I accepted my first contract role in 2013 working for a Big Four Accounting Firm on an assignment under the US Federal Government. It was one of the most exciting and rewarding times in my professional career. I learned a lot about human capital management and the value of a positive working culture. After my time there I relocated to Houston and accepted another contract role working on a special assignment at one of the most prestigious and innovative hospital’s in the country. Since then I have continued to accept various roles under contract and I couldn’t be happier. While some prefer the consistency and sense of security that a permanent job brings, I prefer more flexible accommodations. There is nothing worse than accepting what you thought was your dream job, at your dream company and three months down the line discover that you were wrong. You can ask a million and one questions during your interviews to get a grasp on the organization, take tours of the campus, speak to several managers and read employee reviews. However, in all honesty, there is no certain way to know for sure if you will be a good fit for the organization other than actually working there. As I stated, consulting or contract roles may not be the best option for most but I have found it to be the most satisfying for me at this time in my career. I have listed a few special points about my experience consulting and tips about navigating contract work.
- Know your finances. I am fortunate to have a support system which affords me the ability to take time off in between transitioning roles. Transition time in between roles could take days to weeks depending on if you are working independently or with an agency. Save money and prepare for the down time.
- Use your time wisely. I am currently in transition and I have used this time to celebrate the holidays with my family and friends as well as explore personal interest and reassess my goals. I am also taking this time to continue to educate myself about my profession. There are several websites and professional organizations that offer free webinars and seminars. It is also important to establish a schedule. I try to wake up early, pray and meditate, eat breakfast, then check emails and job boards. I have recently started a daily workout regimen and I use the rest of my day to clean and run errands. Continue to search and apply for roles that interest you. Looking for a job is your job if you are searching independently. Network and reach out to your contacts to let them know you are in the market for a new opportunity.
- Understand your professional worth. Do a bit of research on your profession and salary to understand your worth. I know that my education, professional experience and work ethic set me apart as competitive candidate. I will not just accept any role at any organization in exchange for compensation. I want to be fulfilled on a professional and personal level. Make a list of things you want in an organization, how much you feel you should be compensated for your contributions, desired commute and any other fulfillment to complete your work life balance. While you may not check off everything on your list try to stick closely to it as possible.
During my transition I have been offered some interesting roles at some very prominent companies. However, at this point in my career and my life, my core values take precedence over most things. I understand my worth and refuse to settle for anything less than what I feel I deserve. Working under contract has its benefits and setbacks but don’t be afraid to explore this option. The flexibility and experience that it has provided me with is immeasurable.
Wishing you the all the best in your career, love, and life in 2017.