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Professional Development

Employees Share Their Temp-To-Perm Journeys

NC State University

Most people on the job market will only take a temporary position if they can’t find a permanent job. But when applicants get temporary positions at NC State, those jobs can be the start of promising careers. 

“Sometimes people think of temporary positions as just that — temporary positions — but we know they can be more than that,” said Laura Cooper, manager of University Temporary Services. 

Cooper and her team at UTS recruit temporary employees for both NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill, and some of those talented candidates go on to compete for and secure full-time permanent jobs at both schools. In 2022, 119 temporary employees recruited by UTS to work at NC State became permanent members of the Pack. 

“We definitely feel like we are helping build careers,” Cooper said.

Howl You Know asked three NC State employees who started as temporary employees before they took permanent positions to share their temp-to-perm stories. You can read their stories below.

Trish Sandman

Executive Assistant to the Dean 
College of Education

When Trish Sandman and her husband moved to Raleigh, she knew she wanted to continue her new career in higher education. 

Before Sandman moved to Raleigh, she spent a year and a half as a research assistant for a provost at George Mason University. She said the job was her first in higher education, and she loved everything about it — from the diverse environment to the academic discourse.

“I felt very compelled to stay in higher education, and I felt that temporary employment was a good opportunity to see if working at NC State would be a good fit for me,” Sandman said. 

In January 2022, Sandman began working in a temporary role as the executive assistant to the dean of the College of Education. About two months after Sandman started the job, her boss, Dean Paola Sztajn, told her she planned to hire a permanent executive assistant, and she said Sandman could apply for the job if she was interested. 

“At that point, I really, really liked it there and thought the job was a good fit for me,” Sandman said. “I definitely knew I wanted to apply.”

Sandman said she was elated when the dean called to offer the job permanently. She began working as Sztajn’s permanent executive assistant in July 2022. By then, Sandman had become fond of working with the dean and other colleagues in the College of Education, she said. 

Sandman said she was grateful for the opportunity to work in her role as a temporary employee.

“I think it really sets you up for success in a permanent position,” she said. “You really get a helpful experience that can springboard you into a different position or to stay in the same position in a permanent capacity. I would say temporary employment is a really positive thing at NC State.”

Jesse Dean

IT Support Technician
University Human Resources

Jesse Dean was working in a museum gift shop in downtown Raleigh when he decided to take a temporary IT position in University Human Resources. 

“The gift shop job was just to make some money while I tried to find a job to get started on a career path,” said Dean, who earned a degree in computer information systems at Appalachian State University in 2021. 

Dean said when he began working in UHR in January 2022, he thought his employment would end in March of that year. But after he started work, his supervisor, Joe Matise, mentioned a full-time job opportunity that he could apply for if he wanted to. 

Dean applied for the job, and in March 2022 he became a permanent IT support technician in UHR. The temporary job in UHR turned out to be the first step in the career path he’d been seeking.

Dean said the thing he valued most about his job when he was a temporary employee — and still does now — is the practical experience it provides. 

“I had an internship in college where I did basically what I am doing now but didn’t get a lot of hands-on experience,” he said. “Being able to get the experience has been the biggest thing here.”

Cindy Rainwater

Business Services Coordinator 
School of Public and International Affairs

When Cindy Rainwater retired after a 25-year career in health care, she wanted to keep working, but she wasn’t sure where she wanted to work.

Rainwater’s husband and daughter both work at NC State, and they encouraged her to apply for a temporary job at the university. 

Rainwater began working in the School of Public and International Affairs as a temporary administrative assistant/business services coordinator in April 2022. A few weeks later, she applied for a permanent business services coordinator role at the school after a co-worker and her boss, Irwin Morris, executive director of SPIA, mentioned the position to her. Rainwater got the permanent position in June 2022.

Rainwater said she’s glad she followed her husband’s and daughter’s advice. 

“I was going to be completely OK with just temping,” she said. “I would just fill in and learn along the way. I figured it would be kind of fun to do different things. But honestly, this was such a good placement for me, thanks to UTS. I just fit so well over here.”

Rainwater’s daughter also began her career at NC State as a temporary employee and later became a permanent employee. 

“That was an actual joke in our house, that she went permanent first,” Rainwater said. “I got reminded of that a lot.”