Experience report Career Entry for Humanities: Temporary Employment - Opportunity or Risk?

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It was not easy for me to start my career as a humanities scholar - even though I already completed my studies before my studies and also spent some time abroad in Paris. At the moment I'm working with temporary work, which I currently perceive as an opportunity rather than a risk. How do you see temporary work? What experiences have you done?

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Marie-Luise Mähler 70Marie-Luise Mähler worked for MTV, for example, or at the press conference of the German Embassy in Brussels.


Traineeship and studies

I studied cultural and media sciences with an emphasis on English, Romance languages ​​and Dutch studies and studied during the study also a year at the Sorbonne in Paris.

Before completing my studies in humanities, I have a two-year TV traineeship. During the subsequent studies, I worked as a PR specialist in Brussels for a year. There I gained important experience in international press work for diplomacy and event management.

Salesman job instead of perspective

I also acquired extensive knowledge of web content management and was able to efficiently expand and deepen my multilingualism. Accordingly, I created a “profile” during my studies with a corresponding perspective with regard to international PR .... At least I thought that at the time.

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The reality was different: I worked as a sales assistant and my applications mostly remained unanswered. My impression is that HR professionals pay more attention to the professional experience that is on the CV after graduation, while the previous ones - consciously or unconsciously - are devalued.

Temporary work: opportunity on the second labor market

Personal interviews were almost entirely due to my personal network. Perhaps this is also an industry-specific problem that catapults many graduates with PR aspirations into “permanent internship loops” today?

It is my luck that on the second job market - as a so-called temporary worker - I get the chance to prove myself again in my field and to gain further experience in exciting projects. Of course, it is clear to me that temporary work has been heavily caught in the crossfire of criticism, for example in relevant TV talk shows. Some say little prosaic:

"In the past the slave traders went to the market and bought slaves, today the slave drivers sit at the market and the slaves come and sell themselves."

Temporary work: Mixed feelings

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I have to admit that I see the topic of temporary work with mixed feelings: on the one hand, it is of course less safe for employees and you earn less than in a permanent position. There are surely cases in which it is justified to complain about the exploitation of temporary workers because they displace permanent jobs. Because it can be assumed that the trend towards flexible employment will increase rather than decrease in the coming years.

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On the other hand, I'm also self-employed. So I see that Company Nowadays you also have to react more flexibly, since the order books are no longer as full as before. Therefore, no temporary agency work can be a real relief for companies. And for employees it can be an alternative to unemployment. For me, temporary work has nothing to do with modern slavery - after all, temporary workers still have a choice. What I don't quite understand: Why should agency work be the better term? Because she is less euphemistic?

Humanities scholar and perfectionism

In the future, however, I would like to develop a second mainstay as a freelance author and editor. Everyone has to make sure that they get ahead. I've noticed many times throughout my career. that especially humanities scholars tend towards perfectionism, towards the desire to do everything especially right and especially correct. It is possible that this is something that we will be taught at the university.

I think a "healthy" perfectionism, refined with the appropriate pinch of humor and a not to be despised portion of self-confidence, is irreplaceable. But due to the current job market situation, I cannot locate where this has its limit to the extreme that makes people ill. How do you see the opportunities, but also the risks of temporary work? What experiences have you had?

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