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Surviving Contracting

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Old 27th July 2017, 2:37 PM   #1
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Surviving Contracting

For the past year, I have been in Contracting jobs. What an eye-opening experience it's been. I am constantly being talked down to, disrespected, not trusted and the list goes on. Management is very micromanaging, demeaning and controlling. I have asked that two of my contacts not be renewed and quit those jobs. The treatment of the foreign workers is even worse. How in the world do you survive it? I haven't gained any valuable job skills in any of the contracts. Does contract work damage your chances to land full-time employment? I have applied to a bunch of jobs but can only get contract work. Maybe it's time for a career change.
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Old 27th July 2017, 6:26 PM   #2
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I did contracting for a few years, before I was hired full-time by one of the companies I contracted for. Contracting is a great way to suss out a new city that you've just moved to - you get the lay of the land, the culture, and especially the companies where you do (and do NOT) want to work.

And the money was GREAT contracting - but it's deceptive, because I had to pay out the nose for health insurance; I didn't get paid for vacations or holidays (I was surprised by how much that reduced my annual income, along with the usual 1-2 month gap between gigs); and even though my contracting company did match on my 401k, it wasn't as good as the full-time company's match.

I compared everything before I took the full-time job, and while I'm currently making a couple thousand less (net) than I did contracting, to me it is well worth not having to go job-hunting every 18 months. It feels more secure (although I know from experience there's no such thing as job security anymore), and I'm more loyal to the company now that I'm full-time. I feel more invested in them.

I know what you mean by contractors being treated poorly though. I lived it, and I'm observing it now. You just kinda have to let it roll off your back, don't take it personally, and if you do really like the company, work your everlovin butt off for them. You never know who you're impressing, and how valuable they will prove to be down the road.
"I prefer silent vice to ostentatious virtue." -Albert Einstein
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Old 27th July 2017, 6:31 PM   #3
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Just re-read your OP, and it sounds like maybe your recruiter isn't matching you with the right jobs? Don't hesitate to let other contracting companies "romance" you. I worked with several different ones over my stint as a contractor. In my city and profession they all hit the same database of job postings anyway. The right recruiter can make a big difference in the quality of jobs you're placed in.
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Old 27th July 2017, 7:17 PM   #4
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I worked at one point for one of the largest music company's in the world a contractor. I got along well with most during my short stay.

3 months into my tenure there was a big birthday party for one of the managers. Everyone gathered around to sing.

The manager on site scolded me in front of everyone and told me that I was a contractor (not a real employee) and that I didn't have permission to take part in the cake cutting ceremony.

My colleagues looked at her like she was a major you know what. I told my agency manager and quit the same day.

I feel your pain.

But there are so many advantages you have as a contractor as one of the other posters' pointed out. Make the best of it and know that with so many major companies hiring directly now your contacting job likely will lead to something much better.

Hang in there.
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Old 27th July 2017, 7:44 PM   #5
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It's a rough world. Not really a place for the easily offended.
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Old 28th July 2017, 8:15 AM   #6
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When you are a hired gun you have to get used to doing the "dirty work" sometimes. I'm really big on treating contractors fairly though, I work with a lot of them in my job, and I never treat them as second class citizens, and I think it's shown in my professional relationships and often friendships with them.

But still you are agreeing to take more money to be a plug in, plug out piece in an organization. While there are people like myself who will try to find opportunities for professional growth for contractors, it has to be within the scope of what you are there to do.

My recommendation would be to find longer term contracts, allow you to build more connections, and have a resume that looks more committed. I know employers can be hesitant to hire a full time employee who has never worked anywhere for more than a couple of months in their whole career.
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