For some students, temp work is summer job solution

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Brighton Hillstead, a business management major from Phoneix, Ariz., dresses professionally while working at BYU broadcasting. (Maddi Dayton)
Brighton Hillstead, a business management major from Phoneix, Arizona, dresses professionally while working at BYU broadcasting. Common temp jobs are professional or clerical. (Maddi Dayton)

Stacking boxes and packing products may not sound like an exciting summer job. For some college students, it’s a ticket forward.

“Temp work is not just a way to stay busy,” said Riley Smith, a recruiter at Your Employment Solutions in Salt Lake. “School is expensive, so if you can help supplement some of those costs by working during the summer, it can be very beneficial.”

Smith has worked at Your Employment Solutions for three years placing people in temporary jobs, often referred to as “temp work.” Temporary jobs are created when companies need extra help during busy seasons; positions aren’t permanent and employees expect to be let go whenever need declines.

Though most jobs Smith’s company fills are entry level positions in manufacturing — such as assembling and packaging products — he said workers also place a variety of professional and clerical jobs.

And employees are valuable to the companies.

“A lot of people think that we charge the employee to find them a job and that we’re going to take advantage of them,” Smith said. “But really they’re our assets, so we’re looking to take care of them.”

Those employees, Smith said, are everyone from people who need work until something more stable comes along to college students earning next year’s tuition money.

Aside from the obvious advantage of the work naturally ending with the season — and not having to quit a job after only several months — temp jobs are a good option for students because they’re an opportunity to refine skill sets.

“When you get to college you’re learning a lot of critical thinking skills,” said Kevin Bolton, a manager at Orbit Irrigation Products in Salt Lake. “Students should be able to use those critical thinking skills they are learning in college.”

Bolton has worked at Orbit for almost 20 years in internal quality assurance. Because Orbit is an irrigation company, the number of temp workers it has and how long they stay depends on the season and on how well they work.

“I’ll keep the most productive worker the longest,” Bolton said. “They could be let go at any time if they’re not performing well.”

Of the college students he’s worked with, “for the most part, they’re above average,” Bolton said. “I would actually welcome college students getting temporary work; even if it’s far away from the field that they’re interested in, it is a good experience.”

BYU freshman and psychology major Abby Frandsen knows this firsthand. She temped full-time in the summer of 2015 at one of Orbit’s warehouses labeling boxes and repairing products. She said the best part of her experience was the people.

“The people I worked with were really awesome,” Frandsen said. “A couple of them had come from pretty rough backgrounds but through temp work they were having a new start in things. It was really inspirational.”

Though she’d recommend temping to college students looking for summer work, she said people should “be prepared for something pretty monotonous.”

“Stay positive,” Frandsen said. “If it’s your first job then it might be a little bit rough.”

Smith said above all, communication is imperative.

“Nowadays it’s so important,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing I would say to people who are interested in taking a summer job: just communicate.”

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