Are you a work commitment-phobe? Do you seek temporary employment as a form of sport?

Not just pertaining to relationships anymore, Wikipedia defines commitment-phobia as affecting work as well as other parts of the phobic's life. The definition says that their self-destructive behavior includes "walking out on ... jobs without notice."

Like the character in "Shawshank Redemption" who finds he can't handle the world outside prison, the commitment-phobe in the workplace may be daunted by fear of success, or of limiting his or her options, as entrepreneur and marketer Glenn Sanford suggests on his blog, Regular Ramblings.

Or perhaps it has something to do with comparisons made to husband and wife between employer and employee. Scott Wintrip, founder and president of, advises nurturing and feeding this "corporate marriage" often to meet each others' needs.

"You may just find that you fall in love with one another all over again as a result," Wintrip says.

Unfortunately, some people are just not cut out for marriage.

"Globally, there is a commitment disease that has spread in our society that transcends marital relationships," Wintrip told Staffing Talk. "We are very transient ... from our work, our relationships, and even how and where we live."

As with the perpetual student, who opts to continue school upon graduation rather than face the workforce, there are some workers out there whose commitment-phobia extends to job hunting.

These workers are choosing temporary assignments over a long-term career for a number of reasons.

A less obvious but comprehensible one was pointed out to Staffing Talk by Dan Ryan, principal of Nashville-based recruiting firm Ryan Search & Consulting.

Ryan said he believed the trend of perpetual temporary workers "is becoming more popular," and it will grow even further when universal healthcare goes into effect.

People on the tail end of their careers are usually the ones piecing together part-time work, Ryan said, but healthcare is the tie that binds.

Women especially are trying to balance work and home life, and the need for healthcare is prevalent, keeping them ensconced in full-time work when they would prefer less hours.

"The golden fleece is healthcare coverage," Ryan said of the current conditions.

When universal healthcare becomes a reality, health insurance will be an entitlement, he said. Health insurance will become detached, and Ryan's belief is that "people will move much more freely from job to job" than before.

Others, Ryan included, are of the opinion that flexibility is the main reason many people choose to work exclusively with temping agencies.

"The staffing industry offers flexibility to both employees and companies," Melissa Beattie, American Staffing Association's public relations coordinator, told Staffing Talk.

Statistically, according to an ASA report, the majority of temporary employees find work flexibility to be of importance to them, allowing more family time.

On the flip side, 90% of client businesses say staffing companies give them flexibility to be fully staffed during busy times.

According to the report, 23% of staffing employees aren't interested in a permanent job, preferring an "alternative arrangement over traditional employment.

Choice of assignment and challenges comes into play, as well.

Beattie emphasizes that these statistics don't necessarily mean that those choosing to work with staffing firms are "commitment-phobic."

"They just find that they work better when they have some say in scheduling, assignments, etc.," Beattie said. "Also, the prospect of 'trying out' companies is appealing to many."

Tags: ASA, Industry, Job Flexibility, Temporary Employment, Dan Ryan, Melissa Beattie, Nashville