When it comes to work, there are two kinds of people: those who want permanency, and those who prefer contracting. This is especially true in IT and for other professional roles. I myself often wonder why the first requirement of many job seekers, when reviewing job offers, is that their next gig be a permanent position. Having had my own business for many years and having enjoyed the freedom of doing what I want and where, I cannot imagine going back to a permanent job. I guess it’s really horses for courses, where what is suitable for one person’s situation may not be suitable for another. However, the reality of the future of work indicates that organisations are reducing their dependence on permanent workers, and that in order to survive workers will need to learn to be more independent and flexible.
With this in mind, let’s try and rid ourselves of the fear of being a contractor.
Job security is one of the main reasons people prefer permanent positions over contract work, but with disrupters like robots and cloud based workforces becoming more mainstream, this security is no longer assured. The key here is that regardless of your state of work, to always be focused on upskilling yourself, to create strong networks and have a long term view on where you want to be and how you will equip yourself to get there.
Training and Development
In the information age, where the cumulative knowledge of human history is available at our fingertips, not being eligible for company funded training is no excuse for not improving your skills. The wealth of online resources, open universities and tutorials makes training and development practically free. What is important is that you take it upon yourself to designate time for learning and improvement.
Holiday and Sick Pay
Having income to cover holidays and illness comes down to planning and allowing a little give in your contracted rate to cover time away. In my history as a contractor I’ve saved and funded good holidays and taken insurance out to protect my income in case of illness. The benefit here is the flexibility the worker has to take leave when and where they choose, and can afford to do so.
In the work world of 2014, there are very few guarantees that being a permanent worker and doing your time entitles you to a promotion. The world is changing quickly, and those that are getting ahead are those who are networked, highly skilled and agile. Contractors must use their flexibility to their advantage and choose their own path to success and career advancement.
Denis Waitley, in one of my old motivation books stated “you are motivated by your dominant thought” and that “you cannot motivate on a reverse of an idea”. If your motivation in life is to build skills that will always position you to earn what is required, chances are you will. If, on the other hand, it is to be always employed so can pay your bills, chances are you will not. If we can focus on what will get us ahead in the long term, apply some financial and educational discipline, and enjoy the agility and flexibility contracting can allow, then the future of contingent work doesn’t look so bad.
Related #CWF2014 Conference Sessions
9.00AM- 10.15AM | World Café Roundtables, Facilitator: Trevor Vas, Founder & Director, HCMS
11.15AM – 12.00PM | General Session: Nichola Parker, Regional Director, North America & Oceania, Freelancer.com – The On-Demand Virtual Workforce.
4.10PM – 4.50PM | General Session: Kevin Wheeler, Founder & Director, Future of Talent Institute – The Contingent Workforce in 2020
You can see the full agenda here.
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