Being a contract worker and what I've learned.
September 30, 2009 9:25am CST
Well here is a kick in the pants, I took this contract job to just get a job. Great job, best job I've ever had doing flight simulators for the military. No benefits or vacation pay, but hey it was just for a year with the possibility of getting hired. Well my contract expires October 19th, and I have come to find out that there is barely any work left for the regular employees, this after I was told constantly that there was no way I WASN'T going to hired. According to them I was a shoe in; mentoring, peer reviewing, supervising and writing documents to standardize procedures, I mean why wouldn't I right? So I believed them. Now, I face another lay-off and the possibility of not getting unemployment because I was a contract worker. Things look grim. What has been the experiences of anybody else here in regard to contract jobs, is this pretty standard, or have I just been introduced to a fundamental truth about being a contractor.
30 Sep 09
First, silran666, I'm sorry for the way the situation has turned out for you. I really hope you will find another contract or employment quickly. I've been an independent contractor (self-employed) since 1992 and it's definitely not the walk in the park that people think it is. I get told all the time how "lucky" I am to be my own boss. People think that I have all the freedom in the world when, in fact, a lot of contractors work much harder and longer hours than "regular" employees. My contracts have meant no vacations, no holidays (yep I've gotten up from Christmas dinner because of contract responsibilities that don't end just because everyone else is off), no "weekends" (what are those? LOL Every day is pretty much the same) and also there is little distinction between home life and work life because I work from my home office. Now, please don't get me wrong. I love what I do. I would give it up kicking and screaming, believe me. But, the downside is that there are no guarantees. Of course, these days, there are no guarantees in standard employment either but I've had countless contracts disappear into thin air from one month to the next through factors that I can never control. Generally, it's client budget cuts and the services that I or my colleagues provide are taken in-house. In spite of doing the best job I can (and getting rave reviews like you did), clients decide they can do it cheaper with their existing staff, which is generally untrue, but we contractors are out on our other ends pretty quickly. The up-side is that there has always been another contract that came along to replace those. I've been lucky. Times are lean right now but I never lose the faith. If you're a good worker, it comes to you... key is not to panic. Best of luck, keep your chin up and keep moving forward with your good reputation. Gather strong references from the jobs you've done and they'll serve you well.
2 Oct 09
It's my entire pleasure, silran666 :) It's not easy to be a contract worker and, when we do choose to do it, sometimes it's nice to find someone else that "gets" that it's not always as freeing as it appears to be. You have a positive attitude and that'll certainly work in your favor! Take good care