Contract up in 1.5 months - How to approach my manager to discuss the future

PeterLe

Involved In Discussions
#1
So I'm about 4.5 months into a contract and I would like to approach my manager on what their plans are for me. The contract was originally for "6 months" but it wasn't really written in the contract. More like a verbal commitment. Personally, I do like the company a lot and the team is really good. So I do enjoy working at this company and would like to stay.

My question is, how should I approach my manager? Is cold approaching with a question "Can we discuss my future here with the company?" or "Do you have sometime to talk about my performance and what I could do to improve?" and then some how throw in during that conversation that I would like to stay.

What do you think is the best approach?

Thank you!
 
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Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#2
Re: Contract up in 1.5 months, how to approach my manager about how to discuss the fu

So I'm about 4.5 months into a contract and I would like to approach my manager on what their plans are for me. The contract was originally for "6 months" but it wasn't really written in the contract. More like a verbal commitment. Personally, I do like the company a lot and the team is really good. So I do enjoy working at this company and would like to stay.

My question is, how should I approach my manager? Is cold approaching with a question "Can we discuss my future here with the company?" or "Do you have sometime to talk about my performance and what I could do to improve?" and then some how throw in during that conversation that I would like to stay.

What do you think is the best approach?

Thank you!
If it were I, I would try to learn why the organization uses "short term" contract employees versus full-time hires.
Some possible reasons:

  1. the organization staffs up for short term contracts from customers and pares staff when the contracts are not renewed
  2. the organization prefers to run "lean and mean" with no responsibility for benefits to employees, no anguish in terminating a contract employee versus terminating a full-time employee
  3. contract employees are really "probation" employees and may be asked to work full time after a "short term" view of the employee's work habits and product as well as ability to get along with staff, customers, suppliers.
Knowing the reasoning process behind an organization's use of contract workers will help the employee prepare for THE CONVERSATION where he asks for contract renewal (if there are sufficient customer orders to justify extension) or conversion to full-time.

Hope this helps put your situation in perspective.
 

PeterLe

Involved In Discussions
#3
Re: Contract up in 1.5 months, how to approach my manager about how to discuss the fu

Thank you Wes for your response.

To be honest, I don't know EXACTLY why they use contract employees. For my department, there are only two contract employees (I'm one of them) and the rest are regular employees (approximately 50-75 employees). My guess is, the position I'm at is #2. My project/team needed the help so that's why my position was opened up. From what I was told about this contract, no promises are made regarding extension and I don't recall a mention at all regarding converting to a regular employee.

However, in another department an employee who's position who also had a position similar to mine did get converted to a regular employee. However he did say that his boss was pretty up front with him regarding that they would not convert him to a regular employee but under some special circumstances he eventually was hired as a regular employee. So it can happen but it's not necessarily the case for me.
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#4
Re: Contract up in 1.5 months, how to approach my manager about how to discuss the fu

you need to know the answer to a simple question:
"Do they still need YOUR help?"
 

PeterLe

Involved In Discussions
#5
Re: Contract up in 1.5 months, how to approach my manager about how to discuss the fu

Thank you again!

To your answer your simple question, the answer is yes! I work in R&D and I'm in the middle of a DOE that is part of the screening process to define parameters of a design in our product. I've been working with my manager and he says that we will need to be more precise with the next steps in defining these parameters (ie more quantitative parameters).

I would think that since I've been so involved with this that it would only be logical for me to continue with this DOE. I'm also involved with other parts in R&D but for the last two months, this DOE I've been working on has been my biggest project so far.

I guess another question is, with this "conversation" how should I bring up the question of being a regular employee? Would it simply ask how would this position evolve? What are the plans for this position?

Again thank you so much for your insight. It is much appreciated!
 
B

BethP

#6
Re: Contract up in 1.5 months, how to approach my manager about how to discuss the fu

I am also in a contract position. I have a check-in about once a month with my boss to 1) confirm satisfied with my work products and 2) see what is coming next. Our relationship is good, so I can be direct with questions.

In your situation, I think it is reasonable to have a conversation with your manager that starts in a similar way as your original post. Additionally, I think you should express your interest in pursuing a contract extension / full-time employment. Perhaps, you are worried that by having this conversation, you may get the answer that the contract will end at 6 months. This is better to know than to continue in ambiguity waiting for the manager to say something.

Remember: while your employment is top of mind with you, it is not top of mind with your manager. You are responsible for your career, so should be proactive and professional in getting clarity for what happens next.
 

Wes Bucey

Quite Involved in Discussions
#7
Re: Contract up in 1.5 months, how to approach my manager about how to discuss the fu

I am also in a contract position. I have a check-in about once a month with my boss to 1) confirm satisfied with my work products and 2) see what is coming next. Our relationship is good, so I can be direct with questions.

In your situation, I think it is reasonable to have a conversation with your manager that starts in a similar way as your original post. Additionally, I think you should express your interest in pursuing a contract extension / full-time employment. Perhaps, you are worried that by having this conversation, you may get the answer that the contract will end at 6 months. This is better to know than to continue in ambiguity waiting for the manager to say something.

Remember: while your employment is top of mind with you, it is not top of mind with your manager. You are responsible for your career, so should be proactive and professional in getting clarity for what happens next.
Excellent response by BethP - I agree.
 

Michael_M

Trusted Information Resource
#8
Re: Contract up in 1.5 months, how to approach my manager about how to discuss the fu

I agree with the responses so far and would add that I personally hate cold approaches. I would send an e-mail to your boss asking for a 15 minute meeting to discuss your contract. This gives him/her time to figure out what they need to find out and hopefully give you the real information.
 

PeterLe

Involved In Discussions
#9
Thank for your responses! It was very much appreciated!

Update on the situation. I did talk to my manager regarding my contract about 3 weeks ago and he said he would have more clarity a week later. Well a week passed and my manager informed me that he just put in his two weeks in! He has spoken to the Director of R&D (my department) and that my manager personally gave the Director a recommendation that I stay on the project moving forward. However, they are budget issues right now and my position is in flux.

I must now speak to the Director of R&D regarding my contract. I have formulated an email and I would like to get feedback regarding the email.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Subject Line: Peter Le?s Future Contributions Moving Forward

Hello XXXXX,

I hope everything is going well. It has been a very busy week!

First, I would like to say thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity to work here at XXXXX on the XXXXX project. The work has been very challenging and fulfilling, and I feel very proud to have contributed to the project.

I would like to talk to you for 15 minutes about how I can add value to the XXXX Project and my future here at XXXXX moving forward. Please let me know your availability for when we can speak.

I look forward to hearing back from you.

Regards,

Peter Le

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

I wanted to keep it short and to the point. Let me know what you think! This forum has been so helpful. I thank everyone!
 

Rickser

Involved In Discussions
#10
It is truly best to setup a meeting with your boss to discuss your situation. Let him/her know what the topic of discussion will be. Be prepared; be able to stress your strengths, your accomplishments since you've been there, what you need to get better at and how your continued employment at the company will accomplish that. Also, be ready to accept graciously that you may not be employed there in 1.5 months. That goes a long way toward a letter of recomendation. :agree:
 
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