News Flash: They Are All Real Jobs

I’ve been reading some articles on turning non-jobs into real jobs, non-jobs being temporary positions through staffing firms. Boy do I get prickly about statements like that. I’ve heard people refer to entry level and labor positions as “not real” also. Though the articles usually give great advice on how to turn a temporary opportunity into something more long term, the very suggestion the job, or any job for that matter, isn’t real is off the mark.

The harm in referring to any job that pays you in return for your actions as “not real” is twofold. First, if you are shrugging off a job as “not real” or a “non-job” in front of a business owner, you’re not going to impress him. It doesn’t matter if the job you are referencing has any connection to that business owner’s company. Anyone who has ever paid someone to do a job will tell you the job they were cutting checks for was real. It may have been running a cash register, cleaning bathrooms, filing paperwork and the like, but the functions were important to the business. Hearing anyone speak of non-jobs will likely remind that person of employees who treated a position as if was below them or a priority so long as nothing else important was going on. That’s not the impression you want to make when rubbing elbows in the business community or sitting across the desk selling yourself to a “real job” in an interview.

The second problem is it invites the potential for taking the job less seriously.  For those of you who aren’t aware, I started my career in recruiting working with a temporary staffing agency. It was common practice for people to call off of work last minute, quit with no notice,  dink around on the job and then justify their actions with “well, it’s not a real job.” Pardon me? Tell that to my corporate client paying a hefty mark-up on a service because the company couldn’t do without having someone in the role. Whether or not the employees viewed the job as real, my eventual low opinion of  their work ethic was far from imaginary. It was always tempting to pay those individuals in Monopoly money. If the job wasn’t real, why should the paycheck be?

Take care with how you refer to and view jobs that may be temporary in nature or out of your professional norm. It’s fine indicate a job is/was temporary or more for cash flow than enhancing your resume, but do so with the understanding anything you are being paid to do is very real to the person handing over the George Washington’s and anyone who has been in the position to do the same.  The job may not be relevant, but it is real.


  • Lisa says:

    Silly me. It didn’t even occur to me to tell a bit more of my story. I mentioned above I started in the recruiting industry with a temporary staffing company. That’s true, but I neglected to mention my first exposure the company was as a temporary administrative assistant. I took an assignment working in the company’s offices. I was a new college grad in Medical Technology and I needed a job to supplement the part-time job I had working in a Microbiology lab on weekends. My intention was to work the temporary job until the hospital had a full-time day job available. When the hospital was ready to hire me full-time, I’d had enough of a taste of the recruiting industry to know it fit me well. I turned the hospital down and talked the recruiting company into promoting me from an admin role to that of a recruiter. It was scary at the time. I doubted whether it made sense to turn down a job inline with my degree to pursue something so different than my original plan. My gut told me I’d be happier in recruiting than in the lab. My gut was right.

  • Eric Davis says:

    With that, we find ourselves pursuing paths that we should and should not…

    Every job is real and has the potential to lead to something else. Without effort, it is not a real job…

  • Lisa says:

    Well put, Eric. Thanks for stopping by.

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