When it comes to shaping your career you have a choice. You can either work as a permanent employee and climb the career ladder, switch companies every few years, or you can work as a temporary employee and pursue a career in contracting. Just like everywhere in life, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. Let’s take a closer look.
Your typical permanent employee identifies in equal parts with his or her job and the company as a whole (in an ideal world). The company offers a path for growth and career progression. Your job title will sound something like Assistant, Manager, Senior Manager, Director. You stay with the company, you perform, you advance. Before you start working at the company you sign an employment contract and read carefully through the benefits section in the company’s employee handbook. Five weeks of paid vacation, maybe a stipend for continuing education, a steady monthly salary with a bonus component, perhaps. To the author of this blog post this sounds like stability, reliability, the ability to plan, security, a strong bond between company and employee.
As most of you may know, being a permanent employee means having to deal with company politics. It means navigating your way through the complex jungle of dos and don’ts and it sometimes takes years to grasp the intricacies of how a large company really works so you can find your secure spot in all the craziness. Speaking of security: is there such a thing as job security anymore? The end of one reorganization is the beginning of the next. Companies get acquired, downsize, move. The newspaper is full of those stories. Job security one day, outsourcing and offshoring the next.
Still, there is something to be said about any relationship that is mutually beneficial, that is stable and long term, and one where one’s investment is rewarded with a sense of belonging and stability. Most of us find this type of relationship appealing. But… we know green grass not only grows on one side of the fence.
Many people will tell you contracting is the way we will work in the future. We pick a topic we would like to immerse ourselves in, we do our part and then we leave and take on the next project. In an ideal world all projects come with a few months of vacation or adventure in between them. Contracts or temporary employments usually pay more, first of all. Most likely this will come at the expense of a long termination period or job security as a whole. “I’m keeping you forever and for always” – no, thank you Shania Twain, life needs to offer more excitement.
The great thing about contracting is: company’s will hire you for a specific problem that requires a specific skill. You are wanted and needed. Overall, a contractor will have to deal less with company politics and won’t have to fill out a 360 review form every quarter. Come in, do your work, and we’re good. Simple, straightforward and to the point. There’s something to be said for simplicity in this day and age, no?
A career in contracting can be incredibly rewarding. Your typical contractor will get a look inside lots of companies and projects, his or her network grows exponentially and there’s usually never a dull moment when you work on projects instead of plotting your next career move within the company.
Have you heard of Alvin Toffler? He was a futurist, the first of his kind. In his works he was discussing modern technologies, including the digital revolution and the communication revolution and what all of this means for cultures worldwide. He once said:
In our future we have to be able to deal with change. In your author’s view, this is key to success. A contractor is used to change and perhaps will find the future less daunting and scary than your traditional permanent employee who is oftentimes reluctant to change.
Something to think about… And look up Alvin Toffler, it’s worth it.
Because you are reading a blog article by iET you’re in luck: we offer both permanent and contracting positions. Check out our latest openings on jobs.iet.ch.