The Contract Adventure: Approaches To Life As A Contract Worker

The prevailing thought they say, is that we will experience 10% unemployment for a long time. They also say that companies have generated higher profits as they have lowered their human capital costs. This all comes as a result of increased productivity which is explained by employees working more, for longer and for less. At the same time, there are signs that companies are beginning to have some difficulty hiring quality technical talent and we can assume companies will have to hire talent relief for those employees who have been working so hard as of late. The question is: Will companies return to hiring full-time employees? Good question.

Initially they won’t. Businesses live in an uncertain world including global economy questions, nationalized health care and a federal government that is not business friendly. As a result companies cannot and will not hire full-time employees but will increase hiring for contract labor at all levels. Is this bad for talent? Is a contract job a good opportunity career-wise? Good questions.

Working contract is not a bad thing. The problem frankly becomes finding your next gig and putting yourself ‘out there’ on the market. Contracting, successfully, requires the right approach. Having worked as a contractor for most of my work life I have a few ‘contract life’ approaches to keep in mind if the opportunity becomes available to you:

Working contract is an adventure because you get to meet new people, learn new models, experience different technologies and learn how to solve new problems, either on your own or by watching others. So think of everyday as a new day on a long and exciting adventure. Don’t worry about what you do or the level of your work…it’s an adventure.

You are a gunslinger. OK, I grew up watching westerns. The point is no matter what you do, treat yourself as a specialist. Take pride in your work and do your job well. Think of yourself as the one person who can answer those customer service calls correctly, the one who can generate leads faster and more effectively or the one who’s the best landscape ‘remover of all weeds’. Pride in your work will be seen and appreciated by others, maybe when you’re not looking, and it may lead to your next contract.

Increase the chance of finding the right career. Maybe that job pursuing your life career interest didn’t work out and maybe it wasn’t meant for you. By taking on contract work, working for a number of companies, doing a number of different functions, you may just find that over time you will slide into what is right whether it’s a new dream or the dream you had originally.

So contract work is here and may be the way a number of us work for the foreseeable future. If you think contract work is for you, embrace the adventure, become a specialist (in your own mind first) and find your career path.