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Work trend for women: Tempreneurs

Michele Borboa, MS is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health, fitness, food, lifestyle, and pets. Michele is a health and wellness expert, personal chef, cookbook author, and pet-lover based in Bozeman, Montana. She is also...

Women in the workplace

With the current unemployment rate nearing 10 percent and the economy still on shaky ground, more women are becoming "tempreneurs" -- getting part-time jobs and/or taking jobs unrelated to their core careers. We chatted with workplace expert Lynn Taylor, author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant (John Wiley & Sons, 2010), about the pros and cons of this new work trend for women.

Woman in office

Employment trends

SheKnows: What employment trends have you seen develop due to the unstable economy?

Lynn Taylor: Workers have accepted jobs unrelated to their core careers to make ends meet [and] have had to broaden their scope at work with the leaner workforce. The tempreneur has emerged, along with what I call "Gen U," or generation unretired, those returning to work after retirement.

Women tempreneurs

SheKnows: Can you describe "tempreneur," the term you coined in Bloomberg BusinessWeek?

Lynn Taylor: A combination of a temporary [employee] and an entrepreneur, tempreneurs fill the gap between what we know as a temporary and a high-level consultant. Unlike a more junior temporary employee, they have experience as a sole proprietor. Unlike a consultant, who may advise but not do the work required, they perform what is required. Their work may be a short stint or longer client assignments. These workers combine temporary or project work with their own businesses, during the current high unemployment period, and they will do so as a career choice in the future for greater control over their work life.

SheKnows: How can employed or unemployed women become tempreneurs?

Lynn Taylor: Finding ads for full- and part-time positions online (Monster.com and Craigslist.com), as many of these jobs signal other openings or can be filled in part through project employees. In addition, women can research specialized temporary firms, industry online openings and trade association online openings. Other options are LinkedIn.com, women's networking groups online, traditional business networking, and MeetUp.com, which has specialized business groups nationwide.

Workplace benefits

SheKnows: What are the benefits of being a tempreneur?

Lynn Taylor: Benefits include control over one's career; avoiding becoming a victim of layoffs; the ability to take as much work as one can; and avoiding age discrimination.

Career challenges for women

SheKnows: What are the challenges women tempreneurs face and how can they best meet these challenges?

Lynn Taylor: The downside is that you must continually be able to market yourself versus appearing at work daily. However, if you build this into your routine and have backup projects and clients, you'll have continuity and fewer peaks and valleys in your workload. As a woman, if you are juggling issues such as raising a family or dealing with maternity leave, this is a great flexibility option. If you are a former high-level executive who is now ready to create your own terms of how you work, this is also highly valuable. The benefit of a high-level temporary agency is that you won't have to do very much marketing: They do it for you.

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