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Wonderful World of Contracting


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Anyone else had experience in this industry?  Last Wednesday night I got released from my third one in a row.  This one I had been at for 15 months and thought it was going to be at least two years.  The previous was for a couple of days right when Covid hit and then the offices started closing.  Then my first one lasted about 7 months.  What do all of these have in common?  The agency calls to release you hours after your work day ends, the company you did the work for never thanks you for everything you did for them or gives you advanced notice, and you basically get the cold shoulder from everyone you worked with.  Just annoying that once you get everything mastered at a new position, you get thrown out like trash and have to start all over again. 

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That sounds frustrating!  Around 30 years ago my mom gave me essential work advice "your thank you is your paycheck".  Don't expect more ever.  Be pleasantly surprised if people appreciate your work or give you other perks. 

I've always been an employee at will -no contract etc.  So I do my best, work my hardest, learn what I can. As far as cold shoulder I always worked very hard at networking/being careful to be a good mentee when I was mentored, doing favors for colleagues, etc.  It served me very very well.  Even when I moved to a brand new city where I knew no one and stopped being employed outside the home for over 5 years, when I was ready to interview again I was able to get several word of mouth interviews in my new city plus very valuable and targeted career advice.

I've helped many with job advice, getting interviews, etc (I even worked as a headhunter many years ago!).  Been doing this for about 30 years. I even had a long conversation with a new friend a few weeks ago since she got laid off - our second conversation in a few months.  I pointed her to some resources she did not know about and am keeping my eye out for suitable positions for her.

Do you think you're good at networking etc? Can you improve on that? What happens when you look for a full time salaried/non-contract position?

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I am currently a contract worker. In my case, I initially had a one year contract. The contract just got extended for another six months. So unless I commit an egregious error or violate a company policy, I am guaranteed to be employed for the duration of the contract. The client company would have to pay out the remainder of the contract if they choose to end the contract early. I am also eligible to receive unemployment benefits if the contract ends and I don't have another job lined up.

Are you referring to an actual signed contract or a temporary assignment? Those are two completely different things.

I know when my current contract ends, so if I don't get word about a month prior that it will be renewed I am prepared to begin a new job search. I had already started to prepare when I got word my contract was being extended.

Oh, and I was proactive about asking about a potential extension. I wasn't going to wait for the agency or client to get around to letting me know or working on an extension. I started bugging them six weeks prior to the end of the original contract. I figure I have to steer the ship if I want to be employed.

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On 1/24/2022 at 7:22 AM, Batya33 said:

That sounds frustrating!  Around 30 years ago my mom gave me essential work advice "your thank you is your paycheck".  Don't expect more ever.  Be pleasantly surprised if people appreciate your work or give you other perks. 

I've always been an employee at will -no contract etc.  So I do my best, work my hardest, learn what I can. As far as cold shoulder I always worked very hard at networking/being careful to be a good mentee when I was mentored, doing favors for colleagues, etc.  It served me very very well.  Even when I moved to a brand new city where I knew no one and stopped being employed outside the home for over 5 years, when I was ready to interview again I was able to get several word of mouth interviews in my new city plus very valuable and targeted career advice.

I've helped many with job advice, getting interviews, etc (I even worked as a headhunter many years ago!).  Been doing this for about 30 years. I even had a long conversation with a new friend a few weeks ago since she got laid off - our second conversation in a few months.  I pointed her to some resources she did not know about and am keeping my eye out for suitable positions for her.

Do you think you're good at networking etc? Can you improve on that? What happens when you look for a full time salaried/non-contract position?

I guess I never thought about the paycheck as being a thank you.  The way I was looking at it was that I wanted to make sure I made a positive impact with everything I did.  The last time I had looked for full time salaried positions, I had been out of work for a little over a year which every interviewer would focus on.  Working the contract positions in a sense helped me rise from the ashes career wise.  When you say networking you mean attend seminars, conventions, etc.?  I try to keep in touch with my colleagues who I worked well with which I would consider networking.  Part of me has even thought of checking out alumni connections with my university.  I had used their career center while I was in that year of unemployment to look for ideas.  

