer (at the same admin wages), and that position faded away when the writing projects were completed.

The third time staffers were unable to delegate sufficiently and the position proved unnecessary.

It seemed to me there were two types of positions for temps: defined end-date (e.g., filling in for a receptionist on two weeks of vacation) and temp with an indeterminate end date but little to no possibility of going full-time.

Makes me curious about all the post-college adults who are accepting unpaid internships to get career experience for their resumes. I understand that these opportunities are sometimes presented as trial runs and the best interns may be taken on as full-time, paid employees.

I’d like to know what percentages are retained permanently. While it appears that internships are becoming commonplace, how common is it for these trials to morph into paid jobs?

I wonder why prestige employers would choose to pay someone when they can always get a fresh intern for free.

And how are the interns’ final days managed? Are they allowed to feel that they failed or do they realize a paid position was never on the horizon?

I did some online research and haven’t yet found answers to my questions. What’s your experience?

Originally posted 5-10-20

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