How Engineers Can Benefit From Bridge Projects
By Joe Lampinen
As an engineer in a full-time, salaried position, there are several scenarios in which you might find yourself voluntarily or involuntarily looking for another job. Perhaps you feel you are not growing anymore in your current job and decide to look for another position. You might have worked for a company for the past five or six years when your project, program, or division winds down—and your services are no longer needed. Or maybe your employer is floundering, and you want to find a new job as soon as possible.
Whatever the reason, it is not always possible – or even desirable - to move directly from one full-time, salaried position to another. It takes time and patience to find a job that offers the kind of work you enjoy and meets your requirements regarding salary, benefits, and perks. Fortunately, bridge projects—temporary assignments that function as a bridge between two salaried positions—can keep you working and earning an income while you are looking for your next full-time position.
A job placement agency can help you find bridge projects
Finding a bridge project on your own can be challenging. There are online talent platforms where you can connect with employers, but most of those projects are task based. This means they are short term and usually last no longer than a few days.
Fortunately, placement agencies can help. In general, they can place you for short-term or long-term projects, depending on your preference. Some employers also outsource entire projects to agencies. In these instances, the agency puts together the team and provides project management.
One of the advantages of working with a job placement agency is that your recruiter can keep looking for the right salaried position while you focus on the bridge project. This increases your chances of quickly finding a new full-time job.
Temporary assignments are not just for entry-level engineers
Though many engineers believe that temporary projects are primarily for entry-level engineers, nothing could be further from the truth. A growing number of engineers prefer to work as free agents on projects. They enjoy the free agency lifestyle because it offers a good work-life balance, variety, and the freedom to choose their own projects, teams, and employers.
It is also important to note that there are many innovative, hot projects that are staffed almost entirely with contractors. It is frequently more cost-effective for employers to hire top-quality engineers with niche skills to work on an important project for a limited time than to hire those same engineers full-time, particularly if their special skills will only be needed for a limited period of time.
Of course, while working on a bridge project, you may also discover that you enjoy project-based work and decide to become a full-time free agent. In this event, a staffing agency can help you find a steady stream of interesting, well-paying assignments that advance your career.