5 Reasons Why Working Per Diem/Contract Could Be the Best Thing You Do for Your Career
In nearly any industry or profession, the one thing we’re always taught is that landing a permanent job after graduation is the goal… but times have changed. People no longer work for the same employer for decades until they get the gold watch and retire.There are more options, especially for nurses and other healthcare workers, than ever before. In fact, with a shortage of nurses in nearly every major city in the U.S., employers need you more than you need them – and that opens the door to a lot of perks for per diem work.
- Take your time getting the best job for you. When you take the first job available for fear of not getting a job at all, there’s no guarantee you’ll love it – and you’ll probably spend months, if not years, finding another job while you’re unhappy going to work every day. When you work contract assignments and/or per diem, you get to “sample” different facilities and employers. If you’re a good employee, you’ll have your pick of the litter when you’re ready to settle into a permanent position.
- Become the best nurse you can be… or any healthcare professional, for that matter. By taking assignments in different types of facilities and seeing more than just one aspect of healthcare, you’ll learn faster than you ever thought, increasing your skills & experience. You’ll also learn a lot more than you’d expect about yourself. This makes you a more valuable asset to any employer, and the added experience you gain will put you at the head of the pack when you want to settle in.
- Be in charge of yourself. Sure, working on contract assignments may not come with the benefits of a permanent position, like paid time off, but you call the shots. Contract work may not be ideal for more seasoned nurses with families at home, but until then, take advantage of per diem independence. Even seasoned nurses can take advantage of the extra cash to be had in a nursing shortage. Have more control over your hours and your pay, as you build priceless experience that will make it easier for you to settle into the job you love when you feel ready.
- Don’t get locked in until you win. When you work as a nurse on contract, you may love or loathe the assignment… which is why it’s worth its weight in gold to have an “out”. If your current assignment isn’t your favorite but you’re asked to stay on permanently, it’s OK to leave when your assignment is done without creating conflict. Another assignment is waiting for you. Just remember that each assignment builds your reputation as an employee, so always keep it professional, whether that facility is a contender for permanency or not.
- Avoid the drama. Every workplace has its politics, but being on a contract assignment is like having diplomatic immunity. You don’t have to get involved (in fact, you shouldn’t), and you don’t have to worry about the consequences – because you’ll be leaving anyway. By being a per diem worker, you will find the work environment that feels like home; play your cards right and it will be, if you want it.
The big bonus reason – As a contract employee, your shift is over when it’s over. Your “for now” coworkers will be grumbling when they have no choice but to stay late or pick up someone else’s shift, but you’ll be packing up to go home. You may still get overtime pay if you want it, but the choice is entirely yours.
Schools and training programs aren’t yet teaching their students the realities of the job market as it is today, so give yourself some time to learn the lay of the land and to avoid disappointment. Healthcare staffing companies can be your best ally; use them. Don’t settle for less than what you love with respect to your employment options – there’s no need to! Right now, the job market is in favor of the employee, so make it work to your advantage. You’ll be happier now and in the long run!