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On 1/24/2022 at 9:34 AM, boltnrun said:

I am currently a contract worker. In my case, I initially had a one year contract. The contract just got extended for another six months. So unless I commit an egregious error or violate a company policy, I am guaranteed to be employed for the duration of the contract. The client company would have to pay out the remainder of the contract if they choose to end the contract early. I am also eligible to receive unemployment benefits if the contract ends and I don't have another job lined up.

Are you referring to an actual signed contract or a temporary assignment? Those are two completely different things.

I know when my current contract ends, so if I don't get word about a month prior that it will be renewed I am prepared to begin a new job search. I had already started to prepare when I got word my contract was being extended.

Oh, and I was proactive about asking about a potential extension. I wasn't going to wait for the agency or client to get around to letting me know or working on an extension. I started bugging them six weeks prior to the end of the original contract. I figure I have to steer the ship if I want to be employed.

Actually it could be a little bit of both.  The agencies I have worked with called them assignments.  However, our job titles include the word contractor in them.  They never told us when the positions would end.  However, with this last one, I had heard from others working there before me that the length of the assignment was typically two years minimum.  So I was expecting this coming October to be the end of it.  This past Wednesday night when I got the call I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  There had been a call out for potential permanent workers in that position, however, the competition was EXTREMELY fierce.  Even others who had a lot of experience who I felt would be perfect were not brought on full time.  

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In my case I was given specific, guaranteed contract start and end dates. If you weren't given specific, guaranteed dates then I would presume they were temp assignments regardless of what they called the workers.

My son is a contract worker as well. He has been at the same company for about three years. He's been told multiple times he will be hired directly but it never happens. He's a very patient person so he's chosen to wait it out. Not me! I would have started looking around.

Worst thing about contract work? Lack of benefits. I get paid "sick time" but no holiday pay. The holiday season just past really hurt me financially, especially since the client company had a lot of shut down days. 

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10 minutes ago, boltnrun said:

Worst thing about contract work? Lack of benefits. I get paid "sick time" but no holiday pay. The holiday season just past really hurt me financially, especially since the client company had a lot of shut down days. 

Agreed!  I also had state sick time and no paid time off.  I'm sorry to hear about the shut down days making the holidays not what you wanted.  

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1 hour ago, beatlesfan77 said:

I guess I never thought about the paycheck as being a thank you.  The way I was looking at it was that I wanted to make sure I made a positive impact with everything I did.  The last time I had looked for full time salaried positions, I had been out of work for a little over a year which every interviewer would focus on.  Working the contract positions in a sense helped me rise from the ashes career wise.  When you say networking you mean attend seminars, conventions, etc.?  I try to keep in touch with my colleagues who I worked well with which I would consider networking.  Part of me has even thought of checking out alumni connections with my university.  I had used their career center while I was in that year of unemployment to look for ideas.  

I meant the expectation of getting accolades for your work - I've always had the expectation that I can expect to be paid for my work.  That's it.  Anything else -icing on the cake -not entitled to praise, thanks, etc.  

Networking - keeping in touch with people who do what you do and who do what you want to do - doing favors for them and meeting up, etc.  Going to professional events and mingling, speaking with people, being ready to keep in touch in a meaningful way.  The ideas you have are great!

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11 hours ago, beatlesfan77 said:

I also had state sick time and no paid time off.

I'm sorry to hear that you've been released from your job. Have you considered leaving the world of contracting and pursuing fulltime employment somewhere?

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/26/2022 at 3:11 AM, Jibralta said:

I'm sorry to hear that you've been released from your job. Have you considered leaving the world of contracting and pursuing fulltime employment somewhere?

Thanks Jibralta and yes I am considering the full time avenue this time.  Still keeping the contracting as an option if nothing pans out.  

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