I was asked today why I was still contracting after 6 years and why I had not considered permanent work. My answer is a mix on professional and preference grounds. The question wasn’t confrontational; merely banter around the office.
Firstly is important to understand what a job means to you, and what you wan to get from it. Many are hell-bent on career driven options and let’s be honest, most of the time there are benefits that go as such. However, more often than not, many become bored, get tied up in company politics and before very long – there are folks that have been short listed for the “it’s not my job” award, and I HATE that!
As a professional contractor, I treat every contract in a customer / supplier arrangement – ie the customer can chose at any time (subject to contractual arrangements) can choose another supplier. I offer the best advice at the time, all of which is well researched. My experience of the various environments I have worked in give me a broad experience of most scenarios, from which I am often able to suggest the best practical solution. It’s soon becomes very obvious who is interested in giving the best advice and service and who is interested in looking good in weekly and monthly reports. As a contractor I shoot for the balance.
If I am asked to work late, my timesheet is submitted accordingly and all partied know where they stand! Happy to do favours, and often do. There’s no apathy, unhappiness, tension or any of the other elements that make for a poor working life. If these appear, they are discussed, if they are not solved you move on – and that is very much the expectation is working with contract staff.
There are of course many that give us a bad name, abuse their flexible position and more importantly the trust that is placed in them to get the job done. I am thankful that I have the skills that are very marketable, and intend on ensuring that they remain that way.
I donâ€™t have the concern with what will happen to my job if X plc takes over; if our new manager is not nice to us, and if they move us all to Timbuktu, again worry that I see people go through at every project I have worked on. I do appreciate that you do need a mentality to go with all the change and that take a lot of time to develop.
That’s the professional side of my decisions; here’s the personal.
Over the past 5 years, I have enjoyed a great degree of flexibility around my working life, something that allowed me to spend time on other things, other things that make for a better life. I don’t want to be stuck in a job that doesn’t inspire me or allow me to enjoy that – and that’s the case for so many people.
2004 (for those that know me) taught me a few lessons in life, some that I am delighted to have learned; and I share these with those that I have trust, they help in building relationships, and in sharing “war” stories over a beer.
Moreover, I am not out to work, I am out to live, but appreciate that one does not come without the other, and that’s a very vital point to highlight. I work hard at ensuring I have the “resources” to do these things.