5 tips for short-term employment

Here I go again, making excuses for not writing! Lately I’ve been settling into a new job–by which I mean falling asleep on the couch after eating dinner. In case you were wondering, I’m working as a contract librarian at a Federal library–but my contract is only for two months and currently it’s looking like my contract will not be renewed.

As my body settles into the new routine, I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned about working in a new place, especially when it’s under a time limit. For anyone in library school, this advice would probably be useful for internships, too!

1. Don’t be afraid to take chances!

I never saw myself working in a Federal library–but I needed a job, so when I was offered this position I took it like there was no tomorrow. At the time, the 2 month limit on the contract seemed ideal. I’d get good experience and I wouldn’t get complacent in a job that didn’t further my professional aspirations to work in a public library.

Now that I’m a few weeks into this position, I’m hugely disappointed that my time here will only last for 2 months. I’ve found that not only do I enjoy the work, but the people I work with are great and the management are supportive and just all-around wonderful. The chance I took on this short-term employment taught me that I can find satisfaction in places I didn’t expect to find it.

2. Work hard.

The pressure is double when you are only working for a short-time. It’s important to not only make a good impression on your supervisors, but to make a lasting one. Finish tasks ahead of schedule and double check your work. Make sure you are getting your projects done without mistakes and meeting the standards set by your supervisors.

3. DON’T report mistakes–IF you can fix them!

So, this advice definitely goes against my personal ethics. I don’t like hiding mistakes, but sometimes it’s important to only report issues when it’s needed. Supervisors don’t need their time wasted doling out simple advice or instructions–and you don’t need to waste your time listening to it. Instead, just fix the mistake. Everyone will be happier for it.

4. But… do report a mistake you can’t fix.

On the other hand, if you make a mistake that you can’t fix it is important to tell someone. Not only will you learn how to fix it in case you make the mistake again, but your supervisors will see that you take responsibility for your mistakes and for correcting them.

5. Always, always, always make a good impression. And leave with one, too.

With everything you do at this short-term job, make sure to make a good impression, whether it’s work or personal related. Don’t be afraid to make friends with your co-workers–they may end up being a great reference for you later. Along these lines, try to stay connected with your supervisors and colleagues after you leave. Look them up on LinkedIn and Twitter (or Facebook, if you like). Your co-workers can be a great resource–for job hunting or maybe even using them as an information resource at your new job.


One thought on “5 tips for short-term employment

  1. I meant to talk about seeking out tasks/learning opportunities in the taking chances tip. I think that it’s really important to put yourself out there, even it it’s just asking if you can join a meeting or work on a project that looks interesting. You’ll learn something new and your supervisor will learn that you aren’t afraid of work–or looking for work.

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